Entrepreneur Paper Interview

Topics: Entrepreneurship, 1991, Venture capital Pages: 5 (1890 words) Published: October 23, 2011
Panino Restaurant

The entrepreneur that I interviewed was Lydia Patterson. In 1989, Lydia and her husband, Lou, decided to start planning to open up a new Italian restaurant in Virginia. The restaurant industry, especially in the Washington DC area is very competitive. It is highly competitive with respect to price, value and promotions, service, location, and food quality.  There are a substantial number of restaurant operations that compete for customer traffic, some of which have significantly greater resources to aggressively market to consumers, which could result in losing market share.  Consumers are highly focused on value and if other restaurants are able to promote and deliver a higher degree of value, guest traffic levels may suffer, impacting revenues.  When Lou and Lydia decided to take the risk and enter the restaurant industry, they knew that they would be taking the previously stated risks. To conduct my research, I went to the current restaurants that the Patterson family opened, met with the owner whom in which I interviewed with, spoke with a customer, and researched opening a restaurant business. I also looked into why certain restaurant businesses fail. The remainder of the report discusses the opportunities that Lydia saw before opening the restaurants as well as her influences, the steps that she took in order to start the business as well as the set backs that occurred throughout the way. Lydia knew that she had to hire a staff in order to help her succeed in achieving her dreams of opening her own business; this will also be discussed later on in the report. In order for a business to grow, an entrepreneur needs to have future plans and a growth strategy. Lydia did all of this throughout her current venture and she is continuously trying to improve her business. Lydia met her husband, Lou, at the Culinary Institute of America. Both husband and wife knew how to cook very well and always dreamed of opening up a restaurant together. Lou wanted to work in the kitchen as head chef and Lydia wanted to manage the restaurant as well as work in the dining room. The in 1990, the couple moved from New York to Virginia to make their vision come true. They saw opportunity in the up and coming Northern Virginia area. Many businesses were starting up and the area was becoming very popular. Most towns and cities were becoming very upscale, which was the clientele that they wanted to appeal to. Lydia was working for the Hyatt Hotel as the dining room manager and was in charge of public relations. Her outgoing and upbeat personality was very appealing to people and she knew the business very well. Lydia stated that one day, her and Lou were driving past the town of Maynardville, about 30 minutes from their home. They saw a quaint little building available for sale on one of the main shopping streets. The couple knew that the area was growing fast and that they had the chance to buy the property for a great and affordable price. Both Lou and Lydia knew that the opportunities were great and they felt as though they should pursue starting the business. When first finding the property in which they wanted to open their restaurant in November of 1990, Lydia knew that she needed to make a formal plan before taking further action. She met with a financial advisor to discuss how much money the whole process would take and how much money opening the business would actually cost. They also determined how long it would take to break even and start making money based on projected earnings per year. Later that month, she also met with an architect to discuss planning the inside of the restaurant. Luckily, not much work needed to be done to the inside other than building a few booths for people to sit and building a bar area and kitchen. These costs were included while planning with the financial advisor. Lydia and Lou were prepared to spend this money and felt as though this was a smart idea. In...
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