2 of 6
BACKNEXT
A rocky debut
Chez Panisse opened in 1971. It lost $40,000 in the first three months.

"In no time I had 50 employees, and I didn't know how to manage any of them," Waters says. "We were open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was too much. We were hemorrhaging money. I had to lay off half of my staff, and we stopped serving breakfast and closed on Sundays."

An angel investor, cookware store owner Gen Opton, stepped in to pay the bills and help Waters learn to run a business. The restaurant began to stabilize -- and then, in 1975, a glowing review in Gourmet put Chez Panisse on the national radar.

"Suddenly people were coming to the restaurant, but for the wrong reason: They wanted to be seen here. It wasn't about the food anymore," Waters recalls. "The restaurant became so busy that my friends couldn't get in! It was moving away from what I had wanted Chez Panisse to be: a simple, homey place where people could eat wonderful food. Getting back to that took years of personnel changes and menu simplifications."

NEXT: Into the black

Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
LAST UPDATE: Aug 31 2009 | 7:44 PM ET
More Galleries
7 lifehacks to eliminate your holiday hassle Whether curating the perfect gift or finding a pet-sitter, these startups offer time-saving services that might just seem like holiday magic. More
San Francisco: The best city to make things From electric motorcycles to death shrouds, San Francisco's manufacturing sector is booming. More
6 designers shaking up fashion These designers are changing the way we dress, accessorize and shop, from custom made-to-fit dresses to smart jewelry that's actually stylish. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.