Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard Leteurtre.
Richard, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started my culinary career at a young age, working at my godfather’s restaurant in France. I started as a dishwasher at 11 years old and worked various kitchen stations until I was 16. I next worked on the floor, gaining front of house experience. At 19, I moved to Paris to work for several high-end restaurants, including Royal Turenne and Ma Bourgogne in Place des Vosges. After 14 years, I moved to Florida to take over Bistro in 1902.
Today, Bistro 1902 is thriving even during these challenging times. We recently implemented The Local Culinary’s ghost kitchen franchise model as a way to bring in extra revenue through its designed-for-delivery brands. In doing so, we have boosted our sales by about 20 percent and have been able to retain our staff and stay in business. We are also opening a new concept next year and are already planning to incorporate The Local Culinary’s ghost kitchen franchise into that restaurant as well.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Opening and operating my own restaurant has always been my dream. As with running any restaurant, it can certainly have its challenges. When the pandemic hit, I knew I would have to make some changes in order to stay in business. Like most restaurants, I shut down Bistro 1902 in March 2020 to protect our staff and our guests. This was a really scary time as I wasn’t sure what the future would hold. In May, I found out about The Local Culinary’s easy-to-implement virtual brands and immediately decided to give it a shot. When we reopened that month, I chose to add eight of their virtual brands and immediately saw a notable boost in revenue. After that, I added seven more brands. As these brands continue to account for about 15 to 20 percent of our sales, I’m planning to add even more brands in the coming weeks as well.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Bistro 1902 – what should we know?
Bistro 1902 is a family-owned restaurant specializing in French American cuisine. We serve delicious, crave-worthy fare such as our French onion soup, baked brie appetizer, smoked salmon salad and our signature Bistro 1902 burger, and offer a friendly and inviting atmosphere for our guests and staff. I believe our ability to implement innovative ideas like The Local Culinary’s franchise model truly sets us apart in a competitive industry.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Our ability to make it through the challenging times brought by the pandemic has been extremely rewarding. Looking for innovative ways to bring in extra revenue and working with The Local Culinary is something that we are very proud of. It can be hard to shift the way you do business, but I am extremely proud of how we have adapted to continue serving customers in the current environment.