MY FALL FROM GRACE

Being a business owner, and especially one of note as a restaurateur, has stature.

Even if the fall can be a short distance, it still hurts.


Standing out

Managing my business first-hand required me to be in the dining room and the bar every day. I was so engrossed in running my restaurant that I didn’t realize how I was centre stage. Greeting and serving hundreds of customers per day will do that. The restaurant/bar backdrop elevated this setting.


The Recovery Period

After losing my restaurant to bankruptcy, I needed to work. I could have landed a restaurant management job with my background and experience, but I didn’t want the responsibility or commitment.

I was already planning my next foray as a foodservice entrepreneur, so multiple bartending jobs provided me with enough revenue (plus tips) and the necessary flexibility.


The incident

I was bartending the day shift, one of three bartending jobs I had at the time, when a local radio celebrity asked the cocktail server, “Is that Greg Thompson behind the bar?” When the server mentioned it to me, I realized that the radio personality was taken aback that I was just a bartender now. That hit home.

He must have been a regular customer at my restaurant although I didn’t know him. His radio station was across the street from my restaurant, and his career in media prompted him to know who the local shakers and movers were. I suppose I was once one of them. He is now a popular TV weatherman and local celebrity himself.


Losing sight

I realized that I had fallen. I was so preoccupied with trying to stay afloat personally that I lost sight of the downward path I had experienced professionally.  Respect can be fleeting. Despite my more immediate concerns, this was still quite a humbling experience.

As noted in a tweet by former NFL player, Martellus Bennett, “It’s hard to become a nobody after you were a somebody.” I really didn’t care, though, as my focus was getting back on my financial feet and moving ahead.


Soft landing?

The notoriety is the icing of being a restaurateur, but I’ve always been focused on the cake. I refer to my post on my two favourite analogies.

My fall was cushioned by a strong family and great support. I was bruised, but not beaten. Entrepreneurs must accept that there may be setbacks and how they respond is the key to recovery.