Today is the last day of our fall holidays. Strictly speaking, this means that it is the last day of vacation for all of my other employees, myself not included. As a self-employed restaurant owner, I need to look over our inventory, repairs that need to be done, orders, etc. at least 2 days before we actually open again. Menus have to be created and written, technicians have to be ordered for the broken equipment, the answering machine wants to be listened to and answered after a week’s vacation, not to mention email correspondence, bills, and general mail. It doesn’t help that I had to have 2 teeth pulled this morning.
The German word for self-employed is “selbstständig”, which is the union of the words, “selbst,” as in the self, alone, by itself, and the word, “ständig,” as in always, constantly. So, in German, when you say self-employed, you are basically saying always on-call and forever self-reliant. And this is so true! So, when the doctor asked me this morning if I needed to be written off sick, I just smiled and said, “No, thank you,” thinking of all the work that was awaiting my attention at the restaurant.
My thoughts are always somehow on the restaurant. Even during my week of vacation, after my family and I got over a Corona infection and recharged our batteries briefly, my thoughts quickly turned again to future business and errands.
You can never really switch off the needs of the restaurant! We are actually facing a fresh start at the restaurant. My deputy head chef is leaving the company in the third week of October. He worked for us for over 4 years and helped me remodel the restaurant and set up the kitchen. Another cook is leaving with him – I may tell you this very special story in another month’s entry. We also parted ways with our first host this year. By the end of the month, all the original crew members will have left and been replaced. But, we welcome these circumstances and see in these developments and opportunities for change and improvement.
However, it all still creates a lot of dust and work.
Ultimately, I am responsible for all processes, decisions, and transactions at my restaurant – sometimes more, sometimes less. When managers leave us, of course there is more work for me. On the other hand, this opens the door for upcoming employees, and there is enormous potential to awaken undiscovered talents and to develop the restaurant even further.
Whether facing a small or a substantial new beginning, we have always managed. We mastered Corona lockdowns, survived a kitchen fire and the lengthy renovations that followed, and many other new beginnings, and will manage again this time. We are coming out of 2 very exhausting pandemic years, in which we were plagued by many worries, and we are sliding into the next crisis, with no time to even take a deep breath. It is therefore once again a new beginning without a chance to rest up beforehand. I am not really in good spirits, but I do still have strength and an unconditional sense of perseverance and determination!
In this first entry, I have written little about our culinary art, but have hopefully given you some insight into my unsteady, chaotic, and challenging everyday workplace.
Written by Sebastian Junge; Translation by H. Runte