Well, I thought keeping a diary while running a restaurant would be easier, but it turns out that there just aren’t enough hours in a day to write a daily diary entry after cooking and serving delicious food all day, dealing with suppliers, handling the chores of running a restaurant, and making connections with my customers so I can create repeat, sustainable business. As it turns out, there aren’t enough hours for love either.
The business is running well at this point. For the first month or so, I was earning about $500 a day. Since my expenses are fairly stable, this wasn’t an issue. Things picked up when I earned a 2-star review in this year’s Michelin Guide; with the extra business, I started earning about $700 a day.
|A two-star restaurant!|
That review was informative, and I used the data from that review to drive some changes in my menu. I had focused on serving wine and beer, but the review pointed out that this was hardly appropriate in a mixed use building like SherriSoda Tower. I took that feedback and focused more on serving hearty foods, such as burgers, my grilled chicken plate, and salads. I experimented with serving lasagna, ice cream, French fries, and sopapillas, but they couldn’t stick to my menu. There were too many complaints about the smell produced by French fries and sopapillas; ice cream just wouldn’t sell enough, even on rainy days; lasagnas didn’t have the returns on investment I wanted from such a complicated dish. Furthermore, the likelihood of messing up a lasagna was too high.
Speaking of lasagna, I’m still astonished by the dietary habits of my customers. When I still served wine, I would regularly sell entire bottles of our cheapest house wine and the more expensive Cazu Marzu aged cheese wine to customers, and they would drink the entire bottle in one sitting. When I served lasagna, customers would order a full sized tray of lasagna and finish that in one sitting too. I hate to think that I’m contributing to health problems in SherriSoda tower, so I feel better about taking lasagna off my menu. Of course, people still ask for the Ryan Davis Special and the Heartstopper on days when I serve burgers, so I won’t be able to claim that I’m offering a completely healthy menu.
|Thankfully, no one’s had a heart attack as a result of eating one of these yet.|
|One of my favorite burgers to make.|
I’m not sure who this Crazy Dave fellow is, but I enjoy taking his money whenever he approaches me via e-mail with another of his asinine bets. He bets against my success, and I have proven to him time and again that he should not underestimate my talents. He can challenge me to put items on my menu that I would normally never serve and maintain my standard of excellent service, and I will answer the call. More importantly, I will continue to take his money.
A lot of my food preparation relies on sound. I can tell how many burger patties I put on the grill based on the sound of patties hitting the grill. I can tell if a chicken breast has been properly prepared based on the sound of mallet hitting meat. That’s another reason I don’t like serving lasagna; it doesn’t sound right from dish to dish when I prepare a lasagna tray.
Since my last entry, I’ve celebrated my 1000th and my 2000th customers. I can remember vividly what the 1000th customer ordered (a salad with thousand island dressing, cheese, carrots, and greens), but I can’t remember what my 2000th customer ordered. Time just flies by.
Like all new businesses, my restaurant faces peculiar challenges, but I have determined that I have a significant competitive advantage that defies economic theory. Simply stated, my customers are very insensitive to pricing. When I upgraded my chicken plate to use a higher quality meat, I raised the price of my plate. However, demand does not seem to have suffered as a result of this price increase. Instead, the clientele that I had when my restaurant was unrated in the Michelin Guide and paid for a lower quality but cheaper chicken dish continue to come to my renovated and Michelin-rated restaurant to buy a more expensive chicken dish. Even stranger, my customers are willing to pay as much for a small cup of water with ice as they will for a jumbo-sized cup of grape soda with a flavor blast. I’m not complaining about this unusual customer behavior, and I’m afraid of jinxing it by even thinking about it.
|Frank, an old regular, rubbing elbows with Dwyght, one of my new regulars. I enjoy my diverse clientele.|
I received another review recently, and I was promoted to a 3-star restaurant, which was very exciting.
|A three-star restaurant!|
I now make about $1000 a day thanks to my slightly revamped menu, which offers a high quality chicken breast plate, coffee, soda, burgers, salad, and steak. I also started to cater parties in SherriSoda tower, which has provided another source of revenue.
|I get the burgers, but who eats whole trays of lasagna at a party?|
This improved review also brought me back to my mentor’s attention, and he surprised me with an invitation to appear on a test episode of Iron Cook at the Iron Cook Studio. Walking into that battlefield was a dream come true; I hope to make it back as a full-fledged competitor soon.
|I completed the Iron Cook burger and ice cream challenge without a hitch.|
Unfortunately, though I have found some measure of professional success, I have been unable to find romantic success. I recently signed on with an online dating service at the behest of my friends, and I’ve been set up on a couple of dates. Because running this restaurant is so demanding, I’ve had to hold my dates at my own restaurant. Though I try to schedule these dates on days where I don’t have to run the business by myself, I inevitably have to help cook, serve, and clean, which makes these dates rather tense. It’s especially annoying when I get the sense that these women are only dating me because I can make a certain dish; one woman would only agree to a date at my restaurant if I served lasagna. I tried to explain that I had very good reasons for taking lasagna off my menu, but she insisted. So I indulged her and invited her to sample my restaurant’s lasagna. Word must have gotten out because almost everyone ordered lasagna that day, which made the whole experience much more stressful than it should have been. The worst part was her insistence on texting me after the so-called date. While I was answering her texts, I couldn’t run my restaurant. We went on a couple more of these so-called dates, and then she e-mailed me that she was leaving the country.
At that point, I decided that I have to focus on the restaurant for now and have to stop dating.
I continue to work to improve my restaurant. I’m facing another restaurant review soon, and I hope to at least maintain my 3-star rating, if not increase it to a 4-star rating. We have a pretty good rotation of dishes now to keep my menu fresh, and I’ve started exploring a third revenue stream by investing in some products that any restaurateur would appreciate, such as improved toilets and dish washers. Hopefully, things continue to hold. I’m really enjoying the experience of running this restaurant.