When we were thinking about launching Joy, we [Tim Scott] didn’t know from the beginning 10 seats was the number, but we knew it had to be small. Once we found the venue, 10 felt right.
The main reason Joy is so small is because we thought about restaurants we have worked in and dined at and deleted all the things about those experiences we didn’t like. It meant we were left with 10 customers at a time, one menu option and just the two of us doing everything.
Knowing every part of our business is really important. Neither of us have actually run a kitchen before, but have been so lucky to be part of kitchens with good leadership. I have only worked in kitchens where my head chef is also the restaurant owner, and being exposed to that attitude towards running a kitchen has been really helpful. The kitchen management skills have been ingrained without us even realising … and we felt these skills start to surface when we had to start using them.
The pros of running a small venue far outweigh the cons. Having something small enough that we can manage every part of it ourselves is the main reason we made Joy the size it is. We answer every email, take every phone call and solve every problem.
To not have to rely on other people to do things the way we need them done is a huge stress that we don’t have to think about. We get to know every single customer as well, which is a nice change!
On a more serious note, we can also control things like wastage, the standard of the prep and staying on top of ordering. The only con is when one of us is sick. It has only happened once, but we did have to call everyone booked in and reschedule their reservation when one of us was too sick to work.
At the moment, we do four service days and two prep days. It took about six months of opening for us to get to a point where we weren’t working seven days a week.
To be honest, I love being in the shop six days a week. I dedicate one of the days to paperwork while Tim runs around picking up orders. For the first time since we opened, it is starting to feel like we have some balance and can breathe a little bit.
I truly hope Joy can keep feeding people. Feeding people makes me happier than anything else.