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How many people does it take to run a restaurant in 2022?

How many people does it take to make a schnitzel?

A decade ago, starting a great restaurant began with a great chef. When things worked out, people flocked to a place for well-put-together dishes, fine drinks, and an exquisite atmosphere. Genuine customers gave genuine compliments about genuine food and genuine service. Business thrived on word of mouth. Customers flooded the phone lines to make reservations and even lined up on the sidewalk.

Fast-forward to 2021. The first thing you’re asked when starting a restaurant these days is “What’s your story?” Along with your chef and cooks and front of house, you need a mixologist, marketing manager, branding person, a social media expert, photographer, web designer, a story about local farmers, and good Wi-Fi for the guests. You need advertising, and to engage with “influencers.” You need to create a space that will attract hits on Google Search and that has an interesting story combining fascinating characters delivering services that surpass their competitors. You need investors.

I collaborate every single day. I collaborate with guests to make sure they are doing well. Are they enjoying their meal, the music, the food? What can I do to make their day better? When asked, many consumers say that the things that catch their eye first and influence their decision to try a business are the business’s brand and logo and how accessible its web page is.

It takes a lot of people and collaborators for a restaurant to succeed these days. I asked myself recently how many people it takes to make and sell a good schnitzel in a 30-seat restaurant like Old Black Forest in Lunenburg, N.S. It still takes a good chef to make schnitzel, but it takes an entire team to prepare a perfectly cooked schnitzel combined with an experience that instills in the customer a desire to return. How large a team? The number I came up with was at least 32.

By Nathan Guggenheimer