Six Random Restaurateur Do's and Don'ts
As food bloggers, we necessarily judge restaurants by their outward appearances, though we were raised not to judge, yes? Justified or not, our personal biases inform our choices as diners, or else we'd eat wide-eyed, like Candide, in every crap restaurant that would subject us to its horrors. Frankly, we need to discriminate (perhaps unfairly) and trust the gut-check.
With that preface, here's six do's and don'ts for restaurateurs who may not be aware of the image they're projecting.
1. Don't Call Yourself an "Eatery"
I know there's only so many words in the English language to concisely describe your restaurant's bill of fare. But calling it an eatery is unimaginative and lazy, and it tells the public nothing about your kitchen's focus, the style of decor, or the approximate cost of the bill. In American English alone, we have words like pub, cafeteria, coffee shop, diner, automat, and steak house, never mind all the foreign words we've absorbed into English. "Bistro," "trattoria," and "cantina," just to name three, all communicate specific and meaningful contexts to your business.
Eatery? You may as well hang a sign outside that says "Food." "Trough" is more descriptive of the food you'll get than "eatery."
2. The Smaller The Menu, The Better The Food.
Just 18 dishes on the menu that all kick ass.
I'm not sure when the idea took hold that cramming more items onto a menu made a restaurant more appealing. Some of the most memorable food I've ever eaten was served at a highway rest stop in Mexico City. The abuelita patted out raw masa, filled them with cheese, meat, and vegetables, sealed them into a half-moon pocket and deep-fried the most amazing quesadillas. She was a one-trick chingona standing in a parking lot over a discada filled with hot oil, and I still think of her food over thirty years later.
My advice? Run a restaurant with a tight menu and make a narrow specialty to the best of your ability. Any place that makes pizza, burgers, fried chicken, and sandwiches probably doesn't do any of them exceptionally well.
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