Time waits for no one.
Time keeps truckin, relentless, regardless of what goes on in the world around you, time waits for no one.
I feel like I have lived several lifetimes in the last 6 months.
Covid-19 gave us a run for our money, hoooo dawggy, did it!
If it weren't for Government funding, we'd still be up that creek without a paddle. So I have to say, thankful as hell that the government stepped in to help and thankful the help was swift.
How are we doing?
Good, could be better, but still better than it has been. The numbers are picking back up, slowly but surely. It seems that people are slowly getting fed up of eating cold-ish take away or eating their own food, and slowly, they are returning to dine out.
Our regulars haven't given up on us, and we are also seeing a fresh batch of new faces with grateful expressions after trying our food, its sometimes hard to believe that people have never tried our food, that they only just heard of us, but then again, thats what it can feel like when all you do, know and eat is our food, you know, like we do when we are working in the one place for over 2 years.
Now we are coming into the final stretch. Our lease was signed in March 2018. We signed for 3 years, with the option for 2 years after that. So at this stage, after a year of protests and nearly 6 months of Covid19...we are looking at 9 more months on our lease!
You have no idea how we have looked at the calendar, the days, the months, the years...since we figured out that personally guaranteeing the lease was a shit idea! Lol. Yep, if we make it to the end of the 3 years, then we are free of the personal guarantee, so bare minimum, that was the goal, to not end up saddled with more debt.
What happens next?
I don't know. Honestly. There are days I am so full of optimism, ideas, dreams, energy...and there are days, for lack of a better explanation, that I feel so tired I want to sleep for a year and not be bothered.
I believe in what we are doing. I am so fortunate to have experienced this tsunami, and still grateful for being able to wake up to Confusion every day. Its just a matter of what the market is going to look like in a year from now, what kinda hustle I will have to hustle to follow the path of growth, and how far I am willing to go to ensure the team grows, learns and accomplishes everything they would like to, with as little hand holding as necessary.
I remember when I started this, I was like, "Pshhh, I am 40, I got maybe another 5-10 good years of solid work left in my bones!" and then I did the work and thought, shit, do I? Lol. You see mentions of chefs in magazines, and they are young, damn, so young. And I read those articles and wince sometimes, wishing I had started earlier...much the same way that someone dreaming of playing the guitar like a pro, winces after seeing some guitar prodigy playing on YouTube and that kid is only 8! You know that feeling, like "Pfft, whats the point?"
I'll tell you what the point is, coz I have had to discover and rediscover this myself...
Thats the point.
Life is not linear, its an endless web of choices, but its always moving forward, it doesn't stop for you, it doesn't slow down for you, it keeps hurtling you forward. It doesn't give you a break if you lose a loved one. It doesn't care if you are emotionally fragile. It doesn't bust out the worlds smallest violin to play, "my heart bleeds just for you" when you feel angry at the world for the choices you made!
Life waits for no one.
Life is for living.
Living is all about experiences, the journey, not the destination.
So its tough to look at my journey right now and realize, shit, the destination, a destination by some definition, the end of our lease, is swiftly approaching, like some train station you get to somewhere in the middle of the night, where you aren't sure who is getting on or off the train.
People keep asking me, "So? When are you going to find a bigger place?"
Well, I gotto start looking first...and once I look, then I know how much money it needs, and once I know how much money it needs I have to figure out how I go about raising the money.
More than money, raising it, borrowing it, earning it, is the question, "What do you want to do with your life?"
Life is an endless roller coaster of, "Is this it?" moments.
Hedonic Adaptation, thats what its called. You find something, its good, you enjoy it, you keep doing it...and then you adapt to where it is just mundane now. You need something new, you want to chase that until you get that...and then you enjoy that...before you get bored again.
Its one thing to know this...its another thing to live with it and accept that its how life is, its how human beings are, its nothing to fear or reject, its just the way it is.
