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What to learn from going out for dinner?
photo 14: The Restaurant
I often play a mind quiz when I go to a restaurant (I love going to restaurants). I wonder if staff members are (co-)owners or employees. Sometimes, at the end of my stay, I ask them.
Interestingly, most of the time, my guesses are correct.
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That's because, at least in my experience, owners or leaseholders are usually friendlier, more committed, more authentic; they put more effort into lovingly preparing the restaurant.
But why is this so? Why am I usually able to correctly guess the employment relationship? Why does behaviour depend on whether one is paid for their hours working in a restaurant or whether they lease or own a restaurant?
The answer seems obvious. The fate of the restaurant is simply crucial for the restaurant owner. The owner's fortune or misfortune depends on the satisfaction of the customers. Therefore, restaurant owners put more effort into good service and delicious food. On the other hand, the service staff only has to look for a new job if the restaurant goes bankrupt.
So far, so straightforward. But I guess there is another reason why owners or leaseholders behave differently. And this difference is why I particularly like to go to restaurants where owners are present.
Those people often put more heart and soul into their work. They like what they do. Their work matters to them.
Not only are they more friendly to their guests, but according to my observations, they also behave differently when not facing the customers. They tend to act more self-confident, are more with themselves, are more natural, and feel appropriate where they are.
I like watching those people. They teach me that the work we do must matter to us.
You don't have to be a business owner (although that seems to help) to lead such a presumably happier life. But the work you do has to mean something to you. You have to be responsible for what you do, for the outcome of your work.
The word that describes this most is "ownership".
So ownership is not only highly relevant in a legal or business context but in everything that we are doing frequently or over a long period. My guess is: There is no lasting satisfaction when there is no ownership in our life.
photo on top: An owner-managed little restaurant in Thuringia, Germany. / photo taken by me on 29 May 2019