Run Your Business However you Damn Well Please…

Let me start this off with admitting that I’m a picky eater. There are a lot of things in this world that I won’t eat. Most of it is texture issues – if I don’t like how it looks or feels, I’m not going to eat it. Sorry. I’ve dealt with this my entire life.

Meanwhile, I married a man who loves to cook fabulous, delicious food and who also happens to love French Cuisine, which isn’t exactly my favorite. He happily tries new food most of the time, and his list of foods he won’t eat is rather short. Everyone has different tastes.

Yesterday on Twitter, I discovered a firestorm of fury over the fact that Ricky, the owner of Hubcap Grill, said that he won’t be serving a vegan/vegetarian option on his menu, and no Turkey burgers either.

“It’s official. I will NOT be doing any veggie/vegan or turkey on 19th st. Sorry folks, it’s not Hubcap style” (link)

The vegans & vegetarians were up in ARMS over this. Ricky was getting direct messages full of hate over it. He was called pretentious. The vocal ones were filling up the Twitter stream over it. It was amazing to watch. Not just from the perspective of an armchair spectator to all the drama, but from the viewpoint of being a small business owner myself. (It also made me want some Hubcap Grill Sliders, but I’m honestly not being biased here.)

I GET IT. The vegan/vegetarian crowd want to be heard. They don’t want to eat beef. They want food that they like, that fits their lifestyle choice, that they feel is the most healthy for them. See above – picky eater – I sometimes just want to have choices that I like.

When I want those items, I pick a restaurant that serves them. I don’t insist that other restaurants should modify their menus to cater to my desires.

Ricky, as a small business owner, had to make a choice. Could he be an “everything” and please everyone? Or could he be a specialist and rock out what he does best? What he loves to serve? What he feels fits the style of his business? He drew a line and he stood his ground. I support him 110% on that choice. Matter of fact, it makes me a more loyal customer because I know exactly what I will get when I go there, his specialty, not something he felt was an inferior product.

Also, he doesn’t have to dedicate part of his grill space to being meat free, purely vegan/vegetarian friendly. I’m assuming this last part, because I would think if I was a vegan/vegetarian I wouldn’t want my food cooked right next to that juicy beef burger. It makes sense from a financial perspective as a business owner.

How does all of this relate to me? I’m a boudoir photographer that specializes in working with Moms. That is my superpower. If someone comes to me and asks me to photograph their 4 year old child, I’m probably going to say NO rather quickly. That isn’t what I do. That isn’t where I work. I don’t feel that I could give them a quality product that they would be happy with. I also don’t shoot boudoir sessions with big studio lights and lot of backdrops. Again, not my thing. Others specialize in that – I don’t. (It is ok to be a generalist if that fits you best. But overall, specializing & working your strengths is where it is at for most people.)

Does that mean I’ll lose customers if I say no to what I don’t want to do? Of course. Big freakin’ deal! I can’t possibly cater to everyone. If I did, my work wouldn’t have the same power that it does. I wouldn’t have time to do what I’m most passionate about and what I’m best at doing. It is my choice as a business owner. Ricky had people say publicly on Twitter yesterday that he had lost them as customers forever because he wasn’t going to bend and change his product lineup.

Are you SERIOUS???

If you choose to run your business however you damn well please, selling the products you want to sell, the customers you do have will love you for what you do. They will sing your praises far & wide and bring you even more customers. Plain & simple.

Some restaurants carry a bit of everything. Most of them are the chain restaurants that you find in the suburbs in Houston that everyone seems happy to complain about (but still always have a 30-45 minute wait on a Saturday night). They are called out for being bland and just mediocre most of the time. Moving from the suburbs to the Heights makes this attitude even more obvious to me right now.

I just find the whole thing fascinating. We tear down the chain restaurants for trying to be everything to everyone, and now we’re attacking the small local businesses too for not being everything to everyone as well?

Know your strengths. Stand out. Don’t be bland. Don’t cater to everyone just to chase the dollar. Do what you love. Support your local businesses. And if they don’t sell what you want to buy, move on. It is all about the loooooooooove.

And if you want a veggie burger, go somewhere that sells them. Personally, I like some yummy sliders, so you’ll find me at the new Hubcap Grill in the Heights when it opens. I’m not a picky eater when it comes to those tasty morsels!