Thursday, January 11, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Tom says:
Looks like the Manchester Daily Express link was only good for a day and the site doesn't archive past issues. I'll have Maureen post an excerpt from the interview over the weekend.

My fever finally broke last night. I'll spare you the details, but suffice to say that when I woke up this morning I felt more like myself than I had in about a week. It was hard, having lost an entire day, not to take it to full throttle. The desire was there, but my rational mind won out: there was no way I'd make up for lost time, so I focused only on the things in front of me.

Those things included a key decision: logo. Swanson Advertising delivered our color comps today along with quotes for stationery, menu templates and print ads. What amazed both Maureen and me was that we'd only given Swanson a verbal on colors and the comps they delivered so closely matched the interior paint palette that only a trained eye could see the difference--and we'd only finalized the paint palette the day before (Swanson hadn't seen it).

Nailing down the logo is key, right, because it carries across various media and applications: stationery, signage, advertising, Web and uniforms. We hope to add it to the blog's banner soon.

Something I'm learning right now is how to stay on message and what all the various ways of staying on message are. It's not just being able to rattle off your pitch when someone asks you what kind of restaurant you're opening or what food you'll serve. It extends to so much more than I was aware of (yes, Maureen, you were right).

Seriously Fun Food is the Big Concept and it encompasses each and every part of the experience our customers will have. Seems I've got the serious part down--everything I'm drawn to visually tends toward the elegant and refined. From my initial reactions to logo samples to the first-draft of my small wares list and various things in between, my inherent aesthetic is off message. Which isn't to say I don't like the choices that are on message, they're just not where my eye goes immediately.

Fortunately, I'm working with a great team that's teaching me how to re-train my eye and/or to trust their eyes and be done with the decision. We're past concept now. We're ordering product. Checks are being cut. And if we're off message, we're making mistakes. Mistakes that could be costly.

I was reading through the blog posts tonight and laughed when I read what Maureen had written the other day about all the factors that go into selecting a plate. Why? Because when we got the quote back from the supply house today, probably my favorite selection of the bunch costed out at 15% of the overall small wares budget ($28 per) and I'd had it mind for a single starter. Needless to say, as cool as a presentation as it would have been, it won't be on our order list.

The good news is that the small wares quote came in significantly less than what I'd originally budgeted for. Even better news when you throw in that the quote for seating construction was higher than I anticipated. I can only hope this trend of lower than + higher than = on budget continues.

And I keep looking at the calendar, wondering when the permitting process will be completed so we can start work and add a countdown to the Grand Opening to the blog sidebar. I left a message for the buildings department today. The electrician? Ready to go. Painters? They're ready and able to start next week. Me? I was ready yesterday. Or ten years ago. Take your pick.

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