Sunday, 22 January 2012

In which the widow answers The Question

Over on The State of the Nation UK, Stephen has started a new series called "The Question". Each month he will invite fellow bloggers to answer a question and submit links via his blog. They - and anyone else, of course - can then read the varying interpretations of, and answers to, the question posed.

This month, the question is:

"What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?"

Once upon a time I had a dream. Like many dreams, it started with "If money were no object..." or "If I won the lottery...". It was also a shared dream which a friend and I had many conversations about. That dream was to run a restaurant.

The restaurant business is notoriously difficult with a high failure rate. The hours are long and work is hard. Getting it right relies on providing both the right product and the right service. It can be difficult to get it right and much too easy to get it wrong. It's a world - along with hotels and pubs - which attracts vanity investment and an "how hard can it be? attitude."

Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares (the UK business-orientated version of the 2000's as opposed to the more recent US version which is a completely different beast) and Raymond Blanc's The Restaurant illustrated many of the pitfalls which the would-be restaurateur can fall into. The later also provide an object lesson in the joint importance of the back and front of house operations. Good food counts for little with bad service and no-one wants fast service if their duck is still raw on the plate...

So I'm under no illusions that running a successful restaurant wouldn't be easy. Even if failure weren't an option, success would still take a lot of hard work. And there is a difference. It's one thing not to fail but I'd want to be achieve more than that - a reputation, good reviews, referrals, repeat business. Recommendations, awards, additional branches, a cook school, Michelin stars...

For now, it remains a (pipe) dream. Money remains very much an object, the lottery win has not been forthcoming. And my friend and I have still not settled our argument about who would be in the kitchen and who would be front of house...


Now, click here read the other entries.


Raybeard said...

That's a very level-headed assessment, Andrew. It also shows a side of you (unlike my own answer) which, if you've mentioned before in your blogs, it hadn't registered, at least with me.
You'd better settle the argument with your friend quickly in case Camelot suddenly smiles on you (Yes, I know. Chance would be a fine thing!) - otherwise I can see it'll be the mother of all tiffs, and we don't want to see that!

Stephen Chapman said...

Now that's an interesting answer. I had no idea!

What type of restaurant would it be? (Apart from a highly successful one).

oneexwidow said...

It'd be what I call "Modern British" - e.g. Fine Dining, local and national produce, classically done. :-)