I've been running my own place now for 18 months. It's a small upmarket country fare place in a rural setting which will be extended within the next 12 months to double its current capacity. There's an attractive beer garden, a bit of a magnet in the tourist season. Our main business is tourists and other (seminar centre) visitors who do come year round, but the main season is May to October.
Our overheads are comparably low, I'm the only kitchen staff although the service girls do help me with the dishes etc. It has never been my intention to chef for the rest of my life. With this concept-type restaurant I had kind of planned to set things up till established and then look for a chef to eventually replace me.
We are far from established, just scraped by in the first year, now suffering a bit from being at the end of the off season, but on the whole things aren't looking too bad, and tourist numbers have been on the increase in this town for some time now, with no end of this development in sight.
Suddenly, an unforeseen opportunity arises: I could possibly employ a really capable young guy, currently underselling himself as a prep cook at an understaffed Michelin-starred joint, where he is being worked to death. He's ready to leave and looking for new opportunities, would work for the same money in my place, knowing there'll be far fewer hours, more creativity and responsibility as well as a much nicer boss ;-)
Truth be told, we can't really afford phasing me out right now, but it's set me off thinking. I really hadn't envisaged taking someone on to replace me at this point and never really thought about a new role for me. In a small restaurant such as mine, what role could there be for the owner who is no longer the chef at the same time? Of course there is the paperwork, supporting the new chef during busy times, "customer liaisons", and so on, all things I have been doing all along. But how could I use my newly found time in order to increase turnover so that I can afford the new chef in the first place?
I know, this is called entrepreneurship, but usually one grows into a new role and has time to prepare for new activities. Yet I have only this minute started thinking about it and am a bit stumped. I don't even know if it's realistic to look into this possibility. But maybe I have to think bigger quicker.
I'd really appreciate your unbiased input.