Opening a Restaurant in Korea Part 2: The NeighborsTuesday, September 03, 2013
So...the doors have opened and we have had customers visit Brew 3.14π. Strangely though you never know what is going to happen until you open the doors. Construction takes a while and you can't really do anything until you start. Luckily, we had a good team of people to come and do the construction. It is also quite fun and our group all participated in putting the place together. There were little mistakes that we had to fix and all, but I really liked the idea of getting my hands dirty and building something.
Everyday we were working, all the neighbors would stop in and look. Most of the times they just glanced and walked away. Others would poke their heads in and ask what we were doing. The landlord was a frequent visitor because she was very curious about what was happening to her building. I don't think she expected to get tenants like us because her little first floor shop was now something very different than what she expected. I think she thought we were building a little cafe but instead we were building a craft beer pub that focuses on pizzas. I mean there wasn't much she could do because we signed the lease for two years and paid our rent. Our landlord is a bit scary I have to say, but I hope we will win her over.
Across the street was a little ramen place that just did small dishes. I think the lady had been there for a long time and she thought we were crazy for doing what we were doing in the small alley. It didn't matter though because our little place made the value of her little shop go up. She sold her place to another lady (who is very kind) and she'll be making knife-cut noodles.
On the corner in front of us is a little barbecue place that likes us because we go there all the time to eat dinner, but when they came to our place they found that they really didn't like our beer.
And down the street from us is a little fried chicken place who is a little strange because she complains about our shop to everyone yet she wants us to sell her fried chicken at our place.
I thought we could just open and slowly get to know the neighbors, however, they expected us to do an opening party and give out rice cake (tteok 떡) to all the neighbors. When we opened, I made pizzas for people to eat and share but apparently this was not enough. I really had to give out rice cake. So in the last week, we had 100 rice cakes made and we gave it out to all the neighbors with a note stating what our pub did and how we hoped that the neighborhood would support us.
Interestingly, we have had a lot of people that commented that the rice cake were delicious and they stopped in for a drink or a pizza. Everyone has an opinion about what we should do and what we should fix but honestly, I think I have to stick to our concept. We've been open a month and we don't need to jump ship just yet.
Ok, off to work.