We entered the six month mark at Meatzilla! a week ago. I got mildly twisted at Wendell last night and ended up all in my feelings. Damn, dude…where did half a year go?
With any start up business, particularly a restaurant, you grind from day one. Menu development, permits, labor, press…a cornucopia of moving parts that don’t stop no matter how exhausted or unprepared you are. By the time you have a chance to look up and breathe six months has flown by and you start asking yourself “what the hell am I doing this for?”
No days off, 14+ hour work days, lack of sleep, texts from employees saying they are too high to come to work, text from employees saying they are too sober to come to work, mercury is in retrograde, calls from friends asking where the hell you been, customers who fuck up your day, oil spills on your new shoes, it never ends. By the time the month wraps up you’re just crunching some numbers and keeping expenses as tight as possible in hopes you can hit over 20% profit and still have enough left over to buy a six pack and a fade from Fantastic Sams. Straight doo doo.
This industry is such a commitment and like anything else, you got to really enjoy it or at least a large enough part of it to see the logic in continueing on. Chatting with Colby last night (bar manager at Wendell, cool dude go say hi) and he was complaining about the lack of reliable, intellegent, self sufficient employees in this industry that you can trust and rely on to handle shit when you need it the most. Agreed. You can’t clone yourself (Elon Musk where you at on this one?) so what’s a boss suppose to do?
Colby is a fresh daddy with a month old and a working wife. Posterchild for the modern day family man. Now on top of dad life he gets to come in every day for the next few weeks because the crew gets too twisted to work or decides to not show up. But really, what other choice is there? Gotta cut out the parasites and keep the beast moving before it devours you. If no one else is gonna hold it down, guess papa is gonna have to plant two feet and do it himself.
At the end of all the frustration though, we just got to laugh, take our shots and plow on. Its what we do. The life we chose isn’t for pencil sharpeners and TI-84 enthusiasts but it sure as hell beats a desk job. Charles Schwab may give you benefits and PTO but I never met the guy and he sounds like an asshole.
I will say it is extemely important when you find good staff though to treat them with the respect and recognition they deserve. I’ll buy burritos, cook food, slide beers and give any day off requested to the employees who hold shit down because that’s all you have. It takes a huge village to run a restaurant and without the rockstar crew you are nothing. Just a smart ass with a few ideas, a flat top grill and your dick in your hand. Piss on it.
To round out this post and not sound completely negative, here some of the highlights of the past six months I deemed worthy of mentioning and good for a laugh…
- Papa’s the only one you have ever seen rocking a bleached blonde cockatoo mohawk with a Korean biz partner on cable tv showing middle aged white women how to put a pizza on their burger. Peep the link… http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/home-and-family/videos/meatzza-burger-home-family
- Got my burgers on Eater LA’s hottest 12 list without having to smooth talk Farley Elliot and the gang or pay for that shit like I’m sure some did (seriously, Umami? You died in 2013). Fleischman hit the kid up for comment.
- Was labeled a child molester by some random woman because I refused to pour her a bottle of water.
- Had to drag a woman out of our bathroom for trying to shoot up on the toilet.
- Almost witnessed Johnny (my biz partner) get punched out by some dudes daughter after he called her dad an asshole for starting drama over our choice of music.
A solid 6 months thus far i would say. I’m tired as hell and quasi broke but it’s always satisfying when you build something for yourself. A lot of exciting stuff coming up in the next 6 so keep your specs peeled. If you happen to read this and live in LA come cruise by and say hi. Free fries or tots on me.