Conventional wisdom proclaims that you should never go into business with your friends or your spouse.
Two strikes against us right off the bat.
So why did I believe Karen and I should go against prudence and embark on a venture so few couples attempt? It has to do with a common discussion she and I have had over the years.
We both have loved to entertain guests in our home over the years. Be it a nice dinner party, or a casual cookout, we would almost always run into the same conversation. As our guests arrived, I would be in the kitchen, making sure the food was well seasoned and ready to serve, and Karen would come in and encourage me to come out and be with our guests, worried that I would not make them feel welcome due to my absence. We both wanted our friends to have a great evening. I just so happen to do that through the food I set in front of them, while Karen’s default mode is to give you direct attention and service.
In the language of a restaurant, this is called front of the house and back of the house. The former comes more naturally to her, the latter to me. This is why I knew we should give this restaurant thing a go.
When we opened our doors to the public after two years of labor pains, Karen immediately loved it. We were in business and underway. There were no more concepts or ideas to talk through. There were actual customers walking through the doors. Finally! There were people to speak with, folks to serve and make feel welcome and at home. Her strengths could now go to work.
One beautiful thing about Karen is her desire to want you to be taken care of, more than just knowing your food was delivered promptly or that it tastes great. I wish I would have counted all the hand written notes we’ve received from customers over the two years we’ve been open. (When was the last time you send a card to a restaurant?) Each of them telling us thanks for the personal service they received, and for the woman named Karen who was so kind and helpful and gave suggestions of places we needed to see in
Karen brings an X-factor to our place that cannot be quantified or charted. Her personal touch leads you to feel something that you may not feel very many places, and certainly not in a public place like a restaurant. She is why bread&cup will never become a franchise. Methods, systems and recipes can be duplicated, but not human personality and soul.
There is only one bread&cup, because there is only one Karen Shinn.
Thanks, Karen, for taking the leap with me. The best is yet to be.