Retirement… Not

Posted by David Bowles on Wednesday, January 27, 2016

hindsightLast autumn we were short on staff at Bethany’s Table. It was a tough time. We lunged and stumbled for two months trying futilely to hire a cook and a server. What might it had been like if we were trying to staff a new restaurant with 35 fresh employees? Toward the end of our attempt to open The Table I would often find myself talking to customers about it, telling them I felt like I was pushing a large boulder up a hill while my angle was on the uphill side, pushing back. My angel was right. For this and other reasons I am so glad that we came up short… 

simple_giftsSo I continued with my tableside storytelling after the fact. In doing so I made a serious mistake: I should have made sure that Janet was out of earshot. In one story I would report on the lesson learned, which was, “Come down where you are.” We had an imagination for opening a few restaurants in the next four or five years; building a business that we could sell and possibly then move on toward Janet’s fantasy of opening a restaurant in Southern France, perhaps Monaco. More realistically, I was simply hoping to make enough money that I could afford to get old. Once that option was off the table (so to speak) I realized that my concern about funding retirement was ill founded. After all, Janet is eleven years younger than me, extremely talented and works like a dog. Then I’d say – and here is my mistake, as Janet overheard – I’m just going to ride that mule ‘til she drops! That didn’t go over so well, but we survived it. It was when Janet overheard me telling some guests that I was semi-retired that the pressure really mounted.

As you may recall, we underestimated the budget to open The Table. Then, when we started to work on expanding Bethany’s Table into the yogurt shop next door, which grumpy old manwould give us the room necessary to build a full bar and space for group dining and special events, I decided it was best to drill down on the cost estimate while sober. The realistic budget added up to quite a bit more than the number I had been bandying about. Déjà vu. We do have a source of funds but the payback period is only two years. This fact loops back to my declarative statement about retirement. Janet is making me get a job. Is anybody out there looking for a somewhat forgetful, bossy old guy? I’d be willing to make a two-year commitment!

Categories: Restaurant News

3 Responses to “Retirement… NotComment RSS feed

  • Bob Stahl
    February 5th, 2016 11:40 pm
    #1

    If I hadn’t sold my company a few years ago I would hire you. Not sure why, but the lunches would have been good. Five martinis was about the corporate max. But over a couple hours…will be back in soon. Been visiting Maui for the last couple months…you will like the tan lines..

    Aloha

  • sam galbreath
    February 2nd, 2016 10:04 am
    #2

    Oh David, as fast as your mouth runs its truly remarkable that you get caught in your less than ideal choice of words so seldom. Or, more likely, that Janet’s blessed patience and embrace of who you are simply chooses her responses tactfully. You two could not be paired more ideally. Reading your occasional missives on the Table are a delight. And, I know the process of producing them are the same for you.

  • Lauretta Young
    February 2nd, 2016 7:29 am
    #3

    Dear David ( and Janet)
    I know that you are writing to be humorous AND I also know that being the best partners to each other is truly a hard task. As you know I was a practicing psychiatrist for many years and I used the Five Love Languages a lot with couples. Those are great tools. Being partners who hold each other up is also great… financially, emotionally, psychologically and even at times with physical work… good for you two to keep at finding what works for you both… warmly and in great compassion, Lauretta

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