A life of a humble restaurateur.

Shifting a line of work from a creative designer to a restaurateur of a small independent mom & pop restaurant, many have always questioned if I ever have time for anything else…

When long hours are needed, profit margins are thin, and employee shortage is unavoidable…  

Here is my points: 

(1) Long hours of work don’t really matter if you love what you do.  In my case, our restaurant is a primary home as I and my family members stay there most of the time.  We take turn to get the shop going; my mom would come to open the shop and make her specialty sauces, prepare certain ingredients, and check the kitchen conditions; I would come just before the restaurant opens and pretty much take care of the front-of-house duties; my dad would come in the late afternoon so I can take a break before the evening shift and usually stay until the shop is closed.  He is the LAST person who walks out of the restaurant everyday…  

(2) Although the profit margin of running a small restaurant is low, cash flow day-to-day is still beneficial.  With a lack of well-established management and system, an independent restaurant can go out of business very quickly.  The hardest part is not about managing perishable resources.. like other businesses that need manpower, it’s all about managing people.. 

(3) Most of the front-of-house staff don’t see working in a restaurant as their permanent settlement; the nature of work requires merely entry level applicants.  Once they gain enough skills or knowledge, most of them want to seek better opportunities.. which is nothing wrong..  It only puts a strain on the restaurateurs, who would have to re-hire and re-train new employees multiple times!  The jobs of the back-of-house are usually more labor intensive as compared to those at the front.  Anyhow, they don’t have deal with rude guests or write reports on incidents.  (In that sense, I sometimes want to be a kitchen helper…)  I’m not saying that either position is more tired than the other.

They both can reach different stages of physical and mental fatigue..


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