Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chris van der Linden, owner of Old School Eatery located at Revelstoke, BC, Canada.
Tell us all about your business...
Old School Eatery is a full-service restaurant, offering brunch & dinner daily. We offer unique dishes that are inspired by flavors from all over the world. While we provide a lot of classic items, you might have seen 20 or 30yrs ago, and we are also constantly changing our menu to keep up to date and fresh. We always shoot for outside the box and try not to offer dishes other restaurants have, and if we do, we will always put our unique spin on it! Our clientele is very diverse and represents all ages and demographics. Revelstoke is unique in the fact, and we don't only get a good cross-section of Canadians, we get a wide variety of international visitors representing almost every economic background from ski bum to billionaire. Revelstoke doesn't only have a world-class ski resort that brings attention globally; 80% of the world's heliskiing is also based out of the area. So, we can have families sitting next to pro athletes and some of the world's most influential people on the other.
What's your background and motivation to grow as a solopreneur?
I started off doing dishes at 13yrs old, which is now 40yrs ago... I think at 13 is when I started to work on my current business. My whole life has been a labor of love, and like any relationship, there have been ups and downs. I come from a hospitality family and have been running around restaurants since I was a baby. What brings me to work now is much different than when I started. Before, it was about the fun, the party, and the money. What motivates me now is sharing my knowledge, teaching, or the ability to mentor someone. I have always enjoyed being the party host, making people happy or part of a special occasion, and giving people memories that could last a lifetime.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Surviving the first year and all the things that go with COVID. The mere fact we are still standing and more vital than ever after everything we have gone through, I know this business is a success!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a solopreneur?
One of the hardest things being a business owner is people, especially in hospitality. The people working in the industry comprise the most diverse group of people in any profession. They come from every walk of life, industry, school, and you name it. There are many career hospitality people, but many more are just using it as a stepping stone, or a means to an end, so everyone has a story. Then there are the customers who come in for a multitude of reasons which can affect the interaction you have with them. Birthdays, weddings, funerals, we see people at their best and their worst.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Location is everything; know your demographics and expect to work harder than you have at any point in your life!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Being your boss is not easy, and there will be times you wonder why you did it, but at the end of the day, it can be very fulfilling and satisfying. What I get from it is a sense of satisfaction that I did it. Yes, I had help from my team, but my hard work and sacrifice have given not only myself but 20+ people a living.
Where can people find you?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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