With a side of care…
People often ask us why we do it. I usually answer in a smartass retort “Because we are gluttons for punishment” or “Maybe YOU can tell ME why!”. The real reasons why we endure and struggle through the trials and tribulations of this wacky economy are not what you may think.
There are many misconceptions of a restaurant owner’s life. The outside view is one of free-flowing cash and a carefree lifestyle. There is a romanticized vision of a relaxed owner lounging in the bar, sipping on the good wine, cavorting with the guests. While this may be the case in those places on TV, reality paints a different picture. We are married to our stores. We are the first ones in and usually the last ones out. We pay excruciating taxes, fees, invoices and service charges. The cost of goods is increasing exponentially while we are taking smaller draws-when we are able to take one at all. We are on a first name basis with the employees of Costco and BJ’s. Weekends are sacrificed for catering parties and cleaning projects. We eat chicken nuggets and mac n cheese at home because we’ve run out of ideas for the day. We deal with the frustrating culture of blatant coupon abuse. People lie to our faces, hand over the fourth reprint of the week and we have to smile as we bend over. Don’t even get me started on Yelp.
Now, I know. Stop complaining Michele. I may have gotten a little carried away in my Debbie Downer-ness, but here is where I get to the good part. In spite of the sleepless nights, monetary stress and endless chore lists, we LOVE what we do. We are not a part of the cookie cutter corporate world that so many people are forced to endure. We have chosen to live a more full way. Our days are filled with creativity and innovation. We are able to create and foster a work environment where our employees (adopted family) like to come to work (most days) and are able to have fun while they are there. We love to see the look on someone’s face the first time they experience Fred’s soup or Michele’s Crappy Frappy. And when we’ve got them hooked, we know it.
We feed people. And we feed them well. From our hearts. From our soul. Our gift is the rare ability to directly affect someone’s day in a positive, simple yet inexplicably profound way. That feeds us. The love and care with which we prepare our food is successfully conveyed and that is satisfying beyond words.