It is extremely important to me that the opening of my new restaurant starts out on the right foot and have a smooth start. I am going to be completely honest, we had a rough opening at Wally Joe Restaurant in 2002. The front of house management team was inexperienced to say the least and overwhelmed most nights. Because we started out of the gate at "warp speed", I was not able to keep as close an eye on things as I should have. My focus was on the food. Developing a great menu and training the large staff of cooks to execute my food was more or less a priority. There were a million other things that demanded my attention though. My brother Don assembled the wine list and helped train the front of house staff, but his time was limited to 1-2 days a week. That left all the other housekeeping details to me.
As our mothers taught us, first impressions are important. Whether you are interviewing for that first job or meeting a girlfriend/boyfriend's parents for the first time, you have one shot to impress. The same goes for any retail business. First impressions are lasting impressions. From the first greeting at the door through the server's attention during the meal to the last goodnight, the guest should always feel welcome. It will be my duty to insure that happens. My host/hostesses will be friendly and cheerful. My servers will be properly trained to know their menus, proper service details, and most important, to be warm, hospitable, and accomodating to our guests. Most chefs and managers do not realize that no matter how good the food is, if our guests are not treated well, that is the lasting impression.
Another lesson I learned from my parents at a young age is that no will care about a business more than the owner. That means if I want something to be done right, I will have to do it myself.