I’ve reached a point in my life to where I am excited to tell people what I do for a living. I could refer to it as a job, but wasn’t a “job” what we grew up knowing as something that we would have to drag ourselves out of bed for just to keep the power on in our homes? I have never felt that way about my current position.
I design restaurants. Ok, so I don’t do all of that fancy shmancy computer program work where I can provide you a 3D rendering of your potential restaurant space, we have other people for that fun stuff. The whole line of “I design restaurants” just kind of came about because it was difficult to tell people I barely knew (that I knew didnt want to spend hours talking to me) what I do. It’s a lot like when people ask you what else you do besides work. It’s difficult at times to explain what a blog is and then have to go through everything that goes with that territory. Sadly, some people still don’t know what a blog is and its purpose…sometimes I don’t even know.
“I’m your partner in your vision.” The important part of this statement is that you understand the “your” part of that statement. I am YOUR partner, and it is YOUR vision. You’ve been dreaming of that day, sometimes for years, when you could open up your own restaurant. It’s my job to come into the middle of that journey with you and become your partner. I’m there to help you figure out how to make your vision a reality and become your cheerleader. The goal of any vision is to see it come true, right? Therefore, that dream you’ve been having, it becomes mine as well. Strength in numbers!
“No really, no idea is a bad idea.” Ok, so in reality, some ideas are incredibly bad ideas. Just plum bad. Just no. Seriously, no. It’s my job though, to move Heaven and Earth to get you where you want to be with that idea. You want monkeys hanging from the ceiling in a dining facility pouring drinks from the rafters? That might not be so great with the Health Inspector, the ASPCA, or the Monkey Union, but we’re going to find a happy medium where you still get what you want. That’s my job…your monkeys become my monkeys and your circus, mine.
“Do you have a budget?” This has to be the one question I hate to ask. I feel like a lot of clients don’t really have an idea of how much it takes, or actually how little it takes sometimes, to get started. I have so many options at my fingertips to meet your budget needs, but, I prefer you are able to tell me a number. If you don’t have a budget, then by all means, let’s fly to France and buy gorgeous French items to decorate your restaurant with, and then fly in rare monkeys from Antartica to pour those drinks that no one has ever seen because they are white as the snow. If you do have a budget, that’s when it gets fun. We get to work together to find everything you need. We get to find awesome things to splurge on, but then weed out the things you don’t want or need to waste money on. Truly though, some things are a waste of money. No one cares if your tablecloths are woven from the silk of the rare Antartic White Spider that eats the mites off the rare Antartic White Monkey. I promise, they don’t. They care if your staff is friendly, your facility is clean, and that your food is better than all around you.
“I am your advocate that will remind you that life is going to be ok.” During the journey of opening a restaurant, you’re going to have awful downs, but then you’re going to have the highest of highs, especially when your doors open for the first time. Man, you are going to be so proud of yourself and your team. You’re going to have naysayers, and you’re also going to find out who your real friends and supporters are during your journey. So where do I stand in all of that? I’m going to be standing right there beside you helping you move forward through it all. It’s going to suck, I promise. I realize that’s an awful promise to make, but I am not going to lie to you. You’re going to be proud one moment, and then you’re going to be irritated the next, when you find out the Health Insprector doesn’t agree with your employment of the rare White Antartic Monkey. You might just have to settle for that amazing bartender down the road when they apply, and just nickname them “Monkey”. Little do they know though, that they’re going to be hanging from the rafters soon using that safety harness you already have installed.
“You can do this, if you develop a good team around you.” If you have a vision of a restaurant, I encourage you to move forward with your vision. Not everyone can say that they have followed their dreams, much less, opened a restaurant. To be honest, I wish more people would follow their dreams. We would have a much more fulfilled society. Also, don’t forget to visualize the little things that I’ll be there to help you with…You’ll need flatware, dinnerware, glassware, chairs, tables, decorative lighting, functional lighting, sound system, POS system, uniforms, etc. That’s all just in the front of the house! You’ll need plenty of items in the back of the house as well, and I encourage you to let your Chef help pick those things out with us, so they have everything they need in order to do the best job for you. The main thing I’m not involved in…that’s your staff. Make sure you hire people that you trust and that will work hard for you. On the flip side, make sure that you treat them with respect and listen to them when they need to talk with you. You’ll need this trusting partnership if you want to learn to live a little again…and take vacations! I know vacations aren’t in your current vision, and they shouldn’t be, but I hope you find time to really learn to embrace your success after the first few years of opening your restaurant, and live a little.
My best advice, if you want it, is to make sure you find the right partner to help you on your journey. The kind of partner that will be there dining in your restaurant after all is said and done and YOUR dream is now YOUR reality. It’s so important to the dream, the support. Most importantly, remember that I believe in you. I don’t know you, but I believe in you. I believe in the power of the dream, the power of support, and the power of having faith in yourself. I love the cheerleader part of my “job”. You got this!