Ali Mackani on restaurant ownership

It’s no secret that the restaurant business can be tough. I asked Ali Mackani, owner of the recently opened Lounge on 20 and of Restaurant 55°, about the challenges of getting a restaurant off the ground:

“The biggest challenge is coordinating the effort … from staffing to management to construction to vendors to product selection—every line item it takes to open the doors.

“In a small business like ours, there’s typically one person responsible for coming up with the restaurant, and the buck stops with you. You’ve got to be able to give an answer.

“The reward is when you open the doors and you have customers coming in liking what you’ve done. We have this concept in our head, our idea, and we’re able to execute it, but we’re not sure if people are going to like it. When you see that smile, that’s the satisfaction we get out of it.”