The BP Effect – Business Down, Costs Up at Bayou on the Beach

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by October 15, 2010 • 15 comments

The BP Effect series is brought to you by attorneys Reich & Binstock and Seeger Weiss LLP, which are helping businesses in Panama City Beach recover losses sustained directly and indirectly from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill.  They can help your business too,

Fresh Apalachicola oysters, on the half shell or baked, shrimp po-boys, grilled or blackened fresh fish baskets, crawfish etouffee bowl – is your mouth watering yet?  These are just a few of the mouth-watering menu items to be found at a local favorite, Bayou On The Beach, located on Middle Beach Road in Panama City Beach.  Having been in business since 1999, the Buxtons are not new to the restaurant business here on the beach.  They’ve had good years and they’ve had bad years, this year was supposed to be better than them all, but the BP oil spill changed everything.

Like his son, David Buxton’s business was experiencing a record-breaking spring break.  His season was pacing to have the best summer ever.  With this being his first full season in his new location, he was excited to see what all his hard work and effort would bring him.  Having a strong reputation, he was making plans for expansion with the profits from a great summer.

“About the second week in May, we started seeing business drop off,” Buxton said.  The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded April 20, 2010.  Buxton’s May numbers weren’t a complete disaster, but his June and July numbers were around 40% down from 2009.

Buxton goes on to explain, it wasn’t just his foot traffic numbers that were down, his costs were up, food was more expensive – oysters went from $19 to $34 a sac.  And despite this near double in cost for oysters, he found great resistance from his customers to pass along that cost, nearly eliminating his profit on oysters completely.  To top it off, customers were questioning the safety of the seafood being served.  Perception influenced customers to believe the whole Gulf was tainted.

With the expected spring and summer profits, Bayou On The Beach planned a thorough expansion of the kitchen to accommodate growth and increased traffic, but profits were nearly nonexistent over the summer.  They’ve received a little relief from BP but not nearly enough to cover losses or the expenditure of the expansion.  What is normally an annual profit-sharing or bonus program they have had standing with employees at the end of the summer tourism season, is nonexistent this year.  And regularly scheduled raises didn’t happen, employees hours had to be cut, leaving them to look to BP for relief as well.  The effect is widespread and ever-present – employers, employees, families, employees’ kids – everyone has been effected.

Bayou On The Beach is a local favorite, and if it weren’t for their loyal following, they might not have made it through the summer.  They are alive, they are well, but they’ll never get the summer of 2010 back.  That summer is gone forever.

For more information about Bayou On The Beach, you can visit their website at

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1 Tom Jones October 16, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Why is this article not titled the “CNN/Fox News….(“insert biased media giant here”) effect?

If I’m not mistaken there was very little impact of oil on the Florida coast east of Destin, yet anyone from north of I-10 would not have know that by watching any of the big news channels.

Why was there no story when the well was capped. I’ll bet any of you a dollar that you don’t even know the date it stopped or when onsite containment siphoned the great portion of the flow. Nor do millions of americans.

I’m fed up with the biased media who show up to the gulf coast for hurricanes, executions, scandals and this most unfortunate oil spill only to scream in the middle of the streets that the town is burning, and the sky is falling only to leave once they’ve stirred a frenzy without doing a thing to report the true story after the storm.

Why should this summer’s Transocean/Halliburton/Anadarko/BP oil spill be any different from a bad hurricane in the media’s eyes? I suppose it is solely due to the fact that mother nature doesn’t have pockets as deep as the oil industry and that lawyers, news makers and other scumbags in general are now ready to line their pockets while normal folks suffer.

By the way, I had Appalachacola oysters for the first time last month and those were some rather tasty little buggers. I do highly recommend them to all. And if anyone’s worried about seafood, or shellfish being unsafe, just bring me along, I’ll taste all yall food for ya.


2 captgeobob October 19, 2010 at 8:46 am

I don’t know how you get your news, but maybe you should get out more. I believe it was nationwide when the well was capped and if you just had apps. oysters I definately know you should get out more. And by the way, how about knocking that chip off your shoulder.


