It has been a long road to where we are now. We started in 2007 with a dream of what we would like, but had no experience owning a restaurant. I had worked in many restaurants and bars over the years, but never in management, and never with any insight into the sheer guts it takes to tough out the bad times and capitalize on the good times.
One of the real challenges in building an award-winning business is developing an ego – a strong sense of self and confidence in your own leadership and vision. It is easy to listen to other people, friends, family, staff and customers, as to what you should be doing with the business, and it is certainly important to adjust your vision and direction based on the marketplace. Still, having listened to and incorporated other people’s advice, it is just as important to articulate your own values and goals to your team and make sure they understand what you expect the business to deliver.
In our case, the underlying values of the Star have never changed. We value excellence in all we do. We value our customers, our team, our community. We value fresh ingredients, complex flavours and careful preparation. We value heritage.
We are now about to enter our tenth year, with our ninth birthday on June 8, 2016. In some ways it has seemed like way longer, and in other ways it seems we opened only yesterday. I do know that while sometimes I may be tired or out of sorts, when I walk into the Star and greet the team, I always get a lift and look forward to service.
When we opened, our tables were dressed in white tablecloths and stemware. We had visions of grandeur and wanted to compete with the big city restaurants. Over time we went to checked cloths and coloured napkins, and now we have bare tables with cotton napkins. We still do white cloths when asked and on Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, but we have come to realize that a small-town restaurant has to reflect the community as well as the owners’ aesthetic.
We have to reflect the community’s values as well: hard work, fair value for money, and above all, friendliness and mutual respect. These values are the glue which cements our ties to Maple Creek and its people. We hope the Star will serve you as well for the next ten years.