Aaron Webb of Centerville is the owner of The Daily Paper. He recently took the time to answer a few questions about how he got started and how he thought an incubator program like ours might help others in the food business.
Why did you choose to become a chef/restaurant owner?
After 3+ years of liberal arts college, it became clear that I should change direction. I enrolled at New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, VT, and was awarded an associate degree in culinary arts. After 15+ years of fine-dining, nighttime work, The Daily Paper opportunity became available and my wife, Samantha, and I jumped at a chance for more “regular” hours. It still meant working weekends, but being home seven nights a week with a young family (13 years ago) made sense. I am forever grateful for that switch.
What advice would you give someone wanting to follow a similar path?
Try not to get bogged down in minute details; so many little decisions to make come up every day, especially when starting out. This can easily slow you down and add stress to an already stressful day/week/month. Also, take people’s criticisms in stride; if restaurant work was easy, way more folks would be successful at it!
In your business, what has been your most gratifying moment?
Opening our second location, for sure. To see our “brand” duplicate itself and have the success we’ve had is very gratifying. We quickly learned that it’s impossible to be in two places at once, so letting our group make those on-the-fly decisions not only allows us to learn from them but also empowers them to treat each location as if it were their own. It’s a great feeling.
How has the CCCI helped you get your business off the ground, OR how would you have benefitted from a similar organization when you were starting out?
CCCI wasn’t available to us at the time we began, but since I am a much more “learn as I go” cook, I probably would have gotten bogged down with details had I had too much time to work recipes out, etc. To have had a “mentor” to help with start-up, licensing requirements, purveyors, equipment specialists. etc. would have been invaluable help.
What one thing/service in the food industry do you think the Cape is missing?
Million-dollar question, no? I have a few thoughts but hate to share all my secrets with the world. Trends are always changing…we’ll see!
What keeps you busy outside work?
Family, work and pickleball¬–the fastest growing sport in America, and I am hooked!
Describe your perfect day of eating on Cape Cod?
Breakfast used to be my favorite meal…hahaha, and I guess it still is, as long as someone else is cooking. Then, heading with the family to any of Cape Cod’s Main Streets or Commercial Street in P’town, where there is always a variety of dining spots and eating “al fresco” is the way to go!