Wednesday, April 27, 2016

RUMORS and the Self Fulfilling Prophecy of Failure – Finnegan’s Black Cloud

A self fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.  Rumors are news that are spread with no necessary link to fact.  Here is my issue.

When rumors are spread, people hear them and buy into them without any basis in fact, or without getting facts from a credible source.  Rumors go out that a restaurant/bar is closing.  That in fact is not true, but the self fulfilling prophecy occurs when people subliminally decide not to go there because they are closing.  In fact, they are not closing, BUT, they are not doing well because people are not going there.  When enough people stop going, of course they will close.
The bar I mention is Finnegan’s Black Cloud.  I work there on Sundays.  There are a lot of reasons why they are struggling.  Yes, they are struggling.  Tim is not a millionaire investor who runs businesses as a hobby.  I am by no means their spokesperson or an apologist for them either.  BUT, I have worked for Tim, and been a friend to him for over 17 years, so I feel the need to speak my piece.  

Before Tim took over, the community spoke, telling him to please take over the Black Cloud.  After consideration, he did just that.  There was a very strong grand opening, but the crowds have not been overwhelming since the drop off.  There are a few reasons.  Notably, just after taking over, Tim was hospitalized with a serious issue that he has been combatting since.  There was a period of nearly a month or more where he was not on premise.  The management roles and policy were not clear and some balls were dropped.  There was also a money pinch.  An investor who was to come on board with Tim bailed out with no warning as well.   Other management and ownership and staff changes occurred as well, that I will not bore you with.  I will say that some of the staff changes affected service and quality issues, and have been addressed.  The A Team is back in the kitchen, and other changes have been and are being addressed.     

What I will say is, a large majority of the folks who cheered Tim on to take over, have not become customers.  Businesses need customers to survive.  The Black Cloud is off the beaten path, and as I have always said, is the best kept secret in Flagler.  The new faces have not arrived.  The same customers that were there when John owned it, and when the girls ran it, are there.  You cant expect to succeed doing the same things with the same customers.  Where are all the old Finnegan’s customers?  Where are all of Tim’s friends who said they would support a new venue?  Where are all of the displaced customers of McCharacters who were looking for a venue like this? 

Tim is on premise more now, and the ownership and management team are working on getting things smooth, and profitable, with what they have to work with...but dwindling crowds do not a profit make.  

THE BIG ISSUE I HAVE is that EVERYWHERE I go, people come up and say “So , I hear Black Cloud is closing...when is it closing”?  IT IS NOT!!! IT IS STRUGGLING!!  A struggle can be WON with support.  These people hear the rumors, then stay away thinking it is closed or closing...and when enough stay away, OF COURSE it will close. 

My Sundays do well there, but even lately I have seen my crowd diminish, only to see the customers elsewhere and have them tell me they heard it was closing, or that it was up for sale or any other variation of a story that has nothing to do with the fact that they are open, and courting your business, which they need, and would greatly appreciate.  They would love to get back to the full menu (which should be happening this week) and get the big name music acts in, but the crowds have not been supporting the cash outlay so far.  
PLEASE...before you buy into a rumor, vet it from a reliable source.  ASK TIM.  ASK ME.  Do not listen to disgruntled employees, or anyone with a chip on their shoulder.  And if you have not been there for a drink or dinner, why not?  Especially if you know Tim and support his ventures...  

THANK YOU to the regulars who support me, and my nights at the Black Cloud.  THANK YOU to those who hear the rumors and run them by me.  THANK YOU to those of you who do not buy into rumors without considering the source.  AND A BIG THANK YOU to those friends of Tim’s, the Finnegan’s family and the staff there, who are hearing me and will help quell the rumors by sharing the news, and getting some more butts in the seats to generate some business for the Black Cloud.  TIM IS him with any concerns or complaints or suggestions.  Heck send them to me and I will get them to him...but don’t be silent, and don’t stay away only to create a self fulfilling prophecy.  

ADDENDUM ADDED 5/6/16:  NEWS FRESH OFF THE PRESSES...5/6/16: FROM HARRYOKE, REGARDING Finnegans Black Cloud Saloon: I have sad news to report, and a lengthy explanation to follow. The short news is...THE BLACK CLOUD HAS TEMPORARILY CLOSED. This is effective IMMEDIATELY. There is a chance that they will reopen, but to be honest and straightforward, it wont be real soon. THAT BEING on for my lengthy explanation:
Many of you read my blog post of a few weeks ago explaining that the BC was not closing, and appealing to customers to come support them. I STAND BY EVERY WORD of that as truth. BUT, several things have happened since then, and there is a lot going on in BC world.
I will say this...the immediate closing was in part due to Tim's poor health and his inability to put in the hours needed, and some issues with the state in regard to the building and a couple of other things that need not be laid out here...needless to say, closing for now is the path of least resistance.
ANOTHER SITUATION that I have been keeping under my hat is about the Moose Lodge. Rumor is out there, and backed in fact, so I am fine repeating this, that the Moose lodge of Bunnell is considering the Black Cloud as it's new location. They are putting it to a members vote on MAY 14. If they vote no, then the BC is dead for now unless Tim or John reopen it, or John leases it to another party...BUT IF THE MOOSE APPROVES THE MOVE, that will be a great thing, and BC will become the Bunnell Moose lodge...and Harryoke would likely continue on Sunday afternoons there as it has for the LAST 9 YEARS!! That would mean that a lot would change there, but I am told that ALL OF MY CUSTOMERS would be welcome, whether Moose members or as usual but with a new sheriff in town.
Watch my pages here at FB and my email list and website for news regarding the future, and I will report it as SOON AS I KNOW FACTS... Thank you all for your years of support and friendship, and keep a good thought for Tim, John and all of our friends at the Black Cloud, and those affected by this event. - Harry "Harryoke" Smith.

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