Jenny Quintero & Lucy Brown, Co-owners of Jar Kitchen
At what age did you both realise you were going to be restaurateurs?
Lucy replied, I knew from a young age that I wanted to open a restaurant after waitressing at the age of 15 - a childhood dream realised - whereas Jenny has been a passionate foodie all her life so when we decided to start our own business it was a natural progression to opening a restaurant.
Was there any one person who inspired you?
Each other. We have always encouraged each other as friends and now as business partners.
What qualities are most important in becoming restaurateurs?
Organisation, dedication, willingness to put the hours in, often at the sacrifice of a social life. Also, it’s a must to have a passion for food and customer service. In modern day business, it is also key to have a grasp on marketing and social media capabilities.
What is the most inspiring thing about being restaurateurs?
Being able to find amazing producers and bring their produce to our customers. Also, working with young inspiring people and training up apprentices who go on to be successful chefs and you think wow, we were a tiny part of their career.
What is your favourite part of managing your own restaurant?
The hardest and most satisfying part of owning your own restaurant is being your own boss. You get to make the decisions and make your ideas a reality but those decisions are often really difficult to make.
No day is ever the same and we get to meet people from all walks of life who share the same passion for food and drink as we do.
What is the most difficult part of managing your own restaurant?
It can be unpredictable, which is great on one hand, but also tough when problems catch you off guard. Whether it’s DIY issues, leaks, broken chairs, tables etc or how the weather can affect you - whether it’s sunny, raining etc. Also the long hours can be gruelling and you miss out on a lot of birthdays, holidays, events etc.
What advice would you give to anyone else who wishes to follow in your footsteps?
Plan and research as much as possible and be open to take advice from others. Having a business partner has been a godsend, doing it on your own must be incredibly difficult.
Describe your typical day from waking to sleep?
Wake up check emails and do some social media: tweet, instagram, Facebook etc.
Arrive at the restaurant, set up and receive deliveries. Place orders for the next day and meet with the chefs to discuss the menu. Lunch service. Clean down and set up for dinner. Meet with our suppliers in the afternoon, do tastings and try and find a moment to eat. Dinner service. Clean down and set up for the the next day. Get home around 11/ 11:30pm and sleeeeeeep!
What do you love about working in Covent Garden?
The variety of people from tourists to locals who live here, to people who work here. We get a lot of repeat business and it’s great to get to know our customers. Plus you have everything you need on your doorstep from DIY shops to catering shops, if you need a last minute dress for an event, or have to pop to Boots for some toiletries, it’s all here.
What’s your favourite place or thing to do in Covent Garden?
Favourite places would definitely be Nisbets and Leylands for all our catering and DIY needs and the staff are amazing at both shops. One of our favourite things to do is obviously eat out at all the amazing restaurants – Frenchie, Native, 26 Grains, Startisans, Barrafina, Café Murano, Hoxton, Opera Tavern etc, and also dropping in on some of our suppliers like Neal’s Yard Dairy and Monmouth Coffee.