Here We Grow Again!Thursday, November 14
Here we grow again! After what has felt like an exhausting several months of building, we are in the final days of preparation on our newest location, The Parlour Italian Kitchen & Bar. The truth is, though, that the hard work has only begun. Anyone who has built a restaurant, or a business of any sort, from nothing knows the long days and often sleepless nights that comes with it. It starts with a vision, an idea, an opportunity to fill a need in your community. Once the idea has passed the stink test and we are certain it’s viable then it’s time to begin the development. It starts with the restaurant design, answering countless questions and researching endless other concepts and designs for inspiration.
Once the fabric for the booths, the colour of washroom tiles, and the pattern on the lampshades is sorted out, it’s time for me to make the most with the remaining kitchen space. Every detail has to be taken into consideration, the size of the space, how many seats, the style of cuisine how many inches of space between the cooking equipment and the plating area. If one thing is overlooked it can make for a costly and painful redesign down the road. The kitchen needs to be built for speed, efficiency and ease of use.
Then all of the finer details need to be sorted out. Which cutlery will we use? What set of plates suit the décor and concept best? What uniforms will the staff wear? What color tablecloths will we use, or will we even use any at all?
After all of the preparation, designing and building is done there is a brief moment, call it the eye of the storm, where we have a chance to reflect, to take stock of what we have accomplished and savor it. That moment is fleeting, because as exhausting and stressful as the process of opening a restaurant is, the real work begins when the doors swing open for the first time. That valuable point can be lost on so many entrepreneurs.
All of the work involved in creating and developing a new business is exciting and fun. The long hours and continuous stress don’t seem so bad because we are entrenched in the process of our vision coming to light. So many entrepreneurs figure the job will get easier once their business is open, but the hard truth is quite the opposite. Once the glow of your business wears off there is nothing left but the reality, the day to day grind of business. If you have built a business that your community is in need of or eagerly anticipates you will have no issues filling the seats once you finally open. Everyone will want to try you out at least once, test the water, see what your business is about, but nothing guarantees their return. It’s up to you to create a unique and memorable experience to keep them coming back. Having a good opening is no guarantee that your business will be successful in the long term either. As an owner you can never let off the pressure and never relent. There is no room for bad days as now, more than ever, people can be unrelenting. Blogs and social media sites can ruin your reputation before you even have a chance to react. Being an entrepreneur, and especially a restaurateur, is not for the faint of heart, or the light of pocket. Over 25% of independent restaurants close within their first year, and that stat jumps to nearly 60% by the end of year three.
So, in light of our newest Italian venture I share with you a simple recipe for a panzanella salad, a dish that is indicative of most Italian cuisine in its simplicity. This Tuscan salad, traditionally consisting of stale bread and onions is now more commonly made with tomatoes, but can also include an array of ingredients. I like to put it together using what I have available at hand, but this recipe is a good starting point. Add in a few of your favourite items to make it your own.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Feeds” 3-4 people
1 day old ciabatta bun
3-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes
2 balls of fresh mozzarella
¼ red onion
½ cup your favorite olives
4-5 leaves fresh basil
¼ cup balsamic vinaigrette
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop the bread into large chunks or cubes
Heat a pan to medium heat
Place the olive oil in the pan, followed by the bread, tossing on medium heat to lightly toast, 3-4 minutes
Chop the tomatoes into large wedges
Tear the mozzarella into smaller pieces
Cut the red onion into rings
Pit the olives
Tear the basil into pieces
Place the ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with vinaigrette, season and stir to combine
Place on a platter to serve