What is in this article?:
- Forward-facing attitude works for veteran restaurant owner
- Follow your passion
Mistakes? She’s made a few. But stumbles and adversity have made Marilyn Schlossbach stronger.
Marilyn Schlossbach and Wil Brawley on the boardwalk in front of one of Marilyn’s restaurants, Langosta Lounge, in Asbury Park, NJ.
Follow your passion
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Every business is different. Everybody’s passion is different. My passion comes from my travels, my environment, my surfing, my community activism. Those are my things, so I try to run a sustainable business. I try to be very conscious about my community and what it needs. But that’s me. Trying to be me when that’s not what you are like is going to be your biggest hurdle, because you’re always going to be trying to make yourself something that you’re not passionate about.
We work way too hard in this business to be trying to do things that we don’t have a passion for. So maybe my passion isn’t Italian cuisine and going to Italy and making homemade pasta, and maybe I see that or go to a restaurant and love that. But if that’s not my passion, it’s going to be too laborious for me to try and create that in my world. And I think restaurateurs sometimes get on this flow of opening different restaurants and doing different projects because we want to be creative.
Now, if you can find somebody to align with you who has the passion for what you want to do, then that’s fine. But if you’re trying to make that passion come out of yourself and it’s just not there, if it’s just not your thing…I just feel like that’s a waste of precious time that you could be putting into something that you’re totally into.
Why the restaurant business needs more women
I always thought when I got into this business that it would be filled with women because women nurture people, and that’s what food should be about. Over my career I’ve found that there are hardly any women in this business, so I feel like an outsider (laughs). But I think that’s good for my business world because I think I bring something that isn’t inherently in this business.
I don’t know why this industry started with men and has continued to grow in that direction. Women are inherently the cooks in the household, and manage a lot of things that men don’t tend to manage. Kids and dinner and cleaning and school and all of these things. That’s basically what you have to do in the restaurant business: you have to manage a lot of things that don’t always align with each other.
If more women got into the restaurant business, it would be good for the industry. It would help the industry become more encompassing of every one, and more compassionate. Definitely I would love to see all women break out of their shells and be the best they can be, because they bring added things to the table that men don’t always bring.
Wil Brawley is a partner at Schedulefly, a company that provides restaurants with Web-based staff-scheduling and communication software. He is the author of Restaurant Owners Uncorked: Twenty Owners Share Their Recipes for Success.