On occasion I would read Kosher articles by industry expert Menachem Lubinsky, founder of Kosherfest. He recently wrote in his Sixth Sense blog on KosherToday.com about a missing opportunity for Kosher businesses in South Florida, specifically to accommodate the droves of North Eastern Jews flying south for the Winter (Break) – but let’s be honest – it’s mainly the NYers. He has some truly great insights, one that I’ve experienced myself in the years that I have flown down to Miami for Winter and even Pesach vacation – slow service, lack of food, and recently… lack of options. Read below. ~Dani
A Big Kosher Market with a Short Window – January 31, 2011
Snowbirds visiting South Florida are always keeping score on the opening and closings of kosher restaurants. This year, generations of kosher devotees who have made Sara’s a must-stop found to their dismay that the eatery had shut its doors for good. Several restaurants found it difficult to maintain their operation for an entire year when the winter season was three months at best. These last few weeks tens of thousands of Easterners descended on Florida and were especially happy to be out of the record-breaking snow accumulations back home. But they also found it a nightmare to shop for kosher or eat in a kosher restaurant. Some complained that the owners were less than friendly in accommodating the throngs while others said that the service left much to be desired. A family of five that had arrived 15 minutes after their reservation time was abruptly turned away.
Especially frustrating to many was that the supermarkets and large club stores totally ignore the presence of what some believe is as many as 100,000 kosher consumers particularly during late January and early February. They are used to stores in New York’s Catskill Mountains that especially cater to vacationers. Some year-round residents were incensed that they had to compete with the snowbirds just to buy food for Shabbos. With the harsh winters back East, it may be time for the food industry here to take notice of what is clearly a huge opportunity. At the very least, food establishments here could learn to be a bit friendlier, with the hope that if customers have a good experience they might just stop-in again come summer time.