Are you the owner?


During my years as a server, I’ve been asked this question dozens of times so forgive me if I stumble over my answer these days.  After decades of saying “No,” my new affirmative answer still feels a little odd coming out of my mouth.  But, I’m getting used to it.

It’s an interesting thing, owning a restaurant after working in so many throughout the years.  The other night I apologized to a guest for not having tea available.  He quickly said “Oh, it’s not your fault,” to which I replied “Um, yes, it kind of is.” It’s my choice to not venture at this time down the expanded hot beverage route due to space and time constraints in an 11 table restaurant, but I am sorry.

The follow-up question, nine times out of ten, to “Are you the owner?” is “Are you Lily?” Well, yes, sort of…in all honesty, I’m not even a little offended when people use my last name as my first name.  I understand – I suck at remembering names, and I really don’t care if anyone calls me Lily instead of Silvia.  It’s all good.

Sometimes I think that buying a restaurant has provided me with two more bathrooms to clean and three more “children” to supervise.  Regarding the latter, I’m not suggesting that my front of the house staff is immature or requires parenting, it’s more that I observe their interactions and individual personalities and sometimes find myself steering them in the direction where I want our service to be.  Service is so very important to me and I’ve learned from the best that treating guests with considerate attention is the foundation for success in the hospitality industry. That is what I want to do in the restaurant of which, yes, I am the owner.

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