Whether it’s dealing with difficult customers or worrying about cashflow, running a restaurant is about much more than putting good food on the table for paying customers. But the hard work, long hours and stiff competition haven’t deterred this plucky foodie couples from pursuing their own dreams.
Twins Jess and Laura Tilli run the Brown & Green café at Gipsy Hill station in south London. ‘Having to wake up at 5.25am every morning to be open by 6am is a low point, but seeing our hand-painted wooden sign go up over the café showed we were really doing what we’d dreamt of,’ says Laura.
Husband and wife duo Andres and Marie-Lou Alemany bought and refurbished rundown country pub the Purefoy Arms in Preston Candover, Hampshire, in 2009. Since then, it’s been awarded a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin guide. Says Marie-Lou, ‘We almost never get a weekend away together, but ultimately, the long hours have been worth it. We’re doing what we’ve always wanted to in terms of the food and drink we serve.’
Twelve years ago, Richard and Lucy Golding gave up their office jobs to run a B&B in Wales, before moving to the Market Bistro in King’s Lynn in 2009.With Richard in the kitchen, Lucy combines running front-of-house with looking after their three children. Says Lucy, ‘When I was pregnant with our second child, I served breakfast in the morning and had my son in the afternoon!’
Plus, William Drew, editor of Restaurant Magazine, gives prospective restaurateurs his top tips on what to remember – and what to avoid.
Says Helena Lang: ‘Every foodie I meet – and in my job I meet many – always has a secret fantasy of cooking and getting paid for it. This revealing feature exposes the reality of what it’s really like when it’s not your friends or family at the table, but paying guests. It’s a reality check that every restaurateur-to-be should read.’