Beth Colt, the owner of the Woods Hole Inn, a bed-and-breakfast in Woods Hole, MA, on Cape Cod, was facing quite a learning curve.
"When I started I had never run a restaurant before," Colt confesses. "Really, all I knew about restaurants was that I liked eating in them." During the restaurant's first several seasons, she recounts, "I really struggled with staffing appropriately, finding the right people to do my few jobs. It took me a couple of tries."
Colt found that "the simplest things -- tracking and accounting, how the numbers should fall into line, how to stay profitable -- were big challenges for me. I knew what I wanted to do with the food, and I knew what I wanted the look of the restaurant to be like, but I think we all know that's really just the beginning."
The Inn, located in a busy village surrounded by water and packed with shops and waterfront restaurants, sits at the foot of the hourly Martha's Vineyard ferry.
..I already operate successfully, and RO was really helpful as I conceptualized what I want to do there (new restaurant). All of the professional tools -- recipe mapping, POS advice, marketing advice, management tips -- are truly extraordinary. I cannot imagine running my place without RO..
In Colt's case, it was the advice of an expert that actually led her to RestaurantOwner.com. "I have a friend who's a restaurant consultant and does a lot of restaurants here on Cape Cod, Dana Heilman. He actually turned me on to RestaurantOwner.com." On opening day six years ago, she adds, Heilman called her "and said, 'So, have you figured out it's not about the food yet?' And I said, 'I'm getting there.'"
The Inn's 40-seat Quicks Hole restaurant has been in operation for a long time, but Colt changed the name and renovated it in 2008. Colt describes the cuisine as "Baja, California meets Cape Cod," with tacos, burritos, salads and homemade soups. Chef Stephanie Mikolazyk's menu includes home-made salsas, sangria and Cape Cod craft beer. Live music is presented on the deck at sunset. The restaurant is open from May to October, and has an average per-person dinner tab of about $25.
Annual sales are close to $700,000, and the accounting is accurate.
"I love that I can look at sample income statements and see that I'm on track with other places my size," Colt says. "I think your marketing and Facebook kinds of advice are really great. I think all that restaurant mapping information, and taking it to that level of detail is not something that my early chefs were capable of doing."
In Colt's case, being in expansion mode doesn't only refer to opening the new restaurant, but to her knowledge base as a restaurateur. "I already operate successfully, and RO.com was really helpful as I conceptualized what I want to do there. All of the professional tools -- recipe mapping, POS advice, marketing advice, management tips -- are truly extraordinary. I cannot imagine running my place without RO.com."