3 Selma October 19, 2010 at 7:42 am

You know I completely understand what they are going through. Like them this was suppose to be a breakout year. Airport opening we have been waiting on that for over five years now. I have been in business since 2002 been through hurricanes, tornadoes, housing bubbles, recessions to almost depression, and now oil spills. I work so hard to get where we are as a Resturant in this area you make all the money in the summer well my numbers are down over 40% from last year. I have Had a claim in since august 1 I waited to make sure I was down significatly before I claimed. Well three months later nothing. Not one check not one answer just under review. So when you are a business that makes all their money on the summer to stay open in the winter what happens when there is no money. How fair is it that my employees that did not even live in the area can get a substainal check in five days but me can’t get nothing. Employees that worked three months for me gets 17000 dollars how crazy is that. That is more than they make all year. But you know I can not complain I am very blessed Because the great gift of entrepenurship will always show me the way and will always be
taken care of. U know the media is just as much to blame as bp. What a Free country we live in when the tv can take the lively hood out of so many lives. And then forget about us. But we will survive and be bigger and better.


4 chad October 20, 2010 at 1:36 pm

thats funny cause last year my 401k was down more than 40%…maybe you didnt notice but the economy has went to hell since the last election. i guess i should file a claim with bp?


5 Cathy October 19, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Lord, I am so tired of hearing & reading “blame” articles.
I have been to PCB twice, once in Sept 2010 & just got back Oct. 17th. We enjoyed two weeks vacation. My brother went in June and again in August 2010. None of us noticed a “big” slump in visitors. The local places to eat were crowded as usual and so was the beach.
I did pass by this eating place but, not knowing anything about it… did not try it. I will say this, Pineapple Willy’s and The Back Porch are great places to eat….. both times the place was crowded & the food was served “FAST” and fresh.
I will stick to what I have written before….. I do think the news media “pumped” up a bad situation that was happening in an area that was miles away from PCB. It indeed made many people change their vacations but, the die hard lovers of PCB came on anyway.
I am happy I did & we had a great summer’s vacation in PCB.


6 Greggt October 19, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Selma I just filed our claim, after going through and filling out the required paperwork asked for in the 29 page packet plus all the supporting documents that were required I have a hard time believing your statement that suggests there was some cheating going on ( “Employees that worked three months for me gets 17000 dollars how crazy is that. That is more than they make all year.”).
Cathy, not only were the number of visitors down but the ones that did come spent less money and wanted bigger discounts.


7 Cathy October 19, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Gregg….. The visitors may have been down some but, at the times my family was there it seemed “busy” and people were shopping as usual.
I am proud to say I was offered a discount (IF) the oil reached PCB & (IF) we still wanted to come……. but, I did not accept it as we were going to come either way as we did.
Panic… is what some people did & over oil that never reached this area.
I still lay that on the news media. Sometimes we need to use our own logic instead of others.


8 Selma October 19, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Gregg I wish I can make that up it is true about the three month employee. And I went through the same process with 496 pages of documentation. But you are right the amount of visitors were way down and the vistors did not spend money. And to the capt there is no chip if u are refering to me for I am truly blessed u are right no diffrent than a hurricane or any other predicament. I have weather all of them so I am not complaining just voicing my opiion about the madness. To Cathy thank u for coming anyways, I am very grateful for that.


9 chad October 20, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Heres my .02….I have vacationed in panama city twice this year for a total of 15 days, both trips seemed as busy as it usually is for the times of year I went. Im sure a lot of people did choose to vacation elsewhere this year but it was because of the media reporting oil not because bp was telling people not to come there..they have spent tons of money trying to help “recover” these so called losses from businesses but there wasnt even a problem with oil on the beach in panama city! I would hate to see the crying involved from people there if there was a real oil problem. I have really had it with the attitudes of business owners trying to blame their down profits on this accident. BP didnt want this to happen any more than anybody from florida did but its time to move on. I dont want to give my money to a bunch of people that are trying to get a free ride off of bp. Both times I have vacationed there this year I didnt see any incentives being given out to customers in order to help out their struggling businesses? If they were in such dire straights then why did it seem like goods/restaurants had their prices at an all time high compared to all the other years I have went down there. Im just to the point im fed up with it and I feel it would be best for me to take my vacation money and spend it elsewhere.


