In 2011, after working in the construction business for 20 years, Kai Flache and his wife, Anja Voth, opened the restaurant Gaumenkitzel in the San Francisco Bay Area. Flache handles the business side of the eatery, and Voth serves as its head chef. She emphasizes fresh, locally sourced organic ingredients in her dishes.
Gaumenkitzel is a German word that translates to “tickle your taste buds” in English. The restaurant’s specialty items, such as deutscher-style cakes and cookies, have helped to turn many of its diners into regular customers.
The Intuit Small Business Blog recently talked with Flache about life as a restaurant owner.
ISBB: Why did you decide to start a restaurant?
Flache: Anja is super passionate about cooking and baking. She loves to feed people and be a hostess. Since I was ready for a change, opening a restaurant was a natural fit for us.
What led you to focus on using local and organic ingredients?
My wife and I come from the same neighborhood in Germany, and it was very common for everyone to have fresh, organic produce from the local farmers market. We grew up eating fresh, healthy, and organic foods, so it is something that we know and want to share with others.
What is your favorite part of owning a restaurant?
We love when customers are happy with our food and enjoy themselves, especially my wife. It is also a challenge, because everyone is different and has different opinions. If customers leave happy, then my wife is very happy.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered?
One of the biggest challenges in the restaurant business is high turnover. Employees come and go faster than you think they will. Also, employees work shifts throughout the day, and some people only work two shifts a week, so I don’t always see every employee. These factors — along with the paperwork involved in taxes, health care, and tips — make payroll challenging.
How have you overcome these challenges?
We use Intuit Online Payroll, and it really saves us both time and money. Without it, I would most likely have to hire someone to manage payroll. With the service, I don’t have to write any checks or track down employees to give them their checks: All of the money is electronically transferred to the employees’ accounts.
When an employee leaves or someone new is hired, all I have to do is make a few clicks instead of calling someone to add them to the payroll. It’s also very easy to divide tips and enter hours.
My employees really like the View My Check feature, where they can go to the website and see their pay stubs. I recommend the service to all of my friends who own businesses, because once you get up and running, it is very simple and easy to use.