ALL RESTAURANT OWNERS ARE A BIT CRAZY
and its the good crazy that makes it work
The restaurant owner is a different kind of breed. Their thought process, although widely varied, is very specific to the world they work in.
Let’s start by pointing out that the food business is unlike any other. When normal people are enjoying their free time, that’s when the industry is alive and working the hardest.
People from all walks of life work in hospitality; from pin point precision perfectionists to drunken disruptive delinquents. And somehow this whirlwind of chaos has the potential to flow together like a fine tuned engine.
The restaurant owner, the one that made that active decision to gather this hoard under one banner, believes in her heart of hearts that she can make a system by connecting bits of chaos.
The person we are talking about probably has a few of the following character traits. They probably have an alpha personality. They probably have issues with authority. And there’s a strong likelihood that they don’t enjoy being stationary in one place for eight hours a day.
They are willing to trade safety and comfort for grease and uncertainty.
By normal standards the restaurant owner is most certainly a bit crazy.
When I use the word “crazy”, I mean it in the best of ways. We could replace that word with erratic, borderline schizophrenic, or any other term you could look up in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders.
On one day they will be at the top of the world, charisma turned to the max, looking & smelling like a million bucks. The next day they’ll look like they got beat up, torn clothes, unshaven, and looking like Thanos has just snapped his fingers.
This up & down cycle will happen again and again, and depending on the day: that person will be somewhere within that spectrum.
Below are four general reasons someone opens a restaurant and what it is that motivates them. Whether they are successful or not is a different story:
this person sees $3 dollars worth of ingredients and decide that they can sell the same thing for $15.
These people will be very detail oriented when it comes to numbers and more than likely visible at one (or all) of their locations daily.
That doesn’t necessarily mean they will look for the cheapest products – but it is a good indication.
Their decisions will be predominantly driven by numbers and hopefully they’ll prioritize paying a premium for their employees & the core ingredients to put a dish in front of you.
This one wants to impress. They want to say “I’m the owner of XYZ” and usually there’ll be a short pause after that statement. This pause is the time they give you in order to praise them.
Whether their place is shabby or overly opulent, you won’t often see them there. If you do, it’s usually because they are sitting at the bar or a table in the front where everyone will be able to see them.
A good team led by a good manager will further their chances of succeeding. If they don’t have these key people, then they better have some money to burn while the place slowly runs itself into the ground.
This owner will be beaming with pride while she kneads the bagel dough or finely cuts garlic in the back.
They started because they believed in themselves and their ability to produce X better or different than anybody else.
Almost always they’ll be there cooking or prepping or training people. If not that, they’ll be explaining to a guest exactly WHAT, WHY, or HOW that specific thing was done in that way.
They won’t be focused as much on costs as long as they can afford it. From this person’s perspective they are sharing their love with those who choose to join.
A few people here tend to fall into this category – including me (to some extent).
They fell into the restaurant business by accident. Maybe they won the place in a poker game. Maybe they inherited it from someone close.
Or… Somehow ended up opening a place because they had to.
This group is hard to pin down because there are so many reasons why they held the keys.
I’m comfortable saying these things about the restaurant world because I’m part of it.
My father has owned a restaurant his whole life, my brother runs a number of restaurants, and me… I play on both sides of the aisle: on one side I run a tiny place on Saturdays and on the other side I and work with restaurants to make their coffee department shine.