I’ve set four objectives for our restaurant in 2010. I am a firm believer in the “aim at nothing; hit it every time” school of thought. I am not educated or experienced in the finer points of business management, but I am convinced of the fact that a simple plan can be as effective, if not more so, than a long, detailed one. I post these as an exercise in clarity for my sake, but I hope you will enjoy seeing behind the scenes of what it takes to make a restaurant successful.

  1. To maintain an outstanding environment for conversation and reflection

An online poll by a local marketing firm posted last year showed that we have achieved this mark. Over 80% of the respondents said they like coming to our place for conversation. Food and interaction go hand in hand. The majority of people who eat at our place do so with someone else. But eating alone is nothing to be ashamed of. We have many regulars who come in with their book, journal, or just a full mind needing a place to untangle the thoughts, and a little food and a glass of wine assists in the process.

Decisions we’ve made recently were run through this filter. We added a small, hot breakfast menu to provide another reason for people to utilize our spot in the mornings for a meeting, mentoring session or a quiet place to start the day. We are trying to boost awareness of Wine After 9, an evening wine and dessert feature available after our dinner service. Where do you go after the movie, the play or when you’re just not ready for the date to end, and you don’t want caffeine and you don’t want the noise of the college bars? We want to be top on your list of choices.

This year we are also contemplating adding a Happy Hour with food that reflects our value for simplicity. Our biggest question now is finding out if there is a market for it? Do people in Lincoln want more out of their Happy Hour than cheap bar food and penny pitchers of beer? Some have said to build it and they will come, but I need a little more info first.

The reason we put conversation before food is because people still go out to eat and meet to chat at places that serve food of marginal quality. Ours is not to try and change the culture first, but to flow with our culture and provide a superior product, one that may garner attention and lead to an epiphany that there is a better way to eat.

Keep us in mind. We feed your need for conversation, all day long.

Objective #1 for 2010