IBJNews

LEADING QUESTIONS: Foodie rebukes allure of 'Plan B'

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Leading Questions

Welcome to the latest installment of “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” in which IBJ sits down with central Indiana’s top bosses to talk about the habits that lead to success.

We’re continuing our conversation this week with Martha Hoover, 57, and focusing on the business principles that have guided her over 23 years as owner and operator of the Patachou Inc. family of restaurants. The learning curve was intense: Hoover had no practical experience in running a restaurant—or any business, for that matter—as she was hustling to open the original Café Patachou in March 1989.



“The fact that I didn’t have restaurant experience ended up to be one of the best things ever, because I was not trapped or held back by the norm of the day, in terms of how food was being delivered, prepared and served,” Hoover said.

Dish Patachou factboxShe immediately struck a chord with from-scratch cooking that emphasized fresh, farm-to-table ingredients long before the concept was chic. She discusses getting the first location off the ground in this week’s installment of IBJ’s video feature “Inside Dish.”

The former attorney for the Marion County Prosecutor’s sex crimes division was determined to make it work. “I’m not a believer in ‘Plan B’; I am a ‘Plan A’ girl all the way,” she said. “My feeling about Plan B is that if you have one, you’re very likely to fall back on it if things don’t work out from the very beginning.”

Today, seven restaurants from downtown Indianapolis to Carmel operate under the Patachou Inc. umbrella, with two more slated to open by the end of 2012 (see inset graphic). Hoover also has aggressive plans to open as many as six new restaurants by 2020, at least in part by venturing outside central Indiana.

In the video above, Hoover discusses the deliberate pace of the group’s growth through its first 23 years, despite offers from deep-pocketed investors who were eager to help lift its profile.

“People want to invest in the company and they are very sincere as to what they can do to grow my business,” Hoover said. “The problem is that they want to grow the business in a way that does not adhere to our vision and our principles. They’d have to dumb down everything we do.  

“What we do is complicated. Making food the right way, with the right ingredients from scratch and getting it to the cafes is a complicated system. Mostly investors see all kinds of way they can cut costs. … This isn’t the cheapest way to do things. But it’s what we consider the only way to do things.”



 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Current Success Research
    Current success research substantiates Hoover's approach. Southwest Airlines, for example, only expanded in four airports one year when 100's asked. KIA CEO has said you can be too big. And dumbing down and cost cutting is where the accountants go. Look at Acapulco Joes---when Joe was still alive they used the best ingredients. The number crunchers running it now basically serve Taco Bell. Yeah, they are still in business but nobody goes there anymore.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The $104K to CRC would go toward debts service on $486M of existing debt they already have from other things outside this project. Keystone buys the bonds for 3.8M from CRC, and CRC in turn pays for the parking and site work, and some time later CRC buys them back (with interest) from the projected annual property tax revenue from the entire TIF district (est. $415K / yr. from just this property, plus more from all the other property in the TIF district), which in theory would be about a 10-year term, give-or-take. CRC is basically betting on the future, that property values will increase, driving up the tax revenue to the limit of the annual increase cap on commercial property (I think that's 3%). It should be noted that Keystone can't print money (unlike the Federal Treasury) so commercial property tax can only come from consumers, in this case the apartment renters and consumers of the goods and services offered by the ground floor retailers, and employees in the form of lower non-mandatory compensation items, such as bonuses, benefits, 401K match, etc.

  2. $3B would hurt Lilly's bottom line if there were no insurance or Indemnity Agreement, but there is no way that large an award will be upheld on appeal. What's surprising is that the trial judge refused to reduce it. She must have thought there was evidence of a flagrant, unconscionable coverup and wanted to send a message.

  3. As a self-employed individual, I always saw outrageous price increases every year in a health insurance plan with preexisting condition costs -- something most employed groups never had to worry about. With spouse, I saw ALL Indiana "free market answer" plans' premiums raise 25%-45% each year.

  4. It's not who you chose to build it's how they build it. Architects and engineers decide how and what to use to build. builders just do the work. Architects & engineers still think the tarp over the escalators out at airport will hold for third time when it snows, ice storms.

  5. http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/duke-energy-customers-angry-about-money-for-nothing

ADVERTISEMENT