2 min read

From Language Lover to Restaurant Maven - Umberto Gibin

Stay focused and on course with your concept. Don't be everything to everyone.
From Language Lover to Restaurant Maven - Umberto Gibin

Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Umberto Gibin, Co-Owner of Perbacco Ristorante + bar and barbacco eno trattoria, located in San Francisco, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I own two restaurants in San Francisco Financial District. Perbacco is the more formal one, and it focuses on serving food inspired by the Piemonte region in Northern Italy. barbacco is smaller, more rustic, simpler, and of course, less expensive. My customers at lunchtime are the executives that work in the area. At dinner time Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 60% are business travelers, and 40% are local business people and locals that live in San Francisco and Bay Area.

Tell us about yourself

I had no idea that I would end up in the restaurant business. After high school, I had to choose what I wanted to do next. I know I was not very studious. I knew I liked foreign languages and to travel. One of my teachers suggested a hotel and restaurant school. I took her suggestion and took Hotel Management. My first job was as Commis de Rang at the luxurious Schloss Hotel outside Frankfurt, Germany. I loved the elegance of white glove service and table-side service. Although I needed to graduate in Hotel Management, I chose to continue my career in the hospitality industry by mastering restaurant management instead. I ended up working in some of the best hotels and restaurants in Europe until I came to the United States in late 1978. I love this business. I love mentoring young managers and servers. I love making people (guests) happy.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

When I opened Perbacco in 2006, it was the pinnacle of my career. The restaurant received numerous local and national accolades. I was a semifinalist at the prestigious James Beard Awards.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Currently, is staying alive. Business is up and down. The financial district was a great place to be until the pandemic. Offices are at 40% occupancy. It is hard to be profitable with high labor and ingredients costs.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Know what you want to achieve.
  2. Stay focused and on course with your concept. Don't be everything to everyone.
  3. Never lower your standards.

Where can people find you and your business?

Perbacco Ristorante + Bar
Website: https://www.perbaccosf.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/perbaccosf
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/perbaccosf/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/perbaccosf

barbacco eno trattoria
Website: https://www.barbaccosf.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barbaccosf
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/barbaccosf/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/barbaccosf

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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