I spent my early years as a restaurant owner looking for any other job that was better because I was working 18 hours a day 6 days a week and barely staying afloat. I was dealing with bounced checks, not sure I would make payroll that would hit the bank in a few days, paying cash for deliveries when my food distributor wouldn’t deliver without payment on past due invoices, turn off notices from utilities, credit cards maxed and behind on rent. My solution was starting a credit card advance on future sales to keep the restaurant open and paying it back with a percentage of daily remittances then using all the mental gymnastics that “I’m almost making a profit” or “it’s getting better” and generally being a slave to my business. It was depressing! Worse, I was ashamed around my friends and relatives who knew the truth, many who had supported me in so many ways and I was unable to pay them back.
My constant worry and struggle meant I needed to increase sales dramatically or I would go broke and disappear like so many other independent restaurants in my area. Out of desperation, I tried virtually every type of advertising that you could think of.
I listened to all the advertising sales reps, ran the ads that they promised would bring us tons of new customers. I spent the little money I was able to scrape together on marketing while my restaurant was going up in smoke. Time and money were running out –FAST!
While I had been able to rise above numerous previous setbacks (new restaurants opening on all sides of me, problems with my staff, a neverending list of financial issues that all boiled down to NOT ENOUGH CASH) I felt…