A conversation with a restaurant manager in L’viv

I love new businesses and the energy of entrepreneurs. It’s exhilarating, and I’ve only been able to appreciate it since fairly recently — since deprogramming myself from all the socialist garbage I picked up in school.

Before I ever met this young manager, I was already a great appreciator of her restaurant. It was clean, simple, fun, tasty, innovative, inexpensive and had great customer service. I’m not going to name it because I want everything to remain anonymous.

It was fun listening to the back story over beers:

The owners are two guys both of whose fathers are politicians. (This part of the story is depressing to me. I want at least some sectors of the economy to be opened to the aristocratic competition of the free market: may the best restauranteur win.) So they probably have some cover from L’viv’s famously predatory bureaucrats and tax collectors. Typical of the political class, they do little work beyond making harsh demands on their underlings.

I think the reason I heard so much of the story was because this young lady suffered from months of pent-up frustration.

She unleashed a flood of evidence, making the case for her deserving better.

I agree with her, of course, but mostly I felt impressed and delighted to see her competence and the run-away success of a fairly new restaurant.

She told me about waking up at 6am and scouring supermarkets because she realized they were out of lettuce, about teaching employees to smile and greet customers, about choosing the design for the restaurant, about the amazingly small initial investment (less than $30k!), about their stunning profitability, about preparing documents, about late night phone calls from the owners, about begging for vacation time, about her salary (about $500 a month), about doing what I had assumed was lawyer-work — preparing franchising documents, about miraculously locating Ukrainian suppliers for things previously shipped from America, about receiving no appreciation, about her desire to switch to a government job (I hope she fails).

Of course there was some frustration, but this isn’t a sad story. It’s a glorious one. For her talents, dedication, and knowledge, I think she’ll eventually earn the money she deserves.

It’s also the story of entrepreneurial success. Yes, from her perspective, the owners have flaws, we may feel they don’t deserve their success, but L’viv’s restaurant business is at least a partially free market. I know an American who doesn’t even speak English whose year-old restaurant is fast becoming a L’viv icon (TexMexBBQ). He succeeded presumably without a relative in politics.

So their flaws aside, these two young men took a risk and are delivering fantastic food and service to thousands of Ukrainians and tourists.

God bless capitalism. May it not perish from the Earth.

Half-joking, I asked whether she’d be able to turn $20,000 into $40,000 in a year. She didn’t understand the question. I repeated: “If I give you $20,000, can you turn it into $40,000 in a year.” She was full of doubts and questions and qualifications. It’s clear that a personality capable of stunning coordination and discipline and management isn’t always a personality capable of taking a large sum of money, choosing a direction and saying to other people “follow me.” She needed the two owners (at least initially) just as much as they need her.

10 Comments

  1. Ed K

    It was said, “about her desire to switch to
    a government job (I hope she fails).”

    You are stealing Rush Limbaugh’s line.

    I mentioned your extensive stay and alleged
    business activities to others. I got hard questions
    which I suggested only you were qualified and
    capable of answering.

    The essence of the questions are where are you going.
    Why are you in Ukraine? What are you trying to achieve?

    The conclusion is they dismiss you as a wannabe with no
    stated goals and few obligations.

    They appreciate unwillingness to put forth much to the internet.

    I was asked when you will be visiting USA if you would defend
    your objectives to others.

    How does chasing the manager of restaurant fit into those plans?

    Another year has gone by, they ask for documentation of achievement.

    Does this meandering mean anything?

    —————— // ————————–

    Reply
  2. elmer

    Roman, most often in Zookraine, beezniss is steered in specific directions.

    Thus, for example, there are restaurants where the “elite” congregate, but all they are doing is circulating stolen or embezzled money into the restaurant.

    yanusvoloch’s son has a bank which has suddenly and miraculously grown by several orders of magnitude – Forbes and others have written about it.

    Question – since this restaurant was opened by the offspring of politicians, who, in Zookraine, are most likely partaking in the sovok mafia state pig trough, do you have a feel for the composition of the clientele of the restaurant?

    There is no question, regardless of anything, that the scrappiness and hustle of the manager is to be admired.

    However, “stunning profitability” and “miraculous suppliers” raises my antennae a bit, given that this is in Zookraine.

    Ed K, may I suggest that you back off of jumping onto Roman a bit.

    Reply
  3. Ed K

    Elmer,

    Thank you for your comment. I try to back off a lot. The
    problem is that many of Roman’s age group that I know
    behave in similar fashion. Most block me out.

    There is old adage that says that even eagles often need
    a push. So, for those that I assess as capable, I push.

    I understand that only a few are capable, that is based on
    the ‘normal curve’ of abilities.

    I have chosen the path of out outspokenness. which often
    puts me in the extreme minority.

    The best reason for commenting is the writing
    of Rev. Martin Niemöller:
    —————– // —————
    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the socialists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.
    —————— // ——————–

    I am probably as old as Roman’s father would
    have been. I recognize that I am in an extreme
    minority.

