May 31st, 2016 by ~

What are we learning?

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No business plan survives its first customer.

This is important business advice, regardless the business or industry in which you start your company.  You study. You research. You plan. You execute. And then…

You adapt.

I would guess there are those that got it right on the first attempt, but I would also guess that most successful businesses have had to adjust and tweak their original plan.  The assumptions made on paper didn’t match the needs and demands of the market.

Does this miscalculation imply failure?  Only if the entrepreneur fails to change.

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Six months in at The Piedmont Bistro, … more »

May 31st, 2016 by ~

What are we learning?

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I’ve noticed a trend lately, most obviously in my local Barnes and Noble, but also in my home.  It’s the practice of adult coloring.  If you aren’t familiar, it’s not the same as adding the prefix “adult” to beverages and bookstores.  Adult coloring is an activity that is typically associated with children, but is now being taken up by adults everywhere.  The concept is simple. Take a page with an outline of a picture, grab a handful of pens, crayons or markers and go to town.

Why this sudden trend?  I think it’s pretty clear. Let me explain my thought.… more »

May 31st, 2016 by ~

What are we learning?

So how does it feel now that you’re open?

Its a familiar question asked, to which I answer some, “you got a few minutes to listen?”

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As any entrepreneur can attest, there are certain moments in the creative process that very few people get the opportunity to experience.  We are creators, and creators must create, which sounds redundant and obvious, but redundancy is a necessary part of the job.  We have to remind ourselves over and over and over again why we do what we do.  We carry the dream daily, sometimes to the point of exhaustion.  But no one … more »

May 31st, 2016 by ~

What are we learning?

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Of all the tasks on the pre-opening timeline, the most challenging is assembling our team.  Finding great people and connecting them with a job that they find fulfilling and rewarding is central to our hiring philosophy.  That’s why our first consideration of a potential employee is not experience.  Having previous industry experience is defintely always welcome, but some of our best employees would have been overlooked because they had never worked in a restaurant before.  Instead, we look for attributes that transcend teachable skills.  We can teach the mechanics of food and drink; we just can’t teach a person the … more »

May 31st, 2016 by ~

What are we learning?

How was your summer?

It’s a benign question that easily comes up in conversation now that school has started back, as routines change and schedules are readjusted.  Memories of travel, or summer sports activities or family gatherings come to mind. We remember fondly times that were fleeting and yet satisfying, like the burst of an aerial firework display on the 4th of July; beautiful, then gone in an instant.

Mine was what I call The Downbeat.

One beat of one measure, one moment in time I hope I never forget.

In June, my daughter surprised me with a trip … more »

May 31st, 2016 by ~

What are we learning?

Ten years ago today, my dad passed away. I lost a father, but most importantly, I lost a man that believed in me, was deeply proud of me and made me believe I could accomplish whatever my mind set out to create.  These are the words I read at his funeral, and I re-post them as a tribute to the man that made me who I am today. I hope they inspire you as they have me these many years after his departure.

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Dad in uniform

It took a while, as it does for most youth, to realize that the vistas of … more »

May 31st, 2016 by ~

What are we learning?

 

In nearly eight years of being open, I’ve never heard the story go like this…

“Yeah, I was hungry and I wandered into your place and ate, got fully and left. Thanks!”

Instead, the story usually goes more like this…

“My son and I stop in your place before every home football game and get a cinnamon roll together.  We’ve been doing it for years and he moves off to college next year and we both say how we will miss that tradition.”

Or,

“My wife and I had our first date at your place four years ago and

more »
May 31st, 2016 by ~

What are we learning?

Why get back on the horse?

Now that the announcement has been made, I can freely talk about our new restaurant project, The Piedmont Bistro, slated to open this fall in the Piedmont Shopping Center at the intersection of Cotner and A Streets.  It’s been a long time in the works, but patience has paid off and we are excited about moving it to completion in the following months.

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The most critical question we had to answer as we evaluated the decision was, why do it?  Why take the risk again?  Why go through all the labor and stress … more »

May 31st, 2016 by ~

What are we learning?

About 9 years ago friends of mine encouraged me to start a web log, which we now refer to as blogging.    It was a growing trend at the time, but I didn’t start writing in order to be in fashion.  I did it so it would help me remember.

It can be painful to go back and read what you wrote years ago, not because your writing may have improved over the years, but because your thoughts, ideas and opinions have most likely morphed along the way.  This is why I will never get a tattoo.  I don’t want a … more »

May 31st, 2016 by ~

What are we learning?

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Years ago, a mentor said to me, “Shinn, you seem to possess a natural sense of vision.” As a college freshman of 18 years of age, I had no idea what he was talking about.  Having poor eyesight all my life, I thought maybe he was trying to help me feel better about my Coke bottle glasses, of which I was always very self-conscious.

He went on to explain to me his meaning of vision wasn’t so much about trusting in a set of physical eyes, but instead as the ability to imagine the better future, and a willingness to … more »