The reality of owning a restaurant now

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It’s been 4 months since I opened restaurant GL50. It went like a dream to be honest, I managed to find an incredible team who all got the concept and straight away we started producing food of a very high standard. We even had the official Michelin Twitter account post a picture of our chocolate torte and malted cabbage ice cream! I’ve never been more shocked, proud and amazed by a tweet in my life. To be acknowledged by Michelin and to have made enough of an impression for them to mention us was an incredible feeling. It was in the second week of us opening too!! If your reading this and you’re not a chef and you don’t really get what the big deal is , I shall explain.
To be in the Michelin guide in any way is quite a big deal because it’s only by merit, by that I mean you can’t choose to be in it, you can’t pay to be in it and you don’t know when you are cooking for a Michelin inspector.
What made this visit from an inspector unbelievable to me was we had been open 2 weeks and somehow by chance made it onto the Michelin radar. I was hoping we could be getting a visit in 6 months or a year! Needless to say, it gave me a kick up the arse to make sure from week 3 the food stepped up and I’m grateful for it. It took a lot of energy and effort to get the restaurant open. Let alone serving food, and getting the lights working and staffing it. When we opened, I think it felt like now I can slow down and learn how to be a restaurateur then start getting the food better and better. That photo of my food from my restaurant on Michelin’s socials made me realise there is no time for that! The time is now to push the food AND learn how to run a restaurant!

We had started to get some amazing regular customers and starting to carve a little gap In to the busy restaurant scene in Cheltenham….the we got told by the government to close. FUCK

Pretty heart breaking, felt like the last four months would be lost, forgotten about and our little restaurant would be reset. Certainly, the first few weeks I was quite miserable about it all. Obviously money was a massive concern, the cost of starting again paying for more PR and advertising. Now I think I’m over that or just not concentrating on it so much.
I’ve taken comfort in others in the same situation. Everyone who owns a restaurant or cafe ect is in this together. We all have slightly different issues from site to site but no one could have been ready for this and weather you have been open a month or 10 years I’ve realised that’s everyone is in the shit.
A lot of small businesses owners in Cheltenham have got together and created a group and a forum where we have been sharing lots of good stuff and supporting each other. This has made a massive difference to my mental attitude and I’m very grateful to of been made to feel so welcome to a scene I have only been a part of for a short time. This friendship between restaurateurs and solidarity in our industry is stronger than ever at the moment and I hope it lasts long after this has passed. We shall see but I think lots of good things will come from this which will probably change the world hopefully for the better in the long run.
What have I been doing?? A bored chef is a terrible thing! I’ve been drinking too much as have most chefs i know. I’ve been spending some amazing time with my son and wife which most chefs never get to do. I’ve been trying to make sourdough like the rest of the world, apparently. Never seen so many people making bread as well as my dad who never cooks! As much as i love that people are making bread, i’m a bit over all the questions and lots of photos of bread I’m being sent every day.
I have been cooking of course, but when I cook at home I tend to use everything and every pan which means the kitchen is trashed ALL THE TIME! I wish I had a kp. Stated to post cooking videos online (restaurant GL50 facebook page if your I interested) which have had a great response and have made me feel like our little restaurant isn’t forgotten.
Yesterday I receive a lovely email from a regular customer just to ask how I am and how much they are looking forward to coming to eat at GL50 when they are allowed. I nearly cried. I needed that, I will re open the restaurant, no matter if I need to borrow and take every bit of money the government will give me. We created something that people loved, it will work, it was working and we will welcome our guests again soon!!

6 thoughts on “The reality of owning a restaurant now

  1. Just wishing you best wishes for a really speedy to return business and prosperity
    Looking forward to dining with you.

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    1. Yes we just sent out a survey to our mailing list this weekend to see if that’s something people might want. More complicated than it sounds to set up and I dont want it to end up costing more than being closed. I’ve been writing down some possible “dishes I could make and sell today.

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  2. Good blog. We’re big fans and had already become regulars by the time you had to close. Looking forward to returning as soon as you reopen.

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