I have been following my colleague, Kevin McKenzie’s blog over the past few days and couldn’t help but notice the impatience the executive chef seems to have for the poor sap on the verge of losing a bundle in the restaurant biz.
McKenzie claims that he doesn’t have “the time or inclination to expend the enormous energy required to turn an operation around if the principle is not interested.”
I know exactly what McKenzie is refering to. However, I look at it in an entirely different light. Every time you throw the switch for the first time, once your doors are open you are at the ambling tables. In Kevin’s column, he claimed that owning a restaurant is “somewhat like gambling.” No, it is exactly like gambling. It is gambling.
Unfortunately, the odds may be better at a casino in Vegas than in a diner on
Unlike my colleague I have all the patience in the world for those who enter the game without experience, a well founded team or a game plan. I am not fed up with the “wealthy amateurs who insist on getting involved, without taking the advice and expertise of seasoned professional,” as McKenzie is. I look at those people and shake my head at their courage and desire for adventure.
The restaurant business is one big club. Owners, employees, and vendors, eventually all know the game and become thinkers of the same school. Whether a newbie has any experience to be a chef and has to learn the tricks of the trade, or desires to become an owner immediately and plunge- bank account first- into the game is really not the ruling of the industry, but the person who makes one foolish decision or another.
And, just like those tables in Vegas, luck has a lot to do with whether you face success or failure in the eye. Many restaurants have begun with little money, experience, knowledge or know-how and have become overnight success stories.
With the latest influx of wealth into this economy which can be deciphered into disposable investment income, many people want to see their name in lights. I don’t take issue with them- I look at them to be the latest wave of building renovators to rise to the top. A person with money seldom does a poor job of remodeling a space or structure and that just makes it better for the culinary buzzards flying around waiting for failure.
Plus, McKenzie claims he won’t help with assisting the inexperienced owner with his dilemma for the wealthy restaurateur won’t take any advice.
The last thing the guy needs is advice. He has joined the club. He is now addicted to the feeling of the handshake at the door, the celebrity he feels when he parades through the dining room, and the power behind buying the bar a drink. Advice, no. He needs restaurant intervention.