Six Random Restaurateur Do's and Don'ts

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Flickr user abbyworld
Count up the multiple violations

As food bloggers, we necessarily judge restaurants by their outward appearances, though we were raised not to judge, yes? Justified or not, our personal biases inform our choices as diners, or else we'd eat wide-eyed, like Candide, in every crap restaurant that would subject us to its horrors. Frankly, we need to discriminate (perhaps unfairly) and trust the gut-check.

With that preface, here's six do's and don'ts for restaurateurs who may not be aware of the image they're projecting.


1. Don't Call Yourself an "Eatery"

pepzresized.jpg
ProfessorSalt.com

I know there's only so many words in the English language to concisely describe your restaurant's bill of fare. But calling it an eatery is unimaginative and lazy, and it tells the public nothing about your kitchen's focus, the style of decor, or the approximate cost of the bill. In American English alone, we have words like pub, cafeteria, coffee shop, diner, automat, and steak house, never mind all the foreign words we've absorbed into English. "Bistro," "trattoria," and "cantina," just to name three, all communicate specific and meaningful contexts to your business.

Eatery? You may as well hang a sign outside that says "Food." "Trough" is more descriptive of the food you'll get than "eatery."

2. The Smaller The Menu, The Better The Food.

ngubinhmenuresized.jpg
ProfessorSalt.com
Just 18 dishes on the menu that all kick ass.
I'm not sure when the idea took hold that cramming more items onto a menu made a restaurant more appealing. Some of the most memorable food I've ever eaten was served at a highway rest stop in Mexico City. The abuelita patted out raw masa, filled them with cheese, meat, and vegetables, sealed them into a half-moon pocket and deep-fried the most amazing quesadillas. She was a one-trick chingona standing in a parking lot over a discada filled with hot oil, and I still think of her food over thirty years later.

My advice? Run a restaurant with a tight menu and make a narrow specialty to the best of your ability. Any place that makes pizza, burgers, fried chicken, and sandwiches probably doesn't do any of them exceptionally well.



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12 comments
JB
JB

And I couldn't agree more about the graphic's implicit suggestion that Knowlwood is *not* the world's best hamburger.  Far, far from it...and the service I had at the Fullerton outpost about a year ago was pretty bad, too.  Maybe Knowlwood was good years ago. 

JB
JB

LOL @ "our hilltop, 'Mining Company' restaurants"

Brian Zalewski
Brian Zalewski

Shu, I know there's an exception to every rule, but that better not be a picture of the sign in front of Chen's Chinese Food in Long Beach!  If so, I'm gonna beat you with a won ton, as I haven't found better chinese food for the price anywhere!

Guest
Guest

Also, please check your seemingly sounding-French vocabulary: restaurant owners in French are called "Restaurateurs" with no extra "n". Ah, and "bistrot" spells with a final "t" in French. Otherwise it's the original Russian, which is fine but doesn't make your French place very Gallic.

Shuji Sakai
Shuji Sakai

I've been once. That was enough. There's too many other places that make a great burger that I don't need to revisit someone else's fond memories of it from its golden days.

909Jeff
909Jeff

I thought so.... Knowlwoods was my favorite back in the 80s 

Shuji Sakai
Shuji Sakai

 At least I know what I'm avoiding if you run a cupcakery, and I'm not left wondering.

Shuji Sakai
Shuji Sakai

 Not Chen's, I'm safe from your wonton beat down.

DanGarion
DanGarion

Well the sign he included looks like it predates the 80's so it gets grandfathered in as acceptable.

Mr. Rosewater
Mr. Rosewater

 How is the "n" extra if there's only one? Please check your English.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

They are called restaurateurs, and that's been corrected, but your other point is not valid: either bistro or bistrot is acceptable French. C'est le Petit Robert qui vous le dit, pas moi.

Also, the Russian word for "quickly" (быстро) would normally be Romanized as bystro, though that looks affected.

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