“When I wore a younger man’s clothes”

Piano Man” by Billy Joel

The energy level and obligation of time to run a restaurant require a commitment beyond the normal 9 to 5 business day. Lunch and dinner lead into late nights plus weekends and even holidays.

This demand intensifies if you are significantly relied on to make the business run smoothly, which is common during the first few years. Obviously, a good reliable staff can carry some of the load.

You gotta be there

But things can go south quickly if you’re not hands-on. For many independent restaurants, the owner’s personality and character help define the restaurant’s vibe. The need to be there becomes imperative.

As you get older, the same things you could do as a young adult become challenging. Ask any professional athlete. The restaurant business is physically demanding and although you may be smarter, that only goes so far.

It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage

But as Indiana Jones uttered in
Raiders of the Lost Ark,

It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.

Family play a part in this drama

Now add the family factor. If you have young children, your spouse or family in your absence have to pick up the slack. Missing out on children growing up can also affect you adversely in the long run.

Yet, many restaurateurs have their children involved in their operation. There are numerous benefits to this arrangement. Employee costs are kept in the family and trust is usually a given.

Your level of involvement in running a busy family restaurant will determine when/whether the torch is passed to the next generation. You hope that it’s still burning brightly.