Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

THE NEXT STEP; Sponsored by Designing Demand Small Business

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

THE NEXT STEP; Sponsored by Designing Demand Small Business

Article excerpt

Name of business: Sidney's

Location: Percy Park Road, Tynemouth

Line of business: Restaurant

Director: Alan O'Kane

How long have you been established?

I took over the business from its previous owner in 2006. Before then I worked in several London restaurants including the Savoy, I was head chef at General Tarlton in North Yorkshire, and at Bistro 21. I also managed the Angel Inn in Corbridge but Sidney's is my first venture on my own.

What have been the biggest achievements so far?

Since I took over the restaurant has been included in The Observer Food Monthly's Top 10 Coastal Restaurants, and in The Times' Top Five seaside restaurants. I also recently won the Bronze award in the North East England Tourism Awards 2007, I was up against Oldfields and the Malmaison so to get shortlisted was a massive achievement in itself. Also when I first took over, Sidney's was doing 15 covers and is now averaging 35-40 per night.

What have been the biggest hurdles so far?

Balancing work and family life. Running your own restaurant means you have to put in incredibly long hours. I work from 10am-10pm, six days a week which means I often find it difficult to have time with my wife and children, although I do always make sure I take my children to school.

Where do you go for advice?

Other restaurant owners I have met and a good friend of mine, Andy Brown, who is a lecturer at Newcastle catering college.

How is running the business different from the early days?

It is much busier, which is a good thing. I now always have to look at new and different ways to promote the business and get new customers through the door, not just the existing regulars.

Have you met your financial targets?

Definitely, the restaurant is now earning pounds 4k per month more than when I first took over. …

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