Mrs. Rowe had no formal business or culinary education.
Yet, when her first husband left her in 1946 with three small children, she
started her own restaurant in Goshen, Va., which was so successful that she
paid off her loan within six years. In 1952, she joined forces with her new husband,
Willard Rowe, whose restaurant in Staunton was failing. It was saved
by Mildred’s innate business sense and culinary acumen. Today, Mrs. Rowe’s
Restaurant, Staunton, Va., is a multimillion dollar operation serving more than
half-million customers a year.
Here are Mrs. Rowe’s top ten restaurant business rules:
customers like family.
serve alcohol without food.
at a decent hour.
there are lines of people waiting to get in, you need to raise your
and clean again.
need to be there to keep an eye on the business.
be afraid of competition, it can only make you better.
penny counts, so count every penny.
- Keep it fresh and real.
More of Mrs. Rowe's story is in Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley (Ten Speed Press, 2006).