Last week was the busiest I have felt since we opened and it definitely felt like a shove! The food is selling out almost every night and I'm receiving great feedback from diners. Actually a good problem to have but a problem nonetheless. Cooking requires discipline and a strong psyche that can sometimes pull me away from the other aspects of running a business. These are the experiences that makes me a stronger chef and business owner. The highlights from last week are the following: 1) Menu planning and development. 2) Customer relations and satisfaction. 3) Employee management and daily operations. 4) Lastly, personal time management.
Let's start with menu planning and development. Originally, I was planning to keep my menu the same for longer than a week. So far I have changed the menu almost everyday since after the first week we were open. This taught me how to choose specific cuts and utilize it for different dishes I can run throughout the week. At the same time, shopping around the strip district has influenced some of the flavors that I'm trying to develop. If I can continue this cycle then I'll be able to tailor the menu to change frequently as needed.
Customer relations has been more personal than any I've encountered in my previous work, ordering from the counter allows me to interact with the person and build a different kind of relationship. Most often, it's the front of the house that establishes the connection between customer and restaurant. It's refreshing to see the person for a change and I've definitely worked on improving my social/people skills. The compliments have been overwhelming and the criticism has been very humbling.
It's never easy trying to cook someone else's food, nor is it easy to even understand how that person cooks their food. Training someone to understand how I treat food has been a challenge lately, there are underlying factors that I'm adapting as I encounter the problem firsthand. But I'm just as strong of a chef as the weakest cook in my kitchen, I have to improve so that they can become stronger on their own.
Lastly, managing my personal time. Not as easily done when I almost eat and sleep at my work. Don't get me wrong, this experience has been invaluable regardless if it's like a roller coaster or not. Amidst the hype and the sudden change of pace in my life, I am grateful that I still have time to spend for myself and enjoy the company of the people who are close to me. I definitely appreciate the smaller things in life, even the less noticeable ones, and keep looking forward to whatever happens next.