Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sarah Morgan, owner of Martinis Bistro, located in Longmont, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We sell an experience. We connect our guests with amazing food, artfully created cocktails, and mindfully selected wine and beer, all made with passionately grown ingredients. Our staff is comprised of F&B professionals. Our operating company is called Service, whose focus is to support industry professionals offering PTO, Health Care plans, continuing education reimbursement, and a work/life balance that honors the individual. Our goal is to make the restaurant life an acceptable career deserving of professional respect. Each of our employees are passionate about an aspect of F&B, and we support their interest and curiosity in those passions knowing that they will share that experience with our guests. The sharing of passions is the experience we sell.
Tell us about yourself
I got my first restaurant job when I was 13, bussing tables, washing dishes, and making salads. I have bounced in and out of the restaurant industry my entire life as I pursued more "professional career" choices and other life passions. When my husband and I decided to start a family, I chose to stay in the restaurant industry instead of heading to vet school because of the work/life balance I was seeking with motherhood. I left a restaurant I loved after my daughter was born because my husband had lost his job. We needed medical benefits and more financial security with a new baby at home. I then got a job in franchising that I traveled more and more each year with and was taking me away from my baby more and more. I longed to be back on the restaurant frontline.
I wanted to be working at night and having my days to do what I really loved. Finally, my world shifted, and I was offered a General Management position for Martinis Bistro. I was so happy to be back where I belonged.
I was refining the restaurant team, reviving the business, and having the time I yearned for with my family. In 2020, I was able to buy the business and really implement the changes the business and staff needed for its success and survival. My personal experience in the industry is what drove me to build my business differently. My incredible staff and their success continue to motivate me to do and grow more. Business ownership is 100% stewardship of people's lives, and I take that very seriously.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My OpenTable review rating. When I bought the business, our rating was 3.8. We currently are at 4.7. It's hard to get your rating to improve like that with OpenTable. Also, the almost 40% growth the business has seen since 2019.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Guilt and expectations. No matter what I do, I will never meet everyone's expectations. The guilt that comes from that I great for self-evaluating purposes, but it doesn't make the load much lighter. I'm a people pleaser by nature, so I can struggle with self-advocating. I have to learn a little more every day about not trying to be everything to everyone. My daily goal is to be honest and consistent. The rest will take care of its self.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- The thing that should absolutely scare the sh*t of you is being responsible for other people. If it doesn't, don't move forward. The people you employ deserve to have you worry about their livelihood.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. Hire the people whose strengths are your weaknesses and be vulnerable enough to learn from them and then step away and let them do their work. You need to do what you do well and hire the team you can trust to do the same.
- Make sure that your concept in a specific location fits the demographic and traffic of the area.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I love what I do. I'm so thankful for all of the bad employers that motivated me to want to do it better and for all of the kind and wise people I have in my life that encouraged me to do so.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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