Diary of a Restaurateur

Funny old game this. Last night, Saturday, we were empty. Not one single diner. Chef, me and one other, candles lit, gas and lights burning, logs on the fire and the central heating boiler fighting to repel the cold wind attempting to break in.

Today, Sunday, we were almost full with a combination of  booked tables and ‘walk-ins’. Having plenty of staff, I was able to really do my principal job which is to conduct proceedings and talk to clients.

Otherwise known as schmoozing, I am sure that this job is as important as any other that goes into the running of a restaurant. In part this is so that the client establishes a direct link with the establishment. Equally, if not more important is for me to understand what our diners want. Today we seem to have delivered well. We had a range of people from around England and abroad. Some came with high expectations which we exceeded, others’ expectations were unclear but the compliments were very encouraging for me and the team.

For some we equal or exceed anything that London’s best has to offer, for others we are doing something totally different. A common view is that if one were to stumble upon us while on holiday in Italy, Spain or France, we would be the highlight of that particular visit.

What I am trying to achieve is a simple dream choice of high quality, honest, great tasting food in a comfortable welcoming environment. Today it became clear that I am succeeding, but if we have many more empty Saturday nights, the dream may end.


Author: janmccourt

Farmer, owner of Northfield Farm known for his & its pioneering role as a champion of local food, rare breeds, Borough & Broadway Markets.

2 thoughts on “Diary of a Restaurateur”

  1. You are obviously dedicated and passionate about your offering. Here in Ireland, the dire recession has pushed many fine restaurants over the edge into liquidation. A friend of mine ran a great place in Co. Wicklow. His place was full every night with a three week list for Saturday. He supported local organic growers and local fishermen too. He was making a go of something very worthwhile. Today, he is in a different business regretting his time in the restaurant. They went bust two and a half years ago. I am beginning to see signs that he is getting over the regret stage and is remembering the truly great things he was doing. Perhaps when things improve a bit here, he can get back to doing what he loves. I hoep he does. I enjoyed the occasional night there. Ahhh those scallops….

    1. Thanks for your comment. I am not sure whether to be cheered or not by your tale. Key, I think is whether you really mean ‘regretting’ his time in the restaurant or ‘missing’ it. People tell me that I have created something majical here, Its just that I am still struggling to make that magic pay.

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