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July 05, 2020



Too funny. And too true. That's a lot of cash for an outsoor table.

Bruce Dickinson

Well looks like this program is a resounding success, as Bruce Dickinson predicted. Now all the side streets and Broadway restaurants want in on the action as they are hearing it from the restaurants benefiting from this program!

Also, for clarity the right way to look at the cost is NET of sales tax receipts from casual and fine dining. I had some of my guys look into this earlier, but in 2019, casual and fine dining establishments brought in about $1.6 million dollars of sales tax revenue (to Burlingame, after the County take). So it costs you $800,000 to administer this program in order to save $1.6 million dollars in tax revenues. Granted not all of these are downtown Burlingame and Broadway restaurants but the bulk of the revenues will be. To the extent that even 30% of these restaurants are saved by this program, it could mean not only continued revenues, but no interruption in revenues (takes 6-12 months to open new restaurant concept).

So it's a financially prudent move by the City of Burlingame and it enhances our quality of life by ensuring the best possible chance for our beloved restaurants to succeed and weather this out!

Pretty amazing how Bruce Dickinson presciently predicted a "cost neutral" program when factoring in tax receipts and lo and behold my guys look into it, and I'm right!

Let's just say that yours truly seems to be "wired for business success", but that's not very surprising, is it? *wink*


(2nd page, annualize receipts by category per quarter)

Sign me up

There's some quick and dirty accounting going on as you would expect in the recording biz. Ask any starving artist where the bucks went. Notice there are two restaurants==TWO== in the top 25 producers of all tax dinero. Who are they? Benihana and the New England Lobster trap that captures hotel guest bucks.

Your guys missed the forest while gazing at the trees. The Amex crowd feeds the downtown eateries too and they ain't coming back by September. Love the closures but it ain't "cost neutral" *wink*

Bruce Dickinson

So tell me how much those two restaurants contribute to the overall tax base?

Just takes common sense that neither is more than 10 million a year in year in revenues (New England is probably more around 5 million).

You don't need an MBA from Northwestern University to figure out 1) The numbers still stand 2) I have more Ferraris than you do!


*mic drop*

Bruce Dickinson

^^ For the mathematically challenged, note that Burlingame captures about 1.25% of sales tax for every dollar of food sold. So even if half of Burlingame's restaurant revenues were not on Broadway or Burlingame Ave, would still be net cost neutral (50% of $1.6 million in tax receipts). That's just the extreme example, would say that probably 70%-75% of restaurant revenues come from restaurants on/around the avenues, which as I mentioned in the original post likely represents the "bulk of the revenues". Nobody said "all of the revenues"!

Bruce Dickinson aims to Elucidate and Educate!


Thanks BD and Sign. I'm thinking we already have more analysis here than was done at City Hall! A couple questions. If I add casual and fine dining and annualize them, I get $1.5M, not $1.6. Did you add a bit for holiday seasonality? The high end cost estimate of $80K/mo for the four months (June-Sept) gets me to $320K, not $800K. Lastly, where does the non-hotel bar revenue (that evaporated) go? Is it in thse dining numbers?

I think you maybe underestimating Benihana, Grand Harbor, Elephant Bar and Kincaid's, etc but probably not by much.

Bruce Dickinson

You got it Joe, Bruce Dickinson has been involved in several business ventures that are retail and restaurant oriented, so yes, there is a seasonal element typically stronger in 4Q, but I only increased fractionally just to be conservative.

Drinks is included in the number, and there is still alcohol being served outdoors, but more importantly, we're talking about survival of the businesses. If the business survives, the bar survives, thereby enabling continued uninterrupted restaurant, bar and tax revenue for Burlingame. So opportunity cost analysis has to look at the present value of future revenues. Also I annualized the cost of the program using the mid-monthly cost estimate ($800k annually) because what if this was the new normal until next June and the program continues due to its success. You can make different assumptions about that, but the answer is gonna be similar (cost neutral).

As an aside I find it funny how so many people on here love to parse every single word, hoping, yes almost cheering in finding some misstep in Bruce Dickinson's statements and calculations. Well for you word mincers, let's not forget my original post on this which said (where I was only doing mental math based on my business acumen and experience):

"c) Cost: I think minimal. Guess what, more restaurant sales = more sales tax that goes directly to Burlingame. You care about costs, do something big/rational like cut that Rec center cost in half. This street closure program won't even move the needle and to the extent it can make or break some of these retailers, we all get long term benefits for each retailer/restaurant that survives."


Bottom line, I predicted chump change at worst cost wise and now have better educated guesses based on numbers, it seems like the answer is more leaning toward longer term beneficial. If we're really concerned about Burlingame's finances, I can tell you 5-6 things to tackle right now that will have a way, way, way WAY bigger impact to costs than this program, which we all benefit from! Thus the cost argument on this has been effectively debunked.

Support those restaurants! I don't want to see a single one of them put out of business due to COVID! I hope all of you share my sentiments!


I was wondering about the standalone bars--Barrelhouse, Vinyl Room, Alibi, etc.


