The family business: passed down through generations

Basic economics teaches that investing  time, money and effort into a personal business is risky. There always remains the possibility that it could either skyrocket or fail. It all depends on the determination and willingness of the person to see a dream come true.

Two Perry Meridian students are part of family-owned businesses, helping their parents run successful operations that they might one day run themselves. 

La Rosa Mexican Restaurant was opened up four years ago in Bargersville, Indiana by senior Sergio Aguilar’s father, who wanted to see what it was like to run a business. When Aguilar turns 18, his father plans to pass down the family restaurant to him. 

“He is part owner,” Aguilar says. “It’s between the manager, the chef, and him along with another partner.” 

Aguilar has been a part of the restaurant from the start, wanting to get the work experience and being able to help with it. Although his name is not officially on the lease, his father and co-workers already treat Aguilar as a partner of the restaurant. 

“They say that it’s my restaurant, too,” Aguilar says. “If I have an idea, they’ll consider.”

He is part of the decision making process for the restaurant and  has even learned how to cook, along with learning how to order supplies. “I think it’s pretty cool learning all about it,” Aguilar says .

Contributing to the restaurant forces, Aguilar sees the ups and downs and long hours and days spent making sure everything is in order.

“I learned that it takes a lot out of you,” Aguilar says. “It made me see differently working there.”  

The restaurant has become a place where he is able to grow and form new connections with both his coworkers and the customers.

“You actually start conversations with them, and your communication gets way better over there, too,” Aguilar says. “If you sit down with a customer, it’ll sometimes brighten your day. There’s some people that actually care and talk to you and everything.” 

He has also learned the difference from being the customer to becoming the server. He has seen the way some customers treat servers and the tip they leave behind sometimes. 

“It’s always all about the customers, too,” Aguilar says. “Whenever I first started working there, you could see a difference from if you just go and eat there and then actually working at a restaurant because you see how other people treat you.” 

Aguilar has witnessed customers leaving dollar tips for fifty dollar bills, when most of the money servers earn comes from tips customers leave behind. 

A staple in Southern Plaza, the China Garden Restaurant is owned by junior James Lin’s family. Opened by his parents, he is related to every single one of his coworkers.

Lin works mainly as the cashier, taking orders and ringing customers up. He also answers the phone, usually for to-go orders.

He works alongside his brother, senior Anthony Lin, in this role. Because they have each other, it allows James to still have leisure time.

Although it’s a family business, he isn’t planning on inheriting it. He sees his future in engineering rather than restauranteering.

Even though he won’t stay there forever, working for his family has taught him many lessons he plans on using in life. 

These have come through many different ways, but mainly through the interactions he has with customers.

“Patience is key,” he says. “Sometimes some customers are pretty rude. You have to know how to communicate and have good service.”

It has also taught him the importance of balancing work and his education. Time management is a skill that has taken him awhile to build.

“Any kind of work along with school, you get less time with school,” Lin says.

Working for his parents hasn’t had as negative an impact as he originally thought it would. 

“I feel more close,” he says. “I feel more comfortable.” 

Overall, Lin enjoys being a part of his family’s business. It drives him to be a stronger employee and son.

“Even when it’s hard, you have to get through it,” he admits.

Chef JJ’s, a restaurant that is located in the center of Downtown Indianapolis, is owned by junior Jack Boston’s father. 

Chef JJ’s is a dining experience that caters to private events only, including a non set menu, that has a large Italian influence along with a family style according to Boston.

His father has done his best to implement his Italin roots he learned from his own mother. 

“My grandmother was born in Italy,” says Boston. “So my father was raised around Italian influence.”

For Boston, working with his family comes with its ups and downs. 

“It can be stressful at times because my dad’s not afraid to go hard on me if I do something wrong,” says Boston. 

Even though it can be stressful to him, he sees it as motivation that pushes and drives Boston hard to succeed. 

Boston’s current position in the restaurant is being the utility manager but helps out with washing dishes, bussing tables, and cleaning bathrooms. Most of his work is done during the summer time. 

Boston is unsure of the restaurants future, but is willing to inherit it. He would prefer to be behind the scenes, running it instead of actually owning it as the “restaurant lifestyle is very stressful” as he sees his father currently working 70-75 hours in total. 

His experience with fellow co-workers has varied over the time the restaurant has been opened.

“I’ve worked with a lot of different people and your days are going to be bad, everybody is going to have bad days,” says Boston.