Those who know me or read my blog regularly (not that I’m sure anyone does that!) will know that my husband is a restaurant manager. His dad owns Ciao Bella Restaurant (shameless plug!) in Leeds which he runs with him, five days a week, from 9:30am to close. In short, it basically means that I rarely see him but we both have got used to this and actually don’t mind it as it gives us both our independence. We joke that despite being together for eight years, we have probably only spent about three actually in each others company and, although it can be difficult at times, it does mean that we cherish the time we do get together as a family.
As his wife, there are a few things I experience often that, I assume, comes as part of being the other half of a restaurant manager so I thought I’d post a little list:
1) “I’d eat their all the time”
When people find out that our family own a restaurant, this is what the majority of people will say. You’d think so wouldn’t you? Delicious meals cooked for me and the kids, maybe a cold glass of prosecco (or diet coke in my case, I’m not a big drinker) but actually no. One and A, as someone who has sampled every diet going, if I ate at the restaurant all the time I would be the size of a house. My willpower is non-existent and I’d be eating garlic bread, deep fried brie and other delights weekly which is guaranteed to make my waistline expand. Two and B, I’d be eating all the profits as, obviously, my husband doesn’t let me pay when I eat there…not much point when I’d be using his wage to pay! Ha ha! And three and C, well the menu is extensive but I only like a handful of dishes (one being their AMAZING steak – see third point on eating profits) and I’d get bored of eating the same thing all the time.
Alternatively, I get asked if he brings food home and I can only count on one hand the times he has done this. The chef makes a lovely chicken broth soup which he brought home a couple of times and he also brought me a garlic pizza bread home when I was poorly. The best thing he brought home was left over white chocolate mousse which i took into work to share with my friend. That stuff is heavenly!
One thing Ciao Bella is awesome for is the regular customers that visit week after week and month after month. It’d a good community and those that visit have usually been before. In all honesty, my husband probably sees/speaks to them for than he does me! I am not in the restaurant that much (see point 1) but every time I do go in there is someone who knows who I am and usually things about me because my husband talks about me and the kids. This is very sweet but also awkward as it’s rare I know who they are! The hubs talks for hours at work so the chances of him sharing information at home is slim. It’s a running joke that I usually find things out from overhearing him tell someone else! Luckily, some of the regulars have become friends which is really lovely and they are still very loyal to CB.
3) Unsociable hours
As I mentioned at the start of this post, my husband leaves the house at 9:30/10am every morning Tuesday to Saturday and doesn’t return home before 10:30pm…the average is around 11/11:30pm but occasionally it can be 1am…usually when the aforementioned regulars are in drinking at the bar! Not everyone within this trade works these hours, some do split shifts, but my father in law isn’t a fan of this set up so it’s long days for the hubby. When we were in the earlier days of our relationship, he did try a job with more “normal” hours but he was deeply unhappy and even suffered with a bit of depression because of it. Yes, it means I do bedtime with two children on my own most nights and I don’t get that respite at 6pm when Daddy comes home from work like others do. It means that if it wasn’t for my Life Partner I would go to family occasions etc on my own but my husband is a sociable person, and loves to talk, so hosting/managing the restaurant is perfect for his personality. It makes him happy, so it makes me happy and honestly, we don’t really know anything else now.
4) Tip Etiquette
I can’t tell you the amount of times that there have been heated discussions of tipping between me and my husband, or my husband and someone we are out for a meal with. Hubs has strong opinions on tipping and I get it, I really do. He’s on the opposite end of those tips most days and, as a family, the tips add to our income and allow us to live the life we do. 10% is the minimum that my other half will tip, EVERY TIME we go out for a meal. My opinion, and it is just my opinion, is that tips have to be earned. They get paid therefore tips are for the extra…going above and beyond. If they literally just do their job then they get paid for that. Eeeek, am I going to get hunted down by lots of waiters and waitresses now? Like I said, it’s just my opinion and because of my husband, I usually don’t get an option on tipping because he will make sure that 10% is down.
5) “Ooooh he must be a good cook then!”
Most people assume that because my husband works in a restaurant, he must be a good cook. Well he’s a manager, not a chef, so he doesn’t do any of the cooking of the dishes available. His main role is to take orders, sort bills, serve food and mainly talk! Saying that, he’s not a bad cook. Usually I cook anything that just involved throwing loads of things in a pan – bolognese, chilli, curry etc. My husband does anything that is more technical or requires timing, he does a mean Sunday dinner! Even if i was an amazing chef, I wouldn’t get much time to enjoy it due to Point 3!
So there you go, an insight into life with a family restaurant business. Like i said earlier, we don’t know any different and I can’t imagine it any other way. Our son loves going to “Daddy’s work”, he eats an adult portion of lasagne then charms the waitresses into giving him ice cream before “helping” Daddy cleaning tables, taking orders and even serving the food. The customers seem to really like it and even tip him occasionally! It adds to the small, family run feel of Ciao Bella when Grandad, Dad and Son are all there together. Little L might not be so keen when he’s pot washing in the kitchen when he’s a teenager! Ha ha!
I have teamed up with my father in law to create a little competition for my readers. To be in with the chance of winning a FREE BOTTLE OF HOUSE WINE at Ciao Bella Restaurant, simply ‘like and share’ this post on the Educating Roversi Facebook Page. The competition will close on my husbands birthday – 9th March 2018 at 8pm. The winner will be drawn at random from one of those online name picker thingy-me-jiggers!
Do you have a family business? Are you or your other half in the restaurant trade? Can you identify with this post? I’d love to hear others experiences. Comment below or find me on Facebook,Instagram or Twitter!
And don’t forget the competition, who doesn’t like free wine!