Back when we were tiny, in the space now inhabited by Tito & Pep, we’d get broken into a couple of times a year. Our walk-in refrigerator was outside, and people would get progressively bolder in their break-ins. The restaurant itself was only broken into twice, but the walk-in? It felt like every time someone was in the mood for a beer, they’d just head over and grab some. The lock built into the handle was broken a couple of times, as was the lock on the bar that pinned the door closed after a couple of the earliest break-ins.
There was a night where someone had looped a chain around the bar and presumably used a trailer hitch to tow the bar off of the walk-in, ripping two softball-sized holes in the walk-in, where the bar had been attached. Eventually, we had a special clasp welded up for us, which finally made it no longer worth the effort, but at that point, they just went back to breaking into the restaurant itself.
Since we moved, we’d only broken into three times, plus a handful of dine-and-dash events, and some shoplifting in the wine shop here and there. There have been maybe a dozen break-ins to our storage shed, which usually only costs us a padlock (though they did once rip the whole exterior wall off the frame,) with our would-thieves walking off once with a broken mixer, but more often than not, leaving with a hung head and a disappointing discovery that the shed mostly contains plates, glassware, water pitchers and takeout boxes. Last night was number four for us as far as building break-ins go.
Our break-ins here have been less lucrative for the criminal masterminds than at our old location- the first one yielded about $8 in change and some paper clips- but the cost of it was well over $1000. The broken window, the cash drawer itself, the plywood while we waited for the window replacement- that was the pricey part. The second one was far more dramatic. Eight thousand plus for the damaged electrical panels and a couple hundred for the cut phone line, and another $800 to fix all the damage on the roof where they tore up the ductwork in an attempt to drop in like cast members of Mission: Impossible but were foiled by our exhaust hood ventilation system. Their total take: zero.
Not to be deterred, they returned a few nights later, smashed an office window, and when I pulled up after the alarm company called, the three guys on scooters who happened to be hanging out in the driveway said they didn’t see anything but it was a shame that the window had been broken. I sent TPD a description of the scooters, which I’d thought should be traceable, as they were the sort you operate with a credit or debit card, but I’m sure that’s information that was dropped in the circular file by whomever had no interest in following up on it. Again, they got nothing but the scooters they rented,
Last night was a new one- the biggest take yet: $24 in change, and that only because last night we forgot to put the $17.50 in rolled coins in the safe. Over the years, we’ve added cameras to Feast, so I now have footage of a guy who’s likely unrecognizable to anyone- certainly not to me- bouncing a rock off the front door before he put it through a smaller window, walking straight to the cash register behind the bar, yanking out the drawer and unlocking the front door from the inside to wander safely away. My soon-to-be-former burglar alarm company didn’t mention it to me, so I got a good night’s sleep. Though when I called them this morning when we came in to a beeping keypad, a shattered window and a bar strewn with everything between the burglar and our cash drawer, they told me that they didn’t get a signal from either of the two parts of the alarm system that should have signaled them. Technology, they told me, is fallible. I’m not sure what one is meant to pay for fallible technology, but I most decidedly overpaid.
I expect this last one will run us twelve or thirteen hundred dollars, though I won’t know for a while. The glass company is short-handed, to which I can relate, so they won’t get out here right away to give me a price, and we had to go out and get some plywood so the crew here at the equally short-handed Feast could stop the hot air, insects and interlopers from pouring in through the smashed window until the new double-paned window arrives.
So the four break-ins here have yielded our lawbreakers a broken mixer and $32, while the damage they’ve caused has totaled maybe fifteen thousand or so (in fairness, our deductible is only $1000, so you’ll have to divide that number between us and the insurance company, who unsurprisingly has still come out ahead on premiums and deductibles.)
I’m not sure whether to expect him to come back for more loose change, given that there we no repercussions last night, or whether he’d regard the change left in the drawer as worth the risk and the trouble he went to.
I’d reckon we’ll make up the $24 dollars at this Saturday’s wine tasting,
and we may even pick up enough on Bastille Day to cover the window this time,
though it’ll be close when you consider a restaurant generally pulls in somewhere around 6% of sales. I don’t say this for pity or even sympathy, but rather for the next person who feels our prices are out of line. To that person I say, “Please, then. Buy this restaurant and reap the benefits yourself. I’ll happily dine here and go home to nap with a full belly and no more hamster wheel in my head.
Your tired friend,