I am wondering what brand of Wax Mr. Dickenson uses on his "Stable."

Barking Dog

Great discussion

Looking forward to 1st dining experience on the Ave in Sept

Sign me up

Hold the love fest. Cousin Brucey's still playing fast and loosey with his numbers. He can't assign all of the F&B revenue and taxes to the closure. You guys are suckers to think that the total is relevant. It's just the incremental increase. I'm disappointed I have to point this out. It doesn't take an MBA from Kellogg to figure this out. *mic kicked to the corner, hand clap, tip jar filled*

Bruce Dickinson

Sorry, pal, you can go to the City of Burlingame finance dept and do all the cost accounting you want...as for me, there is no need to "assign" anything when the numbers are so large and obvious!

Will leave the t-accounting to those whose opportunity cost of time is worth a tiny fraction of Bruce Dickinson's.

While they do that, I will be enjoying my Ferrari 458, my F12 Berlinetta, my 430 Speciale, my Dino..etc etc etc..(to name a few *wink*)


I am enjoying this back and forth you two. In the meantime maybe you will agree on this brainstorm from the U.K.:

Brits dining out in restaurants will have the cost of half of their meals picked up by the Government in an attempt to get them out and spending.

The innovative scheme is aimed at kick-starting economic growth and boosting the hospitality sector, which has been hit hard by the lockdown.

The measure is part of a raft of new policies unveiled on Wednesday by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in a mini-budget which includes a £30 billion ($37.7 billion) plan to protect jobs and prevent mass unemployment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Alcohol is not included, but if we did it in B'game I submit California wines should be included! How about THAT as a better use of $80K per month?????


The BRAZ is on in a more limited fashion than the BAAZ:

Under the decision, officials will shutter the main segment of Broadway from 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon until 10 p.m. Sunday, during which time restaurants and eateries can place tables in the street to serve diners.

Regarding the Broadway program, officials agreed a decision to close the street is more difficult because it serves as a main arterial to Highway 101, requiring through traffic to be pushed onto side streets.

The requirement to divert cars alarmed some residents, who are afraid their residential street would transform into a popular throughway for inconsiderate drivers seeking highway access.


No mention of recouping 4-6 of the EV spots for GVs. Parking's gonna be tough!


Dear Mr. Bruce Dickenson,
What wax do your "people" use on your stable?
Did you choose the "Special Italian Option?"
Every Glove Box comes with three thousand Viagra.
Not the Cheap Stuff. The Real Viagra.


I made my third foray over to the BAAZ last to eat and see how the crowd was since it was the first night of the BRAZ. The ECR end was quite busy at 7pm -- not busy enough to have to wait for a table, but basically full.

Walking back down Primrose, Asian Box was quiet (perhaps people want an unboxed meal as the point of the BAAZ) and the rest (Pizza My Heart, Five Guys) were deserted. Looking down towards Parc & Howard Bistro things seemed quiet as well. Winners taking almost all?

Same Here

Menlo Park City Council has changed its plan for the closure of Santa Cruz Avenue after merchants complained it had reduced sales and others said the traffic pattern was confusing.

The council had originally voted to close three blocks of the downtown stretch late last month in order to let restaurants and cafes place seating in the streets.

But after the closures went into effect, retailers complained that fewer people were driving past their shops, which meant even less sales.

“Closing Santa Cruz Avenue has been devastating to us and to all of our neighbors, including the restaurants. Our foot traffic is roughly half of normal for June/July. While closing the street may offer another park for youths to ride their bikes, denying access to downtown businesses is an unsurmountable obstacle to business owners,” Harvest Furniture owner Karsten Iwers wrote in an email to council.

Alex Beltramo wrote that stores are losing customers who cannot figure out where to park in order to get to their destination.

“Please reopen Santa Cruz Avenue. It was worth a try, but the results are in and the trendline is in the wrong direction,” Beltramo wrote.


First-hand data is now available. I had dinner at a non-BAAZ restaurant recently and asked the owner what the impact was on his establishment even though he had a good amount of outside tables:

"Down 45 percent".

Paloma Ave

About once a month I head down to Pancho Villa, in San Mateo, to pick up an order and bring it home.

What a rip off!

A #1 Combo Dinner is now $17.00! Plus if you want meat add $1.35. Plus if you want sauce add $3.49. Plus add the undisclosed service fee. Plus service fee tax.

I have been coming here for decades.

This was my last visit to Pancho Villa.

J. Mir

per the SM Daily, Burlingame is walkin' it back now on the street closures. Stuck behind paywall. Joe Bob says check it out

Peter Garrison

People are just being people. Simply separate the tables a bit more and wear masks a bit more and let people be people.

Any science pointing to anyone getting sick from being on the Avenue on a weekend?


Thanks, J. Mir and Peter. I picked up the paper copy before I checked on-line. They reused the Sixto's photo that was in the paper a couple of weeks ago. Love the headline: 'I'm convinced we made a mistake'.

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