When opening a restaurant – and I know so much about this because I’ve opened, um, no restaurants but my husband just opened one – I’ve noticed a few things. Clichés, mostly.
Give the people what they want: It will serve you and your audience if you keep others in mind. If it’s something you really want, chances are, others will too.
Keep it simple, stupid: When Jack started cooking up his barbecue dream, we ALL had ideas on how to make it something else. But he stuck to his instincts to provide a focused product. At Jack’s BBQ, if it ain’t from Central Texas, it’s just ain’t.
Don’t jump the gun: We anticipated opening daily for lunch and dinner. Boy howdy were we not quite ready to do that. We’ve had to pare back to just lunch service Tuesday through Sunday while we hire and train more staff. (Know any fun, friendly and experienced wait staff? Send them to Jack’s.)
Be prepared for failure … and success: Remember that ad of those people launching their startup, and they watch as 2, 3, 4 people sign up for their service, and then the counter goes out of control as the numbers of clients climbs exponentially? Well, that can happen – or not – either way, ya gotta brace yourself for what the fates throw you.
Don’t sweat the small stuff:Hey, there’s gonna be A LOT of bumps along the way, so work on the small problems but keep your eye on the ball. Afterall, half the fun of chasing a dream is just that … chasing a dream.
Trust yourself: You may have an idea so cockamamie that it’s genius. Remember to believe in yourself, even when others don’t.
Enjoy the ride: It takes a lot of energy and effort to launch any dream. So if you’re gonna do it, embrace the challenge and learn to love the good with the bad.
If you’re near SODO, drop by for lunch (11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 3924 Airport Way South). I promise a mouthwatering experience. And I’ll let you know when we bring dinner service back after we’ve hired more people and can keep that brisket flowing afternoon and night!
Photos by Marcus Donner. Pictured above: The bar; Tony, pitmaster extraordinaire; Jack; Arrie, always upbeat bartender; Megan way-friendly waitress; Scott and Debbie, mixing up mean cocktails; guests at one of the openings; hot links; brisket, Frito pie and collard greens; three reasons to Uber home.