And I would counter that with, even if the place is decorated nicely and the staff is friendly, they’re still going to get lousy food and not come back, and will tell their friends that it stinks.
This is what I would do if I was God. It’s not my turn this week but I’m posting it anyway.
What I think is the most urgent problem is the cash flow. Nothing was done for a year even though I think it could and should have been. The first thing should be to get a membership system set up so that those who want to contribute money can do so. Members can get perks like custom titles or no ads or something, and this is important so I’m going to yell it, PEOPLE WHO CHOOSE NOT TO PAY CAN’T BE MADE TO FEEL LIKE SHIT. That’s just creating more bad blood and driving more people away.
Once the corporate gods are happy that the board is paying for itself, that would be the time to redesign the graphics and rename the forums and things like that. The core posters would keep posting no matter what the place is called, I think. It would give them some time to get used to it.
Then get on board with someone who knows how to promote a business on social media in order to get the word out. Decide what demographic you want to appeal to because Czarcasm is right that different ages take different approaches. Same as if you want to have a gastropub or a sports bar or a fine dining restaurant.
Once membership is going up, that would be the time to bring back the column using Patreon or something to pay the columnist for their time and effort.
I’m pretty new here. It’s been decades since I read a Cecil Adams column. So I’m not attached to the whole Cecil and the olden days the way the long-time posters are. I see this as trying to revive a failing business and the only way to do that is to treat it like a business.