Closing a restaurant means staring directly at your reflection and seeing a quitter staring back at you
A few months ago the staff of the restaurant I was working at were all told of an all-hands meeting. Nobody thought it strange as it had been over six months since the last meeting and that one had resulted in an entire reworking of the menu. So it was time.
I started getting giddy when the corporate Chef showed up, and then one of the owners showed up. Something was afoot. So we all walked down to the conference room of the building, and the boss immediately dropped the bomb on us.
The restaurant was to close down when the lease was up, a month and a half from that day.
It did come as a bit of a surprise to most of the staff—myself included. Our numbers weren’t the best but we were breaking even, or so I thought. We had a fair number of regulars, and people regularly raved about the quality of the food.
It meant a number of things but first and foremost it meant a fair number of employees would have to seek out new employment in the slowest season of the year.
But here’s the thing. This is closing down a restaurant from an employee’s point of view. I did not have to worry about emptying out the space, or closing down accounts with suppliers and purveyors, or worrying about those last paychecks. It is a very different experience since as an employee you… get to just walk away worrying only about that last paycheck.
It still smarts. There are always more restaurants to work at but it is a special thing when you have a good crew working together.
Maybe someday it will happen again.