[thechat] My baby is one year old!

Joel D Canfield joel at spinhead.com
Thu Nov 25 13:16:11 CST 2004

> My restaurant, Shiok, actually turns one year old on 12 
> December. It's an 

woohoo! many felicitations. no mean feat.

> unbelievable feeling. In fact, it doesn't feel like a year at all. It 
> doesn't seem that long ago that I decided to chuck a 7+ year 
> career in IT 
> to follow a lifelong passion and set up a restaurant.

most encouraging to those of us considering the same change. well, not
to a restaurant; probably real estate for me, but frankly, I'd like any
career where I can work with people, and where I'm not automatically
expected to work more hours for less pay every year that passes.

> The first 6 months was a tough struggle as I tried to 
> establish my niche in 
> this city after being taken to the cleaners by my incompetent 
> architects. 
> (60% over budget and two months behind schedule wiped out my 
> marketing budget.)

starting from zero is tough enough with a restaurant; starting below
zero makes your accomplishment even more impressive. I'll bet it's the
food. If it tastes like it looks, I imagine it's heavenly.

> The only thing that kept us afloat was our reputation for the food we 
> served, which got us a small group of loyal evangelising 
> customers. They 
> spread the word when we had no money to spend on any serious 
> advertising. 
> We clawed our way back into an operational break-even stage 
> and we're still 
> standing, thankfully.

It *was* the food! I knew it. Word of mouth brings the best prospects,
and a good restaurant will *always* have faithful adherents.

> I just wanted to share that with you folks because I told 
> thechat about my 
> plans before I broke it to many of my other friends and 
> family members.
> I'm planning a special event to celebrate, so I'd appreciate any 
> suggestions for what we should do to make it special.

The photos you've shared of the restaurant and the dishes make it look
like the kind of place Sue and I would make a favorite haven. Warm, cozy
even, with a definite eastern look that really appeals to us both.

I'm a fanatic about presentation; when we have hot dogs on occasion,
they *look* great. Your dishes are beautifully presented, which just
adds to the ambience.

Here's something I've seen before that was really fun, and kept me
coming back: a little book of coupons or whatever, each good for some
discount or freebie, but each good during a specific month of the
upcoming year. Maybe have each one good for a choice between to wildly
different dishes, just to give everyone a choice.

It builds anticipation, planning for each month's visit - and who
doesn't like to pay less for something they love? And if it's only
available during your week-long '1st Anniversary' party, it'll create a
kind of 'secret club' feeling for the special few who have it. Perhaps
even make them advance tickets for a special event each month, and use
those to reveal new dishes or something. Really emphasize the special
event/secret club aspect, and people will feel that urge to take
advantage of something that won't be repeated.


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