Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I don’t want to limit myself to the five minute timer…but I don’t know how much I’m going to be able to write before I pass out.

Scandi went great. Better than expected, and infinitely more. We showed a 23% increase over last year. $21,250 and change vs $17, 333 last year. I suppose that doesn’t mean much to anyone who hasn’t been intimately involved with a business that lives and dies by the numbers…but those are good numbers. I am proud. I am happy, and I am tired. But, I went into the whole thing tired. So this is nothing new. And, though it’s nearly midnight, I had to log in here to report my success. To…whomever. Anybody out there who might care. I’m sure there are one or two of you who do….J

And…today, I cast an exhausted yet somewhat renewed eye back upon the café, and made a few "executive decisions." Let me preface this by reporting that, while we were having a beyond excellent weekend at the Scandinavian Festival, the café was struggling through another weekend of spotty, anemic business. I don’t really want to speculate about the reasons for the café’s recent tailspin. But I did have one "a-ha moment" over the weekend: I decided that if I was going to fail, I wanted to fail with my own concept, and not someone else’s. So, all of Mr. Previous Owner’s warnings about not changing anything lest I alienate the (meager) regular customer base are going into the circular file.

I’m going to make this café mine. From the menu to the crew to the décor…it’s going to be the restaurant I’ve always envisioned. That way, if I fail, I will know it was MY concept that was crap. I’m not really interested in finding out if I can make someone else’s idea of a restaurant successful. Is this risky? Damned straight. Anytime you invest that much of yourself into something…anytime you put your heart and soul into a dream, it’s going to hurt all that much more if you fall flat on your face Nothing good ever comes without taking some kind of risk. I’m older now…wiser. I’ve soared through success, I’ve wallowed through loss. Enough to know that, whatever happens, I’ll survive. And to know that victory is all that much sweeter when yourisk everything to achieve it.

So I hired four people today. Did this weird, mass-interview thing. I’m sure the four of them had never quite been in this kind of interview before. I’m not sure I knew what the hell I was doing, suffering as I am from extreme stress and sleep-deprivation. But if I know nothing else, I know it’s time to re-invent the place, starting today. Bring in people who will see me as the boss. Who don’t know about our landlord-cum-former-owner. Who will look to me for inspiration, direction, and discipline. Lucky members of the old crew will observe and learn. Unlucky ones will be out pounding the pavement for another job within a matter of weeks, if not sooner.

I told my husband, I’m trusting the Universe to send me what I need. So far, It has been remarkably cooperative. Day by day, I discover little things, little blessings, that I don’t deserve and don’t expect, raining down on me…just to remind me that there is a higher power that might possibly care, might possibly want to allow me to succeed… I need that success; I so need that affirmation right now. And Someone knows that…

My internet connection has been extremely wonky this evening. In fact, I see that I’m going to have to go mess around with it before I’ll be able to post this entry. But, I just wanted to give anyone who cares a little update on what’s going on with me. Please continue to float positive energy my way. I can use it more than you can possibly know.


  1. Very impressive. Makes the whole year, almost, doesn't it? Now if only the cafe... shut my mouth!

    Sincere apologies for not offering more vociferous encouragement of late -- I've had my head up my arse dealing with other problems in my life and was unwilling or incapable of seeing the forest for the toilet paper, to mix messy metaphors (ewww). By all means, make the cafe your own. If you have staff who see you as a coworker rather than the boss -- fire them today, or as soon as you can find their replacements. Don't put up with that poisonous crap a minute longer than you have to.

    Pick an even handful of excellent dishes for each service (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and let the others go. Become more seasonal -- use what is plentiful. Change up the menu with the seasons -- light and airy in the heat of summer, comfort foods as the rainy season settles in, stick-to-the-ribs hearty fare for winter, salads and the like for spring break and actual spring ... Or whatever floats your boat. Just avoid the pitfall of too many items requiring too many expensive ingredients when you haven't the traffic to justify the expense of throwing out all the wastage due to lack of traffic. Five entrees cooked really well beat ten mediocre dishes any day of the week. Great sandwiches, an excellent daily soup, fresh breads and personal attention beats trying too hard to be upscale for lunch.

    Anyway, I am envious of you striking out once again, despite your previous experiences. I no longer have the confidence to do it, so I'm jealous. Sort of...

  2. Hooray!!! For all your recent successes! Seems like good hard work is paying off.

  3. Hmmm.... this is BETTER than your Ten Good Things, weekly.  Honest.  I am happy to here that Scandia was good.  And it's nice to hear you say you are taking control of your business.

    Yippee!  Rock on!

  4. Sounds like a good plan to me.  Positive energy coming your way!

  5. Lisa, you sound like you were MADE to be an entrepreneur.  I hope you keep this writing -- it will make a fabulous how-to book on business ownsership someday.  I think you have made an incredible and beautifully articulated transistion to the idea of seeing the business as wholly your own.  


  6. Congratulations on your weekend success!!

    I can't imagine that following your instincts and making the place YOUR  isn't the way to go.  You have so much passion for what you are doing, and I know that will be reflected in the changes you make.  People are drawn to places that feel positive and fresh.  Make the cafe YOURS!!!!


  7. So glad you had a successful stint at Scandi.  As to your decision to make your new place Your Place, this makes perfect sense to me.  What took you so long to arrive at this decision?  You will make a success of your cafe; I'm sure of it.  (And thank you for your comments and concern regarding my own current problem.  Any and all support is much appreciated these days.)

  8. WOOHOO!  YEEHAH! (I had to throw in a rebel yell!)  That's roughly a 16% increase over last year.  That's wonderful!  And for the restaurant, you are absolutely dead on track about doing things your way.  You didn't make this investment of money, time, energy and love for someone else's vision.  You've chosen to have the courage to follow your own heart, but let yourself get intimidated by other people's well wishes.  Be true to yourself, trust in yourself and your skills and believe that God/dess, the Universe, the Great, loving Unknowable is on your side!  Go for it!  As tired as you sound, you also sound so strong, and I am tremendously proud of you.

  9. Congrats on the successful weekend Lisa!! I am super happy for you!
    As for making your restaurant your own, Good for you!! We are looking into taking on that venture ourselves. It is scary but so exciting at the same time.
    Good luck girl, you deserve it!!
    Michelle :)

  10. I don't think I have commented before.  Sounds like a great idea to "make the place yours" in every way.  Perhaps the previous owner was a cautious sort and was encouraging the same for you.  I think you and your employees can be excited to come to work when there is the positive energy the changes can make.  Maybe excited is a little strong on the employee part, but you get my drift.  Amber

  11. Congratulations on Scandie. I'm looking forward to coming up and seeing what your'e building up there. Sounds like exciting.