CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 15 Classics - Page 74

“It sounds ridiculous that I'd spend so much time on things like Instagram posts, but these are the things I have to do to get people into our door.” Instagram shots. But then the visits quick- ly faded as people realized that they’d spend the same amount on a plate of heir- loom corn grits, made with local dairy and topped with rubbed kale, a farm-sourced soft egg, fresh pesto, and roasted local to- matoes as they would on a hamburger at the hot local burger spot. Self-proclaimed restaurant critics quickly moved on to the next exciting restaurant openings in an ef- fort to produce relevant material, and the only folks who stayed were the ones who truly believed what we were peddling. We spent all of our money on ingredients and staff, so we didn’t have the money to pay PR firms to keep our message in front of customers. We couldn’t afford designers to keep our marketing fresh or contractors to install a hood and make fried chicken, pizza, donuts, or hamburgers, so we were stuck. The industry folks who supported us, in the beginning, disappeared as they saw us begin to struggle. No-one wants to be a part of a sinking ship. Then the sharks started circling. We re- ceived numerous offers from potential in- vestors. All we had to do was give them control and the majority of our business. Some of them had invested in other local brands we admired so it was tempting but it just didn’t feel right. We had fought so hard to get free from corporate control, and most of these guys had made their money through corporations. Giving up so much so quickly felt like selling ourselves short, so we turned them down and fought our way forward without funding. It burnt a few bridges, but we still feel like we did the right thing. It was extremely difficult. We learned to balance making food for our regulars, while also staying relevant in the