Imagine that you are a chef.
You earned your culinary degree.
Spent a decade apprenticing, mentoring well-established chefs,
Learning great intricacies of your craft.
You know the process.
Sourcing your ingredients –
You know the complementary pairing of the courses, sides, beverages.
Timing, temperature, color, texture, and flavors all abound.
You don’t cook.
You forge your own restaurant.
Designing every detail of your kitchen,
Measurements down to fractions of an inch,
Housing the equipment – your tools –
To create your artistry.
You arrange the dining room in a particular balance
Of space and construct,
Where elements of the lighting, tables, flatware, dishes, chairs, and decor throughout the room
All compliment one another –
Wait staff and chefs,
Holding intentionality, care, and consideration for detail and your customers’ experience.
You have created an atmosphere –
From the reservation,
Walking through the doors,
The meal –
Is all seamless,
Flowing contours of a dance.
You don’t provide a meal.
You gift an experience.
Because you love the craft.
All of it.
The entirety of the whole restaurant experience people want to have.
The canvas that is your restaurant experience,
The paints, brushes, techniques.
And you want to transform dinner into an experience.
Not only do you create this moment for patrons –
You have space for other chefs to come and learn how you do it.
You have space for patrons to also learn how you do it so they can do it themselves.
Some want the experience.
And you give it to them.
Some want more.
And you give that to them.
And then you open your eyes to the rest of the industry.
You see that most other restaurants contract with various reservation conduits,
Where those companies charge customers monthly premiums
In order for those companies to reimburse you for the service you provide.
In order to eat at your restaurant,
Customers can’t just show up because it’s
The natural time to eat,
Keeping in synchronicity with balanced health –
Customers are required to wait until they are starved,
Physically ill, and suffering from lack of nutrients and sustenance
Before they can finally dine in.
Some of those companies require you to receive permission in order to
Paperwork completed ahead of time,
A customer’s opportunity to dine with you.
Customers are restricted to when they can eat,
As the are provided a window of time before they are no longer allowed to dine.
How often a customer can actually dine with you also has its limits,
As does what percentage of a meal you can serve them.
And that paperwork approval could take weeks.
Meanwhile, patrons have to wait at home, unable to eat until the paperwork is completed.
The prices on your menu are dictated to you,
Regardless of what market value dictates.
Your three-course arrangement and bottle of wine
Is priced out the same as the drive-thru combo meal.
A meal is a meal, according to those reservation conduits.
The value of your career, built off of mentorship, study, practice, and dedication
Is reduced to no more than
That which sits in a warmer, wrapped in paper, and tossed through a car window.
You would think to yourself,
“It would be much easier to
Squeeze out the compassion,
From my work,
And find some paper wrappers and a side of fries.”
© Dr Adam Fujita