Restaurants near Target's Minneapolis HQ demand it bring workers back to the office

Originally published at: Restaurants near Target's Minneapolis HQ demand it bring workers back to the office | Boing Boing


My father always told me “nobody screams louder than a man whose subsidy is being cut”.

In an absolute sense I think his judgement was probably rendered slightly myopic by a professional interest in market failures and perverse incentives; but in a reasonably local sense I’ve found no reason to doubt that one.

That aside, does it seem a little on the nose that the ‘relatable human in difficulty’ quote they dredged up is from a commercial real estate broker? Was there not a single impecunious barista available; or does the Business Journal just have a suitably calibrated sense of who matters to its readership; and it’s not service-sector labor?


those businesses saw how Target crumbled under the bigot backlash to Pride Month merchandise and thought “how hard can it be to push these guys into bringing our gravy train back?”


Then I guess he’d be in favor of lowering the rents for coffee shops and restaurants, to encourage business, right?

eta: The lions are unhappy that the gazelles don’t have as much meat as they used to.


Applebee’s needs to promote the fact that its wait staff are actually dangerous armed lunatics.


“That’s a lot of lunches and cups of coffee and rides on the light rail and the bus, and that is hurting us, badly,” said commercial real estate broker Tom Tracy

I’m sure it’s hurting his business and commissions. As for the actual small business owners, at this point the pandemic either shut them down more than a year ago or they survived and are hanging on to what business remains in the neighborhood. Fewer competitors and (one hopes) lower market rents should allow them to keep making a go of it, though perhaps with slightly lower profit margins (not great in an industry where they’re already pretty thin).

The impact of the pandemic on mass transit is a real issue that municipalities are still struggling with. I’m not sure this is his main concern, though.


Ideally this will (or maybe it already is) spur discussions about development patterns.
There’s really no reason to have a “financial district” where nobody lives, and so if the offices go dark, no one needs food or coffee. :woman_shrugging:t2: wouldn’t it be nicer if the people who worked there also lived there, so they’d still want to grab a bite?

Mixed use with housing built for mixed income levels is known to be best.

And, side rant, I hate how so many have taken the pandemic and remote work to try to make us feel guilty about not supporting the food service industry. Seriously, I know it’s our country’s version of a social safety net, but of all the industries I can choose to support, the one that doesn’t pay a living wage and regularly subjects workers to abusive behaviors is not on the top of my conscience.


Or at least walkable, 15-minute cities. Anyone living in my residential urban neighbourhood (once a streetcar suburb) is in walking distance of a bunch of restaurants and small businesses on a main artery street that also served a cluster of large office buildings. Most of the restaurants survived on the residential business during and after the pandemic. The most prominent exceptions were a large pub that was more of an after-work social gathering spot in the Before Times and an upscale restaurant at the base of an office tower that served the expense-account and liquid lunch crowd.


“Foreman says these jobs are going, boys, and they ain’t coming back” - Bruce Springsteen, My Hometown


Same as social media content producers getting up in arms when the AdSense payouts go down… you’re an enterprise based on something totally out of your control. Yeah it isn’t a great spot to be in, but these are called market conditions and it’s the ebb & flow of business.

Conditions change, one day you might be the apex service provider and make a pile of money… the next, you are Polaroid or Kodak and no one returns your calls.

A small mom & pop burger hole in the wall with limited/no seating, hand-painted signs, small location footprint will have some lifespan to it. But 2,000 sq/ft ground level fancy space lease with large staff? Even in the best of times that is a gamble.


The entire Washington DC area is going through this exact conversation. Instead of Target, it’s the federal government that is the employer, and they have way more employees.

So, now, in a one size fits all OPM approach, agencies that managed to still thrive with remote work, or who never really had enough office space, or poor office infrastructure, or whatever are all forcing federal employees to come to the office every week. Even when the talent pool they can hire from for remote work is significantly better. Even when an employee’s least productive day is the day they have to be in the office instead of remote.

Obviously someone who is in a lab, runs printers, sees people in person for service, they all need to be there. But the number that process data, do analysis, or whatever other computer desk jobs, it’s just pointless.


They built an entire app so you don’t have to talk to the baristas.


This. It’s not that restaurants are hurting. As you point out – those that couldn’t compete are gone.

It’s that over-priced storefronts are empty because there’s no demand and landlords don’t want to lower their rent. In my own town there are empty storefronts going on 2 years because the leases and selling prices are way, way too damn high.


Over-priced or just large in terms of SQF. There are only so many merchants who both need and can afford large spaces. Those are the kinds of storefronts that remain empty in places like NYC and LA.


So is the headline correct, or the article? The headline says “Restaurants demand”, but the article quotes a “commercial real estate broker” – exactly the guy who lost his entire business premise due to the pandemic.

I don’t doubt that downtown restaurants are suffering, but they should probably select their own spokesperson if they want to get any sympathy.


Michelle Buteau Shrug GIF by Netflix Is a Joke

I feel seen. :wink:


I used to eat out a lot, before the pandemic, and I have been working from home for 12+ years. I rarely eat out now. The pandemic changed me, and in some ways for the better. I seriously leveled up my cooking and baking skills. And I’m not the only one. And some of this started before the pandemic. I remember reading articles a few years ago that millennials were killing the restaurant industry because they weren’t eating out as much. And I’ve seen a ton of videos on YouTube in the last couple of years on meal prep techniques so you can easily and quickly make your lunch to take with you for work every day. I’m not convinced that Target ordering all their employees back to the office would rescue some of these restaurants. People have changed their behaviors, and they’re not all going to go back to their old ways.


Another very good point.
Think of the message younger office workers are getting:
If you eat out, all that avocado toast is why you’ll never achieve the “American dream,” but if you bring your lunch from home, you’re destroying the livelihoods of your peers!
It’s ridiculous.
The article should specify that the only people that need to return to the offices are workers between ages 55 and 67 who already have ample retirement accounts and will eat out. And limited dietary restrictions, you know, so the restaurants don’t need to adapt to any kind of alternate behaviors or menus, because that’s capitalism. :roll_eyes:


Unless your middle name is Moneybags you should be bringing your own lunch to work anyways.


In times past it wouldn’t have passed the sniff test for a newspaper, but media’s so hungry for content nowadays that if they come with the story well-packaged, with someone to quote, without obvious liabilities, well…