Im not sure if writing about this topic will be easy or hard, fun or depressing but either way I’m going to write about it because my Restaurant Family deserves something heartfelt.
After 16 years, I am leaving my family’s restaurant.
Those of you who have read my new book may already know some of the ins and outs of my long term relationship with my family’s Italian restaurant. How I have longed to be apart of the insanity since I was six years old. How I have gawked at the servers and busboys, dreaming of one day being a part of the team. How becoming part of that team and more importantly, part of that family has been the happiest, most significant series of events in my life.
In my book, I wrote about surviving this industry. I gave advice on dealing with rowdy customers and tips on how to stay sane during 60 hour weeks.
It felt great to finally write it all out. To give other “restaurant people” some type of guidebook that I hope they enjoyed.
Some of you may be confused as to why am leaving, especially after speaking so highly of my staff and this restaurant and about how much I love my home here. But that is exactly my reason.
I have grown to love this place and these people, my people, so much that I began to use that as my reason to stay. I have so many passions and so many areas of my life that I want to explore and trying to explore them while putting my energy into my family’s business is not fair to me, my interests or the restaurant. I have realized over the past year that it is going to be damn near impossible to branch out and travel into other areas of my life while I am so safe and comfortable here in this business. So, I made the hardest decision in my 26 years of life, to leave what I thought was my forever and venture into uncertainty.
I am terrified. While it may just seem like a young person leaving one job for another job, let me tell you, it is so much more than that.
I have struggled with feeling like I do not know anything besides this job for so long. I have literally written out reasons why I should stay to convince myself it is financially, the smart thing to do. I have made pros and cons lists, I have cried to my staff (on more than one occasion) and I have “just stayed one more month” for quite some time.
I have two weeks left managing this restaurant and I feel 400 different ways about it. But more than anything, I feel the need to tell my staff, my Boot Family, how grateful I am for them.
To My Restaurant Family,
I know you guys will be fine without me (and if not, I am here to take some serving shifts $$) but I can’t help feeling like I will not be fine without you. I know that I have so many new things in front of me, and this is the right thing for me right now, but I am sad.
I just want you all to know how much you have changed my life just by being a part of it. I will never have closer friends than you. Co-workers is a term I don’t even like to use anymore. You have become my family and will always be my best friends (whether you like it or not).
I have had the best and the worst days of my life in front of you all and would not want it any other way. To my Wayne staff, you guys got me through the most stressful times of my life and I am so so so grateful for you all. To my LH staff, that place will FOREVER be my home as I know it is for all of you and that makes me feel so secure even moving into a new part of my life.
My intention, going into managing these restaurants, was to be able to separate being a boss from being a friend. I have realized after so much time that I did not need to separate these roles, I needed to be both simultaneously
I hope you all know that I am only a phone call away and will ALWAYS be here for all of you. Thank you for making every memory I have in the restaurant a beautiful one. I love you guys so much.
To my Dad,
Without getting too emotional in public, I just wanted to say thank you.
You are undeniably the most capable, loving, generous man I have ever known and I do not know how I got so lucky to not only be your daughter, but your business partner for so long now. I have learned so much from this restaurant and through this industry that I would have never known if it was not for you. I know that me leaving was never the plan for either of us, but you have made me feel confident in every choice that I have made. I could not have asked for a better boss, mentor or father in a million years. Cheers to having some weekends off together in the near future, I love you.