10 Cathy October 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Chad….. You are correct. As many times as my husband & I were down at PCB this summer & as many times as we went out to eat we sat in a line & waited unless it was around 2 pm. We saw people eating out & spending money & shopping. Morreso, up in Pier Park than the trinket shops.
our economy is slowly picking up as I knew it would and things will be better for all of us.
No, BP did not what this to happen & I am also tirred of people yapping blame about it…….
Enough is Enough, let sleeping dogs lie and thank goodness that it was not worse. PCB could have got what Orange Beach did.
our family & friends have really enjoyed all of our trips to PCB this year!


11 Greggt October 20, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Well Chad I’m sure in your total of 15 days in PCB you learned all about the financial hardships that the folks along the Gulf Coast have endured since the oil spill.
The trick Chad was just to get people to plan their vacation here under the cloud of possibly have it ruined because of oil on the beach. What happened was most everyone waited to the last minute to book, this set off a panic with folks already on the edge trying to cover their payments, HOA fees, insurance, etc. People started to drop the bottom out of their rates just in an effort to generate some type of cash flow. Once the rates started going down, most everyone followed suit. Our average discount for June was 42%, July 38%. Just as an added note our overall vacancy rate increased 14% spill to date over 2009. Because of the constant coverage of the national media many of our normal visitors chose someplace else to go on vacation, some of the others that came were either 1st timers or folks chasing the low rates. These people did not spend the money that our normal vacationers do. All of this created a chain reaction of not needing as many employees in the service area and the ones that did keep their jobs did not make the amount of money they had come to normally expect over the Summer Season. The business owners also experienced less money coming in, some of those are on the edge anyway and this season could push them over the edge.
As far as BP, please remember it was their greed and carelessness along with Halliburton and Transocean that created the situation to start with. The national media in typical fashion blew the situation out of control but it was BP that ultimately should bear the responsibility.


12 Cathy October 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I’m sorry Gregg, I have to disagree with you totally…… I am not a “newby” to PCB, been coming here 2 to 3 times yearly now for let’s see…. 52 years. My husband & I spent the same amount of money & went out to eat each & every day as we always have. We saw no cut rates, no people out in the streets begging folks to come in or anything like that.
We made our plans earlier in the year and rentted our condo for 5 weeks come “oil” or not!
One thing noone can & cannot do is “MAKE” people come & vacation when the news media is scaring them to death about oil & terrible odors on the beach.
Now, my boss and his family did experiance this up in Orange Beach but, that is over 100 miles away.
This is just what I have said before…… the news media scared many familys from coming to PCB and for what? (Nothing)
You & the others will just have to “get over this” and think positive for next years vacationers. Hopefully nothing & no accidents will happen then but, we never know.
This is “life” my friend….. Roll With It.


13 Greggt October 21, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Cathy, not sure what you are totally disagreeing with me on?? I certainly agree with you on the media and stated such. I referenced “some of the others” certainly not all.
You cannot speak for business and property owners based upon your visiting experience, you don’t see their books.


14 Cathy October 22, 2010 at 11:16 am

Gregg… Oooops, my bad. I mis-read a part. Sorry
Well, I can speak for business and property owners based on my visiting experiance. Why? Because I have visited PCB sooooo many times in my 52 years and am soooooo acustomed to the “hot” spot establishments & the “new” ones that we know when the season is “up” business good & “down” season. It’s like the tide… flows in good & out, bad….. or a drop in seasonal business.
All I said was the numerous times since April, June, September & October we were there, business seemed great to us. People were renting, eating, buying etc.
Now, I did notice the fishing boats “not going out” over at Andersons Marina but, I think this is due to our economic situation & I believe as we grow stronger and business/money becomes more active… we & spending will resume to normal limits.
There is one thing you must learn my friend….
People will vacation “budget wise” and they will “eat”.
People will cut down on things they do that are not a necessity such as pleasure boat fishing just to be able to enjoy maybe another day at the beach. It’s called “Putting what matters first”.
There are many ways a family can make good “cuts” and still enjoy vacations.
No, I do not see many restaurant owners “books” to know their actual figures…. but, again do you? I seriously doubt it.
I do see their packed waiting areas 45 mins to an hour wait…… and see happy waiters and waitress to know business is alive & doing well.
Again, this to shall pass and things will get back to the “norm”.
BP certainly did not mean for this to happen & I think they did all they could do to elivate the bad before it became worse.
Be thankful!