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REVIEW “The Real Deal” by Wendy Tanaka


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REVIEW “The Real Deal” by Wendy Tanaka  


Sustaining a strong belief is essential to achieving success. Bill Higgins, the president of Real Restaurant Inc., exemplifies this with the belief that quality should be prioritized over quantity, as Wendy Tanaka describes in her article, “The Real Deal.”  


Real Restaurants Inc., based in Sausalito, California, owns and operates a dozen restaurants and grosses more than $30 million annually. The company holds a strong reputation with customers, real estate developers, and consultants. For example, says one restaurant consultant, “the company is perceived in the marketplace as being one of the best in the Bay Area.”  


Says Higgins, “I was always enamored with diners. I remember most restaurants feeling uncomfortable.” This unsatisfied feeling helped motivate him to create high quality restaurants. 


When opening new restaurants in a new area, Higgins says a prior knowledge of demographics and psychographics around the area is important. For example, Betelnut, one of the company’s popular restaurants, has a unique kitchen that requires a lot of different talent to insure the high quality of the food, décor, music and pricing, thus making it hard to duplicate.  


However, Higgins admits he was sometimes preoccupied with the pressure to join chain games such as Starbucks, a worldwide coffee chain. The chain corporations make big money, and in fact real estate developers have been trying to offer him a large capital for opening Betelnut clones throughout the U.S. Despite these opportunities, Higgins refrains from cloning restaurants, maintaining his belief of quality over quantity.  


Ms. Tanaka’s essay implies that Higgins’ strength to sustain his belief is very important. I think that employees with high motivation will be attracted by employers who have a strong belief, and these employees’ powers, in turn, are one of the biggest contributions to their company’s success. 


On the other hand, sustaining a strong belief in the business world may encounter difficulties. Because a business environment is rapidly changing, everyone has to act according to their current circumstances. A strong belief can sometimes run contrary to those circumstances.  


For example, in my company I dedicate almost all of my energy and time to working with the current situation. Maintaining a strong belief is not difficult, but implementing that belief is sometimes impossible. In my mind I can understand that quality should be prioritized over quantity, but to fill my stomach I sometimes have to disregard my beliefs.  


As Ms. Tanaka wrote, Higgins and his partners had a bitter experience in MacArthur Park when they opened their first restaurant. In MacArthur Park, they endlessly served meals day after day, which, as Higgins recalled, was not regarded as especially creative work. This failure may have been their indispensable step to their current success. Although I often meet difficult situations at my office, I regard these hard experiences as indispensable passports to my own future success. Ms. Tanaka taught me that all I can do now is not to discard my original beliefs.  


Takanori Ishizuka