The restaurant business is dynamic. If you don’t change with the times, you are left behind. You have to change the menu first and foremost, but also the décor. People expect it even if they love your food. I have learned this the hard way. Now that I am retired, I look back and think about various things I could have done in a different manner. I would have altered the color of the walls inside and adapted the tablecloths to match. It says you are up to date and trendy. That’s what the world wants now. No tradition is sacred. The best restaurants are going from opulent décor to ultra-modern. They could have been in business for one hundred years. If you don’t move ahead, you will have to close your doors.
Another memory I have looking back has to do with leaving a favorite sign behind. It stood in front for years and was part of the restaurant’s identity. I suppose I would have changed it sooner or later, but it would be a wonderful memento of the past. Old signs are hugely popular. People put them in their rec rooms, basement man caves, and even outside. It is a new kind of old décor. As for this special sign, I have to live with my regrets. I have to cover them with other wonderful memories of customers gone by and food eaten with relish.
A few weeks ago, an amazing thing happened. A friend brought me a replica of that old sign. He did it himself with his hobby welder, a smaller less intense version of the professionals use – you can see more of them at https://www.ratemywelder.com/best-welder-for-beginners-and-hobby-welders/. I was very touched and made him go over every detail of his effort. He photographed the sign which was still in place and bought the necessary metal materials. The sign was durable and not made of cardboard or wood as one might expect. I had spent a lot of money on a proper metal form of advertisement with the paint application of paint. It was then covered in a protective finish. It now has some deterioration after all these years and you can see some peeling spots and other forms of weathering.
The new sign was beautiful with the same clear letters against a white background. They speak to me as before. It has rejuvenated my spirit. But there is more. On the back side of the rather large sign, there is another with the word “retired.” I can flip it over and see the thoughtfulness of my dear friend. A tear came to my eye. I invited him to come over for a beer and see where I can hung his excellent handiwork. I found a good spot on the wall of the back porch just above eye level, almost to the eave.
We sat and drank and chatted about old times when food was king in my life. I have not lost my lust for the good life. That would be too sad.