Frequently Asked Questions


Where Did the Word "Restaurant" Originate?

It originated from soup.  A rich hearty soup rich in chunks of meat, hearty with vegetables and barley, rice or macaroni in France was called "Restaurant" because people believed that it had "restorative" powers.  A chef printed the name over his door to tell all that he was serving it.  In time "restaurant" came to mean a place where all kinds of foods were served. One other interesting fact about soup.  In rural France

La Soupe was the name given the evening meal the time for enjoying the steaming, savory contents of the simmering kettle.  The word for supper was taken from this.


Is There a Lot of Money to be Made in Restaurant Business?

The restaurant business is tough.  It's time consuming 14 hour days, it's complicated, it's hot, it's filled with pressure, and there are countless unforseen variables (think Katrina) that can pop up at any moment most of them caused by outside forces and your employee's.  The challenges in the restaurant business are plentiful.  It's the only business in which there are more ways to lose money than there are ways to make money.  The average restaurant has a profit margin of 1 to 2%


I Like to Cook Should I Open a Restaurant?

I hear this all the time and this is my answer.  Do you like to cook:  When you are exhausted?  When you are under stress because if you don't do it no one else will?  When your sick? 12 hours a day? During major holidays?  When everyone is relaxing and having a good time while you are stuck in the kitchen?  Every weekend?  Every night and day?  To be honest the cooking is the easiest part of the restaurant business.  The hardest part is making a payroll, dealing with the public, dealing with your employees, dealing with Health regulations, dealing with City regulations, dealing with your suppliers and their mistakes and dealing with the economy. 


Do The Owners Eat Out at Other Restaurant's?

 Yes, we do.  We are constantly looking for new ideas some of them at other restaurants, from the internet, Newspapers, Trade Magazines and from our customers.  Our customers are constantly bringing us ideas most of which they have eaten at other restaurants.  One problem with being seen at other Restaurants we always get asked "What are you doing here?".  It is as if people expect us to eat at our own place for the rest of our lives and we are not supposed to eat anywhere else.  We often answer the question by saying that we ate out before we were in the Restaurant Business and we haven't been able to shake the habit.  The rest of the explanation is explained in the next FAQ.


Do The Owners Eat at Scranton's? or

"It Must Be Great to Eat Out Whenever You Want"

Yes, we do but it is not always an enjoyable experience.  I was reading Robert St. John's column the other day and he explained it very well.  He said "I don't eat as a customer in my restaurant very often.  I am a terrible dining companion when I'm my own customer.  I can't help but be in manager-mode as I look around the dining room scouring every nook and cranny in search of a picture that needs straightening, or a glass of tea that needs more ice in it.  I worry about the customer who might be trying to flag down their server or that small piece of bread that accidentally dropped off of a server's tray.  My business partner Clint Taylor and I call it "Restaurant Eyes" my wife, Jill, calls it "The curse of a restaurateur's wife."  "As fate would have it," she says, "We own the two best restaurants in town, and you won't eat in either one of them with your own family." * In fact , I eat there all of the time.  But most of my dining occurs without my family in the back office, or while standing up tasting new dishes with the other chefs in the kitchen.  There are also many meals eaten out of Styrofoam To-Go boxes in the office or at home and the occasional quick lunch with a friend at the bar.  After 28 years I have become a better customer in my restaurants."  *My own family does eat at Scranton's a lot most of the time without me because I am working."

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