What such a context looks like, of course, is itself a line of inquiry — an inquiry that we felt we had to pursue before starting this new restaurant. We wanted to get this straightened out now because we’re committed to not repeating any mistakes from our last restaurants — we intend instead to make all-new mistakes, or else what’s the point?
I started by defining a statement of our purpose. I adapted it from something I read (I can’t find the specific post now) by James Altucher, whose blog I heartily recommend.
My purpose is to emotionally connect with people — friends, neighbors, guests, and co-workers — I love and enjoy.
Pretty simple, no? At the core, that’s why I want to come to work, and why I love the hospitality industry.
With that as a base, Katie and I had many conversations to define a clear vision of how we want to approach both our work, and our lives in general, which envelop that work. We came to embrace the following credo for both ourselves and for Salispuedes, which we discovered in Peter Block and John McKnight’s book, The Abundant Community (ours is adapted slightly from the original):
What we have here is enough.
We ourselves can provide all we need in the face of the human condition.
We choose to live in a context of abundance, cooperation and satisfaction.
We are responsible for each other.
We can all provide unique gifts to our community.
We live with the reality of the human condition; life is not a problem to be solved.
That’s the mental state we want to embrace in our life and work. And then, finally, we get to the brand question — what, specifically, do we want our restaurant to stand for? What do we want Salsipuedes to mean to you and everyone who encounters it? We talked about that most of all. What we’ve come to, is a commitment to embrace:
Food and drink that reflects our physical and cultural landscape
Small scale production at every step of the chain
Attention to our craft and a commitment to doing our best work
Playfulness and fun, music and dance, love and joy
The power of gathering, which amplifies everything
Curiosity as to the nature of people, food, community, and life.
These are the goals we have for ourselves and our business. We know we aren’t perfect, and we won’t be able to live these goals every minute of every day. But, at least we know what we’re aiming for, and we can work to build that into every part of the business, from the ground up. That’s the best opportunity we could ask for.