Running a small business is difficult. I watched Annie , Margo and the rest of the crew create a successful restaurant and I learned a few things.
Connect. I don’t mean ‘make connections’ in the business glad-hand way, but truly connect. Talk to the people in the neighborhood. Tell them what you are thinking , what you want to do , what issues you are facing and how you want to deal with them.
At one point, the Vine took reservations. But this was actually blocking business. The restaurant could be almost empty, but they couldn’t seat anyone – because reservations were headed in. Annie talked to a lot of people before she stopped taking reservations and the transition went smoothly
Let people help. in the case of the Vine – painting , tables , etc wouldn’t be there without help. And it is another way to connect , of course. A little community ownership never hurts.
Be open, frank. I know a bunch about the financing of restaurants now. I know why Salmon is a big feature on the menu. I can tell you all about the restaurant advantages to kegged wine. Annie’s openness about the business side of things, made it really easy to be frank in return.
Love it. No matter what you do – some days are just drudgery. Yes, Annie loves food. but she also loves the restaurant. There has always been pride and pleasure in her voice when she talks about The Vine.