Camaraderie amongst peers is the rue that bonds relationships in the restaurant world. The other evening I mentioned to Kranston that Thomas Keller-the French King of Yountville- decided to begin building his empire after two previous restaurant business failures. When he decided to pursue the purchase of his flagship, The French Laundry, he didn´t have pockets full of cash. When he reached in he found lonely lint and a credit card that he maxed out for $5,000.00 to pay an attorney to begin the process.
Keller, like so many of us, had to look to others to borrow money-to find investors- in order to turn his dream, his vision for a culinary family of fine tuned eateries, into a reality. And now into a brand. Keller is the ultimate success story.
When I heard Keller tell the story I was surprised-not because Keller had faltered and fallen at one point in his career- feeling came in the form of hope for the small guy, or the big guy about to fall-struggling to pay the vendors, the phone company, and payroll all in the same week.
Culinary students whose path takes them through training, past the prep table, onward to the stove, and there they rise to chef and eventually morph into icon stature, is a an awe inspiring event in this industry. And the more stories you can read, or view, in this case, the better because there may be that one little tip that you overlooked that may turn disaster into stardom. You may be inches away from that huge success but have failed only in capturing the moment.
Success stories of others offers a morale boost, and what restaurateur doesn´t need that on occasion to prevent each of us from merely sticking our heads in a bag of damp, aromatically displeasing, dirty table linen and calling it culinary quits?
Possibly a bit drastic but we need to pan to drama for a moment. Allbusiness has added video. Just as Keller´s empire is growing- it seems he now has as many restaurants as parking spaces at The French Laundry- so is the information that you can capture from Allbusiness.com.
No, I wasn´t asked by my editor to pump up the site-to write a few niceties about how high tech was changing the world.
The other night while I was surfing the site I came across the Thomas Keller interview with Hattie Bryant. It was captivating since I was eating a slice of bread I had purchased at Bouchon Bakery hours earlier.
If you haven´t noticed yet, Allbusiness has made some changes over the past few months and has been redesigned to accommodate the latest assets of high tech.
Video tips with various restaurant owners and other business entrepreneurs are only one of the many changes that have premiered on the site. Remember a few weeks ago when it was difficult to find a page or two- that´s because of the transition for the old site- in the world of Web 1.1 to the new site which in my opinion has vaulted into web 2.0 and beyond.
For the restaurant owner the site is a treasure chest filled with useable assets. Now I am the last restaurant owner to tell anyone that you don´t need a lawyer. Every owner in the country should retain a lawyer and a bookkeeper before you hire your first chef. As a matter of fact, build the yearly retainer fees into your budget. Be cautious, however, on the frequency you turn to that newly hired legal mind-fees can mount up quickly-retainers dwindle overnight.
That´s one of the assets of Allbusiness. The pages —over a million or so- floating in cyberspace- offer a plethora of first-hand knowledge from business professionals who have experienced numerous situations. And, they share those experiences.
The new video section has some tremendous interviews with the likes of Marc Katz, of Katz´s Deli and Bar in Austin, Texas. Anne and Sam Beiler of Aunt Anne´s Pretzel fame offer advice on how to develop a successful business plan, and if you want to see how to have fun at work, click on the Wahoo Fish Taco video.
I´ve also been brought to the visual airwaves of cyberspace and have shared some of my thoughts on the screen. Here´s that link for the Restaurant Advice video.
Yes, the new Allbusiness.com rocks. Where else can a business operator go at any time of the day or night to find answers to questions that are imperative in turning a profit-or keeping the doors open? And don´t just think it has to do with restaurant operations. There are tips, and advice and videos about deductions, accounting, inventory, lowering overhead, and bankruptcy.
Fade in to that last topic for a minute.
You´re up against the wall. The vendors are at the door. The phones are getting ready to be turned off. You haven´t slept in weeks. You know that the electric company is coming out tomorrow to turn the switch unless you can pay for the air conditioning you used three months ago that topped the $3000.00 mark. The meat that you haven´t paid for yet will spoil. The rest will be history.
Can you file the papers fast enough to stop the bleeding and if you do is there a chance for survival? Remember, it is ten o´clock at night.
What is the final answer?
A short video on Allbusiness with Hattie Bryant interviewing John Hawkins of Cloud 9 Shuttle, an airport shuttle service in San Diego, offers comforting words- there is life after bankruptcy. Hawkins explains how to deal with it. You feel a bit better. You think there may be light at the end of the following day.
Take a moment out of your hectic day. Surf Allbusiness when you get the chance. Listened to the advice- and now watch it- that people who have walked the path to success, stumbled along the way, and learned how to conquer the trail that leads to a smoother road. You may see some people you know, others you admire, and a handful that you aspire to.
You´ll be able to see peers discuss how they stumbled before they became successful stars and decided to open a restaurant and call it a laundry.