    Many of the voices against ‘Statism’ are getting quite.
    Few of Roman’s age continue to fight.

    May I encourage you to join the fight? You seem to
    recognize the issues.

    It appears that the Statist or Marxist kept tossing out
    moles so that people get involved in playing a gigantic
    game of ‘Whack a Mole’ rather than building a better
    world.

    Yes, I may back off, because tomorrow I just may not
    be around…

    So, I encourage you on… , and again thank you for
    your comments.

    ——————– // —————————

    Reply
  4. elmer

    Ed K, I’d like to suggest this – if someone wants to fight against statism and the sovok mafia sewer that is Zookraine, then they need to fight against statism and the sovok mafia sewer.

    Picking on Roman, in my humble opinion, is misdirected.

    You recognize this yourself when in your ‘whack a mole” comment.

    I respect you for fighting against statism, however.

    It’s just that I don’t see the point in fighting against Roman.

    Reply
  5. Ed K

    Elmer,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I just do perceive my comments as “fighting against Roman.”

    Rather, since he does not have obligation to feed crumb
    snatchers, and has demonstrated leadership, I keep after
    him to try to leave a footprint. I do not perceive that as
    fighting.

    I reply on several internet forums where the comments are
    more ascerbic than those I have made.

    I do not take personally those comments because I respect
    the direction.

    Like Roman I am a native New Yorker. Maybe it is the New
    York Metro environment that caused some to sound caustic.

    Here is some humor to change the subject:

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=cf7_1356505998

    If you watch the whole thing you do not need translator…

    Reply
  6. elmer

    Ed K, I’m not sure why you feel the need to dictate to Roman what he should do and what direction he should take.

    He is his own man, he has the right to do what he wants.

    Also –

    motivational experts do not usually motivate people by jumping on to them or criticizing them.

    Reply
    1. Ed K

      Elmer,

      I made no claim to be motivational expert.

      It was said, “He is his own man, he has right to do
      what he wants.”

      My comments are addressed to the Roman of Old, a
      diciple of Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, Murray Rothbard, et. al.

      He has not publically stated that he no longer believes in the
      writings of freedom oriented economist.

      Yes, he is a man of his own. Most recently he marched to
      beat of drummer of freedom. I merely remind him of the
      songs he has most recently sang.

      Are you speaking on Roman’s behalf saying the old
      songs ain’t so?

      Again I thank you for your postings. It is great to have you.
      I sincerely appreciate you time.

      Have you considered that after three tours of war zone that
      he is suffering from battle fatigue and occassionally needs
      reminders of freedom to keep from falling into depression?

      Each day I get emails complaining about the way things are.
      I am not the expert you alude to rather just a common guy
      who tries to see thru the fog of decite from Statist, Marxist
      and their fellow travelers.

      I am person non grata for speaking out. If I do not who will?
      And who will speak after me? Will you?

      Yes, I ask Roman to continue speaking as he has for the last
      several years. Why? He is half my age. He has spoken out
      many times. He has ability to speak out.

      And I have asked you to speak out also. Your comments
      avoid this request. As I have said, your comments indicate
      understanding of evil. Why don’t you take the batton for a
      few years?

      Here is news comment of what we face in USA:

      “No written record has ever been found of Adolph Hitler
      ordering his followers to murder Jews; that’s not the
      way it’s done. The leader sets the tone, and his followers
      get the point and follow through. No record will be
      found of Obama ordering the harassment of conservatives
      by the IRS, but, at least now, we have evidence that the
      direction came from Washington.”
      By Peggy Noonan July 18, 2013 WallStJournal

      Reply
  7. Roman

    Whoa, I missed a lot while I was gone. :) Flattered that you guys come here to chat.

    Ed, I really don’t think the freedom voices are getting queiter. You should visit Porcfest in New Hampshire next summer for some inspiration.

    You should also start using Bitcoin!

    Reply
    1. Ed K

      Roman,

      Tell us more about Porcfest in New Hampshire…

      Passed thru New Mampshire Wednesday.

      Stopped to visit wife’s cousin near Skowhagen, Maine.

      Currently in St. John’s Canada…

      Yes, the volume of voices for freedom is down. Still a few
      hardy souls. It is tragady when the most able choose to quiet.

      Bitcoin may have a future. I will wait a bit. Just use other coins.

      Some of the above developed from me explaining you to retired
      executive who was really big kahuna. He asked hard questions
      of me about you and your direction.

      He asked when you were coming back to USA so maybe we could
      get direct answers to his questions.

      Elmer does not think I should ask such directed questions of you.

      Reply
      1. Roman

        It took place last month. Lots of radical and moderate libertarians: http://porcfest.com/

        There are lectures, parties, music, a bazaar and much more. I’ve never been, though I may try to go next year.

        Reply

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