I have always been a fear based personality and I used to think it was a bad thing. While I am still highly fearful of all types of bugs and things that fly, I have learned to manage my fear to make it work for my business and our clients. Let’s get one thing straight (yes even on DOT429) – when we are fearful, we have two choices – become paralyzed or put a solid plan together to combat our concerns.
Opening a new business always entails risk. All of us have heard the scary statistics about new restaurants in particular – especially in major cities like New York and San Francisco. The rents, the labor, the competition – oh my! The prospect of opening a restaurant may very well instill fear, but successful operators reduce this stress with clear market analysis, well thought out financial plans, concepts that are needed – and the appropriate amount of capital to operate during the crucial ramp-up phase.
The sheer number of new restaurants that have opened recently show us there are some pretty brave (and talented) souls out there. Despite an economic downturn and cautious predictions about the revival of the hospitality sector in the coming year, we’ve seen an amazing number of places come to life this year – everything from expansive projects like Wayfare Tavern(SF) and Prospect (SF), to the intimate self-built/designed restaurants like eVe (Berkeley), Sons & Daughters (SF) and the Little Cheese Pub/Brat’s (NYC).
The husband and wife chef/owners at eVe self-financed and built their small and successful restaurant in an up and coming section of downtown Berkeley. Likewise the chef/partners at Sons & Daughters overhauled an antiquated space and replaced it with an edgy restaurant that is sure to surprise guests with very unexpected touches. Guests at both restaurants enjoy the sense of discovery that comes when these chefs push the envelope in new or exciting ways. Many times their menus also challenge guests to take chances with unique ingredients –conquering some of their own food fears. I admit I once was very fearful of sushi – and now I love it.
Were these owners fearful? You bet! But both of these new ventures exhibit the passion and dedication needed to make it. Rather than opting for the tried and true, these young, independent entrepreneurs have designed and built restaurants that are changing the shape of dining today. They are the innovators that have faced fear and continue to use it be successful. Here’s to them!
So for all the cowardly lions out there, I remind you the courage to overcome fear lies within. Just be prepared, calculate the risks and have a plan. If everything feels right and makes sense then you’ll know what do to. I wish you the best of luck – The Wizard of AF&Co.