News 4-6-07 Grand Sierra Garage Club Closing

4/5/07 - GRAND SIERRA CHANGES CONTINUE - The Garage nightclub will be closing in the coming days to make way for one of Niki Beach's new planned night clubs.

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Posted by: Sara Lee - 4/6/2007 3:58:47 PM
Mike, what's your opinion on the Grand Sierra seemingly "outsourcing" their casino features and ammenities to chain restaurants and clubs? In my opinion the best property in town is the Eldorado because the Caranos more or less run a tight ship and keep an eye on everything going on in their casino. Sure, they definitely make mistakes here or there, but at least they have the power and the vision to control everything top to bottom. How's this going to play out at the Grand Sierra though? It's almost turning into a mall in a way, if that makes any sense. At first I wasn't so hot on the idea but I've been wrong before and was curious as to what you, and others here, though.

Posted by: Mike Van H - 4/6/2007 7:15:56 PM
I agree the Eldorado runs a tight ship. Dont they even have their own coffee fields or something in South America? Their coffee is reeaaaly good I know that, and its not Starbucks. You can also probably throw Atlantis and the Sparks Nugget in as tightly run ships too. I think it comes down to how tightly each of the entities they are outsourcing runs. For example, not sure if its still there, but Johnny Rockets runs a pretty tight set of standards for a chain, and Starbucks is the perfect example of strict controls on what each chain can do. However, if you pick the wrong chain, it can be disasterous. Can you imagine the position Grand Sierra would be in if Nikki Beach went under or had extreme problems,or backed out halfway through construction of the remaining suite foors and nightlubs? And what happens when Dolce in L.A. loses its popularity (always happens) or closes completely? Would the Dolce here close too? I would HOPE the folks at GSR would be smart enough to do full research on Nikki Beach and the people they partner with. If I DID choose to form my long term business plan that way, I would make sure I had ironclad contracts. I wonder though with a 145-acre property if they dont have a choice but to outsource some of their venues? I would personally try to do it the Eldorado way....the Eldorado has been around a looong time and stable even in hard times...probably because they do control everything...and the video of Greg hanging out in the kitchen with Sam Shad on Best of Reno cooking his own creations really says something about the Carano family as a whole and their hands-on approach.

Posted by: Sara Lee - 4/7/2007 9:03:43 AM
Not sure where their beans come from but I think they roast them inhouse, right? Regardless, the coffee is damn fine, good pastries, restaurants, bars, etc etc. There's also the whole Ferrari-Carano wine link which is pretty solid as well. That being said, I think families like the Caranos are pretty unique and it's hard to find a group that can run a casino in that same manner. The only reason why I cringe when I think of so much outsourcing though is Harrah's dabbled with it a little over the years (Planet Hollywood, Starbucks, McDonalds), though really their biggest problem has been answering to stock holders instead of casino patrons while their product's quality goes in the crapper. As long as the Grand Sierra has very hands-on, passionate and brilliant people working from them top to bottom they should be okay, whether or not they roll their own nightclubs and restaurants. I have a lot of doubts about their business plan but this is the opinion of someone with an "old school" casino background whose ideas on how things work is probably slow to change sometimes.

Posted by: Richard - 4/7/2007 11:44:48 AM
The El Dorado, Nugget, Atlantis and Peppermill may be considered tightly run ships by keeping their amenities in-house. The reality is quite the opposite. The casino doldrums in Reno are due in large part to a lack on innovation by our local casino operators. And the acceptance of low standards by the guests that do visit the local properties. The sad truth is that people that frequent our local casinos have low expectations. As good as many of our local operators are, they are no match for the truly innovative operators from Las Vegas. The trend in Vegas, Atlantic City and other jurisdictions is to embrace celebrity chef restaurants, have beautiful high end property design, and offer high-end retail and first class nightlife. Our local casinoís attempts at these types of amenities are sometimes done well. But they are no match for the professionally run properties in other major gaming jurisdictions. The first serious operator that comes into Reno and builds a modern casino resort is going to kill the competition. And it looks like it will be Stations. The Atlantis and the Peppermill are both good operators. But they are out of their league compared to Stations. The two Stations properties planned for Reno will seriously impact the revenues of the Atlantis and the Peppermill in a very negative and permanent way. When locals visit these new Stations properties they will then understand what a state-of-the-art locals casino is all about. Renoís casino industry is in the mess itís in because of a lack of vision and innovation, decades of infighting and provincialism. Thankfully, the attitude has slowly begun to change over the last few years. The GSR should be applauded and supported in their efforts to revitalize their property and the local casino industry. The criticisms of their efforts only reflect the old-school negative thinking that has kept Reno down in the past. Embrace the change. Donít be afraid.

Posted by: Mike Van H - 4/7/2007 12:00:48 PM
Great points Richard. Also, it will be interesting to see how the new player in town in Sparks will affect the Nugget, particularly since they are from Vegas. A 300-foot-tall 1000-room hotel/casino with five restaurants, a high-end spa, private beach, lakefront amphitheater with water show and a convention center sounds like it could be serious competition.