Bigger Confusion? Would be nice. Would also mean double the rent, double the staff, double the salaries, double the MPF....double the food costing...or more...double the set up...damn. When you are making that decision alone, without a crystal ball to see into the future, its pretty daunting. That said, its kinda a "kick the can down the road" decision at this point.
We are still dealing with the fear of Covid19 seeing an uptick towards the year end. As we slowly see the rest of the world ramp up towards the new normal, as we all wait for those first few flights to be confirmed as running, as we all wait to see the impact of our borders opened and quarantines lifted...its wait and see.
I reckon we will have an idea by October...what the plan for Confusion's future will be, and we will know by December whether we will take a break, stay put, or move into a bigger place.
Speed of implementation is not a worry for me, its just money. It almost always is.
If we continue to see the numbers pick up the way we are right now, it looks good for the future of Confusion and a probable expansion. If we get hit with a double dose of Covid19, we may have to take a break or stay put...either way, I want to ensure the whole team stays employed, a break would simply mean shifting the concept from dine in to pushing delivery/dark kitchen...but for now, its October to see where we stand financially and then December to pick that shit up and run with it!
So for now, know how grateful we all are for your continued support. Without the Confusion community, we wouldn't be this upbeat (even if you don't know it, I am, I am very upbeat!) about the future. We've made it this far, and heck, its been one hell of a ride!
To see chefs/restaurant owners who have been in the industry 10+ years, sharing their anxiety over the pandemic, it gave me some perspective. Even the top ranked, Michelin starred, genuinely successful and noteworthy restaurants and chefs were struggling. I believe Hong Kong has been shockingly resilient, to say the least.
Our FnB scene may have taken a beating, but it sure as hell hasn't died.
Do not look at Soho for proof though, damn, those streets look like the end of the road. What once was door after door of bustling nightlife is now a ghost town. No doubt because of the abject greed of landlords in that area. The funny thing about Hong Kong and the hyper inflated property market, those guys don't care if their property stays empty for years, as long as when it does get a tenant they get the over inflated rate they were aiming for.
How the hell does it work? They own a portfolio of property!
Yep, so who cares that the marketability of one location on a street full of empty locations is so unappealing, they genuinely don't see it that way.
The government needs to put a cap on property prices, they need to stop allowing for 30% rental increases...and who knows, I could think of several other ways they could "boost the economy" without giving us free money and government backed loans! They could put some of that money toward subsidizing restaurant rent! But they will never do that, coz if they did, then the rental values would also skyrocket and we'd still get screwed.
You know what I dream of? Going off grid. I said its what I dream of, coz for now that plan is so far in the future its almost invisible.
I just want to unplug from society and go live on the ocean, land in far flung places, stay a while, then leave again...never to return again. Home school the kids, read voraciously, free dive...get old while exploring the world...
I need to build Confusion up to a place where it can sustain the team first...then I will be happy. I want everyone to be taken care of, and if there is a bit of cash to help subsidize my family while we bob about on the ocean, harvesting rain and solar, that would be good, it doesn't have to be much.
All that dreaming is build on a bedrock of hard work. I know it isn't easy, but at least I am grateful that its fun. I love my team. I love my family. I love all of our supporters. Most of all, I have learned to love myself for who I am, not for who I wish I could be or should be...its a daily struggle to make peace with how my day has been and how I wish it was. Who I am, though, I am all good with that.
I see myself in the eyes of my husband, in the eyes of my children, in the eyes of my team, in the eyes of my closest friends, and in the eyes of regular customers...I am so much more than I ever gave myself credit for. And for that eye opening experience alone, that has been the last 2+ years...I have immense gratitude.
Gratitude for seeing myself through the eyes of my beholders. I am complete.
Come what may, I will always have that.
My name's Lisa. I love to cook, I love to laugh, I love to write. I don't always believe I have the time for creating, and now I am going to work on simply going with the flow, with the food, the restaurant, the writing...and if I can, for one moment, spread a little joy along the way, well, its worth the effort.