Successful full service neighborhood restaurants are rarely duplicated in a second location, even by their original founder. I have observed this phenomenon over and over throughout my forty years on the New York restaurant scene. Whenever a successful restaurant in one neighborhood tries to expand to another location, it rarely enjoys the success of the original restaurant and often fails completely after a short stay in business. Why? Why can't successful restaurateurs do it again? The failure rate for duplicating successful restaurants is too high! What goes wrong when industry leaders try to repeat their success?
To find the answer, I decided to interview 25 independent restaurant owners who had tried to open a successful second restaurant and had met with varying degrees of disappointment.