The many trials and tribulations of the restaurant owner

by Marylise Fabro

Running a restaurant is not for the faints of the heart. Everyday brings new challenges and situations you never thought possible. Let's explore a few.

Running a restaurant can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be a source of constant challenges. From the humorous to the headache-inducing, here are some of the challenges that make restaurant owners’ heads spin on a daily basis:

Dealing with Yelp reviews

You can cook the most delicious food in the world, but there will always be someone on Yelp complaining that the forks weren't shiny enough. Don’t let these people steal valuable energy from you.

Trying to keep up with trends

One week, everyone is crazy about avocado toast, and the next week it's all about the rainbow bagel. Keeping up with the latest food trends can feel like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. You don’t have to be a trend-hopper. Decide what will appeal to your clientele and will work with your restaurant’s overarching concept.

Managing staff drama

It's like running a high school, but with knives and fire. Employees can be the lifeblood of a restaurant, but they can also be the source of endless headaches. Try to catch the dramas early, before they escalate into full-on Degrassi High episode caliber.

Keeping up with health and safety regulations

Just when you think you've got everything under control, the health inspector shows up and points out a million things you never even knew were a problem. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by a long to-do list. Work your way through the punch list one by one at a steady pace. Progress is progress.

Dealing with weird customer requests

"Can I get the spaghetti carbonara, but without the spaghetti or the carbonara sauce?" Sure, why not. We'll just bring you a plate of air. As long as the bill gets paid when you’re done, right?

Trying to please everyone

It's impossible to make everyone happy, no matter how hard you try. Some people just can't be pleased, and that's okay. There is only so much you can – and should – do to accommodate an individual guest’s long list of complaints and wishes. As long as you keep a sense of humor about it, you'll be fine.

Juggling finances

Trying to make ends meet as a small business owner can be a constant struggle. It's a balancing act between investing in the business and making sure you can pay the bills. Prioritize the investments that will increase revenue and pay for the next investment.

Despite all the challenges, running a restaurant can be incredibly rewarding. The satisfaction of seeing happy customers enjoying a meal you've prepared is priceless. Just remember to take a deep breath and have a sense of humor about it all. And on those heavy, soul-crushing days