I have been in the food and beverage industry pretty consistently since 1985 when I got my first job as a dishwasher at Sirloin Stockade in Victoria, Texas. Since then, I have always had at least one foot in the restaurant industry. Full time to part-time, I have never been far from an apron. For the last year, I have been working with a business partner to help me navigate my next adventure. Against my better judgement, I have decided to take the leap from a bitchy waiter to a bitchy restaurant owner.
It’s crazy and huge and exciting and scary because here in New York, I think the success rate for new restaurants is like1% or something. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a restaurant open and close within a year, so there is no guarantee that I won’t be like almost every other restaurant and end up broke, rejected and bitter. Then again, that’s pretty much where I am now, so whatever, right?
A lot of people assume that I will open a restaurant called “Bitchy Waiters” and staff the place with servers who are smart asses to the customers, but let’s be honest: only tourists want to go to a place like that and it’s a novelty that will wear off quickly. In the real world, diners want good service and good food which is why I have teamed up with an amazing chef who has trained with Anne Burrell from Food Network. Her name is Mildred Pierce and she is awesome. She will handle the food and the back of house while I will handle the bar and the front of house. (Don’t worry, I get some input on the food which is why there will be deep-fried-panko-crusted mac and cheese balls served with a sour cream dipping sauce.) Mildred and I both agree that the restaurant will be a very casual place to eat and to work in because that is the style that suits us both.
That being said, I have decided on a name for the restaurant which I will tell you at the end of this blog post. BW’s is too much like Buffalo Wild Wings and just having the word “bitchy” in it won’t be good for business. I hate to admit that, but it’s true. Coming up with a name was the hardest thing because it had to be something easy to remember but something I could get the URL for my website, but when I came up with the name, I knew it was right. It gave me chills and you are going to love it!
I have also come up with a few rules for the restaurant:
- We will always stand up for our staff because we know they are the most important thing in any business. If you have a happy and supported staff, everything else will fall into place and you will end up with happy customers too.
- The shift meals will be delicious and not leftover crap that is about to go bad that gets sautéed and covered in a sauce.
- Every shift will end with one shift drink.
- No pooling of tips.
- I don’t care if you have tattoos or piercings or pink hair as long as you know how to treat a customer right.
- Two weeks paid vacation for anyone who has worked there for a year. The pay will be the state minimum wage. Not a lot of money, but better than nothing, right?
- Sick days! And I will personally cover shifts if I have to do, because serving is never going to leave me. And any tips I make that night will go into a pot that will be divided amongst whoever is working the floor that night. Owners do not get tips!
We don’t have an opening date yet, but I hope to be open for business by August or September. If you are ever in Queens and want to visit, I hope you will! I will let you all know when I start hiring because I think it would be awesome to hire some of you who have been supporting me for so many years. Click here to submit for an early application.