Everyone searches for the work they would be happy doing for the rest of their lives. Not just a job, but the type of work where their biggest complaint is going from working 96 hours a week down to 72. (Yes you read that correctly, passion to the point that working less is lamented.) Pascal has found exactly this and from the moment I shook his hand, his passion was inspiring.
Join me as I ask this ultra successful and incredibly passionate restaurant owner the secret to creating astounding success in a highly competitive market.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in the restaurant business?
I always liked cooking and I have a passion for making food.
What made you decide to open Pascal’s?
In 1999, I didn’t feel there was a good restaurant in Peachtree city, so I decided to open my own.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Here, cooking great food and enjoying running my restaurant. I have no plans to open another location since I cannot deliver 100% quality at two locations. Quality food, hard work, and dedication are not things you can maintain if you split your focus.
What are some of the challenges to owning a successful restaurant?
There is always another problem and I solve multiple problems every day. It’s just life; you have to keep going.
What’s the secret to bringing customers in week after week?
We do a good job. Every day we focus on creating great food and a great experience for our customers. They love it and keep coming back.
How do you reach new customers?
We advertise on TV, people talk about us, and we have great reviews online. Our promotions have everyone talking about us and sharing online. It brings in a lot of new people.
What has been your most successful promotion and why do you think it was effective?
“Tini Tuesday” has been a great success and a lot of fun. People love it and share it online, then they come in and fill the restaurant up.
There are so many people here for martinis. It’s a lot of work for the bartender, staff, and me, but it is well worth it. We have a lot of fun and it brings in a great deal of additional revenue.
How do you reward your long-time regulars?
We maintain the same level of service and food quality, so they always know what they are getting. They become a part of our family and we learn their names and talk to them. We will shake their hands, talk to them about their family, and treat them like family.
We have customers that have been here for 18 years and we have become good friends.
What would you say has had the most positive impact on your restaurant’s success?
It would be hard work. From the way we prepare our food to our recently completed remodel, we work hard to ensure every detail is perfect.
Other than word-of-mouth, what was the most successful marketing you have done?
TV and email marketing have been great. We have over 2000 emails and we send our specials out that way. We have found that people will get upset if the email doesn’t go out, so we must stay on top of it, but the return has been amazing.
People love to hear from us and it keeps them thinking about our restaurant. It’s not the specials that really matter, it’s the email. We stay on their mind, so they will think of us when they want to eat
What do you think would push Pascal’s to the next level of success in your eyes?
I really don’t know, we are full almost all week. We sometimes have open tables, but you need a reservation every day unless you want to sit at the bar, which is also usually full.
I don’t know how we could be any busier than we are now, so I am not sure how we could be more successful.
What kind of culture exists in your restaurant?
We have a family atmosphere here and I am quite happy about it. Everyone is a part of the team and we treat them as if they are family.
Our turnover is incredibly low and some of our team members have been here since the beginning. One of our current managers started as a hostess at 15. She just got married last weekend and is in her mid-30s now.
We love our team members and they are our family.
What do you do to actively retain team members?
We pay them well and treat them right. At the end of a shift we will sit down and share a glass of wine and just talk.
What do you believe is key to finding the right team member?
It’s about being a good judge of character. My managers know the kind of people that will fit in with our family and they look for that during the interview process.
How do you cut through the chaos and noise to deliver clear communication to your management team?
When something needs to be addressed we don’t wait, we talk about it right away. There’s rarely enough time to sit down and have a meeting over everything that needs to be covered, so we just do it in the moment.
You need to be on top of things and by waiting you allow it to pile up. It gets said in the moment and taken care of immediately. That’s the best way in a restaurant.
How do you continue to grow your team’s effectiveness?
It is about teamwork and we all understand that we must work together. Everyone must do their best work or the whole team loses.
Why would I come here instead of somewhere else? What is it that makes Pascal’s so amazing?
We are the best restaurant around, it’s as simple as that.
I had a great time interviewing Pascal and his dedication and passion are incredible. If you would like a great experience and delicious food, you should make a reservation at Pascal’s Bistro by calling them at (770) 632-0112. I’ll see you there!