“You’re so vain – I bet you think this restaurant is for you.”

“Dad, is that a 6 or an 8…?’, the young latina tells of her story to help her father balance his books at the family restaurant. “My father owns his own restaurant; and when all of the other similar restaurants in the area have already failed and closed, his remains open”. “It’s because he has good morals, people bring him lots of things such as gifts”, she continues. “He is a very proud man, making recipes from his family”. The young latina continues to tell her story about how she used to do accounting and now does her father’s books. She continues to explain that he makes notations on scraps of paper as he cooks to indicate what he sold or what amount he collected etc. “It’s hard to figure out what he wrote”. “is that a 6 or an 8…?, she tells again about asking him the question. “I don’t remember”, she tells of his reply. “My father plans to give me the restaurant once I can learn how to run it”.

Flash-backs of another failing restaurant from “Ramseys Kitchen Nightmares” ran through my head as the conversation continued. I explained to her that I’m a culinary student trying to learn all aspects of running different food and beverage businesses. It’s what my degree is directed toward.

I shouldn’t have to explain to the young lady that there is a very large percentage of restaurant failures…especially from those who lack the education on successfully running that particular type of business. A very high rate of failure…

She tells me more, “he makes just barely enough to pay his mortgage and go to the casino”. I assume that’s her father’s fun time. “I asked him to help me buy a house”, she continued. “He said we don’t have any money to buy you a house”.  I said “you must be very proud that he can sustain his business fo so many years”. “No”, she said, “he’s only been there a couple of years”. “So you do his books?”, I ask. “Yes, I have a business degree”, she replies. “But I don’t get all of the needed information”. she explained.

I talk with her and explain that I have a desire to learn what it takes to run a F&B business that has an awkward accounting system and no known profit margin, projected sales and anticipated revenues. “I would like to help you learn it as well”, I explained. “I don’t have any inclination other than to gain an experience of what a restaurant must be going through using these relaxed principles and be barely making ends meet”, I said. I also explained that we could possibly discover opportunities for improvement to his system and increase his profits. She said “Oh, no way…he’s a very proud man, he won’t even let me know of all the numbers…he says he gets confused”. I said to her, “OK…, I’m going to lunch”. I turned my back and walked away. She doesn’t appear to care about communicating with her father because they are all “too proud”.

I just think it’s funny…, and sad. I guess I should anticipate her never getting the restaurant because it’s probably not really even turning a profit. Her father could be afraid to tell her he’s failing. It’s a shame that it will  probably be closed in the near future, and she may never get her chance. She just immediately shut me down without even considering it for a second thought. Perhaps proud herself. Perhaps protective of her latin heritage. I don’t know. She honestly didn’t understand there is a difference between running a restaurant and running orther types of businesses. There are efficiencies that are unknown to other business individuals and she can’t even get in the door to observe them and account for them. Sad…

I think I would have embraced, or inquired further, the opportunity that  a person would have wanted to look at what we’re doing from an academic standpoint, and provide opportunities for improvement. At no cost??? I may not know it all, but, I’m willing to learn about it. Look at what I’m learning now…and I’m almost always learning. Sheesh *%)ing lazy people. And you’re the accountant???

Whatever…I have my thoughts!



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