An interview with Tony Colatorti, owner of Cucina Bella in Algonquin.
Q: Describe what you do.
Cucina BellaAddress: 220 S. Main St. Algonquin, IL 60102
Owners: Tony Colatorti Year business started: 2005
Number of employees: 25
Who is answering the questions: Tony Colatorti
A: I own and operate an Italian family fine dining restaurant.
Q: What made you start your business?
A: After being in the fast food business I wanted to own my own full service restaurant. I had many family recipes that have been passed down over generations that I wanted to share with everyone.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background.
A: I started at age 15 working for Luke's Beef in Arlington Heights. Eight years later I decided I wanted to own my own Luke's Beef. I went on to not only own and operate one but to owning 8 Luke's Beef stands throughout Lake County Illinois.
Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running or starting a small business?
A: Surviving the recession was my most difficult obstacle in running my business. I didn't sleep or eat much and didn't see many paychecks but I was determined to get through it and wasn't going to allow closing my business as an option. My passion for my business is what essentially kept my focus and determined to get through this. I also knew that I had twenty families counting on their job each day and I wasn't about to let them down.
Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?
A: There are many things I enjoy about running my business, first and foremost my customers. Seeing my customers enjoying themselves and coming back week after week, bringing their friends and family in the restaurant is what really makes me happy. Also my staff, having a good strong team makes coming to work enjoyable.
Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young?
A: No, growing up I always wanted to be a police officer. It was my childhood dream.
Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?
A: Be ready to work eighty plus hours a week. The restaurant business is not an easy business at all. I haven't had a New Year's Eve off in nine years and Valentine's day "forget about it." In this type of business you must make many sacrifices working holidays, spending little or no time with family and friends, and taking a small vacation after 5 plus years.
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