Scott Maitland, owner of Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery in Chapel Hill, N.C. said this during his interview for our Restaurant Owners Uncorked video series:
“One of the things I feel very passionate about is that independent restaurants are in fact a repository of culture for a community. People don’t think about it that way, but I think if you ask anybody what they like about where they live, and what makes where they live special … at some point in that conversation there’s going to be a discussion about restaurants, because that is where culture in a community actually happens. So if we remove all of the independent restaurants and put in chain restaurants … and by the way I’ve developed a lot of respect for chains restaurants, it’s amazing what they do … but it’s not unique, and it doesn’t necessarily reflect the culture of the town. I don’t look at myself as being in the restaurant business. I look at myself as being in the Chapel Hill business. And that’s what makes me want to get up and do it again each day, because we’re the front porch of the town.”
When Scott said this I immediately knew he was onto something important to share with anybody working with independent restaurants. If you view yourself as doing something much bigger than simply serving food to people who walk through your doors, but rather as being a part of the epicenter of culture for your town, it gives you an entirely different perspective on how meaningful and valuable your work is.