Open for business!

Finally, the day has arrived to fully launch There has been so much work behind the scenes getting ready to launch this site. Just as in any new business venture, there have been trials and tribulations and many revisions. This launch is no different than perhaps, your new restaurant. Ideas and concepts tested and tried and the planning and final execution have taken months. There is still work to be done, just like your own restaurant, but we are officially OPEN FOR BUSINESS!

Building this website has reminded me of two sisters I worked with many years ago, who were preparing to open a coffee cafe. This was long before the designer coffee of today and they were struggling to find their niche in this untapped market.

The sisters – like so many passionate business partners were having creative differences. Their individual personalities were also keeping them from working effectively. I joined their team as a crew member to help get their cafe up and running. As the weeks and months went by, they each began to confide their concerns to me, with how the other was handling the many responsibilities of running the business.

One sister was concerned that they had not honed their coffee and muffins enough and wanted more time perfecting the recipes and details before they presented them for the grand opening. The other sister was anxious to open for business and generate some income. As every business owner knows, everyday your shop is closed, equals lost revenue…At one point, the dreaded moment happened and I was placed in that very awkward moment of being caught in the middle of the sister drama! I was actually asked, “which one of us is right?” To be honest, I can’t fully recall my answer from so many years ago. I was much more concerned with saving my employment status. My answer must have been somewhat diplomatic, since I stood on with them for a couple of years. I’d like to tell you that the sisters had a hugely successful business, but truth is they had a rough go of it. Their opposite approach to business prevented them from moving their cafe to the next level. They stayed in business for several more years and eventually went their separate ways.

I’ve come across this scenario many times since these ladies. So many start up restaurants and partners have opposite approaches to launching their enterprises. So as a consultant, how would I answer that question today? My answer might surprise you!

If you agree with the first sister, that perfecting your product before launching is the way to go — you’re right! If you believe in the second sister’s philosophy of getting the doors open and getting the much anticipated revenue is the way to go — you’re right!

When it comes to your food and signature items, you need to perfect them before you even think of presenting it to your target audience. You need to test 1, 2 even 300 hundred times to make sure the quality is spot on! Your recipes need to be rock solid enough to pass on to any chef and have them come out, just as if you were preparing them yourself. Even if your restaurant is serving up sandwiches, make sure they have the right quality and quantity before making their public debut. Everything from soup to desserts needs to have quality control and consistency. There is no quicker way to lose your clientele than to have them love your food one week and not even recognize your food the following week. Milton S. Hershey of the famed Hershey Chocolate Company spent years perfecting his recipe before launching his first confectionary and even more years developing new ideas with chocolate before becoming the iconic chocolate bar we know today. Perfect your signature dishes and serve them with confidence and pride.

At some point, every business needs to take that leap of faith and just open for business. If you wait for every little segment to be flawless – you may never open! It is possible to lose your focus over the busy work. I knew someone years ago launching a home based tutoring business. Something that could have taken weeks ended up taking well over a year. Each time I called to see how it was going, I was met with an endless list of: waiting to set up my computer, my printer, my files, my office and so on. I believe they were waiting on the #2 pencils to be sharpened before they could fully open. At some point you have to have enough faith in your restaurant and trust in your product to open your doors. It will always be a work in progress – growing, tweaking, honing and learning are all essential components to a successful venture.