Angela Murphy - Grace Restaurant

What was your motivation to start your business?

I love to cook. I wanted to bring innovative, exciting, ingredient-focused cuisine to London. I wanted to build a community of like-minded food-loving individuals together, and I wanted to support the health of the hospitality industry.

How has being an entrepreneur improved your life?

I used to get so anxious and stressed with workplace drama. Feeling boxed in and stunted by the limitations of corporate-minded bosses who didn't understand the restaurant industry. Now I can make the food I want and have a creative outlet. I have the freedom to succeed or fail based on my own choices. I feel at home when I am at work.

What does it mean to be a business owner?

Learning everything about everything regarding your business. Restaurants have many moving parts, and how we do it is complicated with changing menus and hundreds of small suppliers. Bootstrapping a business means fixing your own used equipment, doing your payroll at first, and doing your social media. You have to be a wizard at many different things, which you had never considered when you were writing your business plan and creating your initial vision.

Many people say it is easy to start a business. What do you think about it?

I am sure it depends on the type of business. We have 22 staff. Our industry is highly regulated. Our product spoils if we don't order the right amount. Our staff need to be skilled. Our equipment is expensive to source, maintain and repair. Add to that a global pandemic, downtown social issues, and constant construction. Easy is not the word I would use.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

We are still here. Grace opened at the end of May 2019 after considerable contractor delays and went straight into six months of construction, followed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our bank would not even give us a credit card at the time because our business was too new. Three years later, we have two additional businesses open to diversify our revenue stream and make us resilient against possible lockdowns. Here we are as close to the other side as we can be.

What words of wisdom did you receive as a child that still apply today in business?

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something. Don't let fear stop you from learning something new. Nothing is impossible. Be the person you want to work with.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Take accounting courses. Don't sacrifice your physical and mental health for a business that doesn't care about you. Invest in yourself.

 

Learn more about Grace Restaurant, Grace Bodega, and Grace Pantry

 

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