Lessons Learned: Starting Anew

If Eric Rose appears serious, it’s probably because he’s thinking. Born in Chicago, Rose worked in the food industry in Oregon for more than 20 years before moving to Hawaii, where he loved the surf. He opened Morning Glass in Manoa in July 2011, naming the cafe for the surf’s morning, glassy condition. Here is what he told Hawaii Business about launching and running the cafe.

Origin of the idea: I started coming up with ideas for businesses that were either underserved or that I felt I could do better. Or both.

Working for yourself: You should be the best or you should hire the best. For an undercapitalized, new business, you should be the best. Working 80 hours a week at the beginning is a cost-effective way to do it. … It’s not only a huge savings in labor but you also get to be hands-on every step of the way, for the entire creation of a business and the critical months in which you are trying to establish the business.

Employees: Staffing is the single biggest issue in any new business.  I’m lucky I have really good people, and that allows me to step out. I have people I trust to make decisions – using good reasoning, good thought processes – dealing with (things) in a way they think I would do it.

Local sourcing: We do this by asking every vendor what they can get locally, by talking to chefs I meet. … I asked customers, ‘Do you know anyone who has a cinnamon tree?’ and I found someone. That way I can make our cinnamon syrup. We have been out of it for months.

Keeping it simple: We’re keeping it simple for lots of reasons. First, the simpler you do things, the easier it is to do everything great. It’s better to have six or seven items on a menu and do a great job with it instead of trying 20 items. I have six or seven coffees a week. There are a dozen more I could get, likewise with food. … But it is best to keep the order tight, to know what we use. That way you have better control, less waste.

2955 E. Manoa Road

Categories: Small Business