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Customers lined up outside an eatery. | Source: Shutterstock
Customers lined up outside an eatery. | Source: Shutterstock

Loss-Making Cafe Owner Is Dazed to See Long Line Days after Hiring Homeless Girl – Story of the Day

Gabangaye Shongwe
Feb 03, 2023
06:00 P.M.

Andrew had always dreamed of owning a restaurant, and his dream eventually came true. However, when a new restaurant opened nearby, the competition almost ran his business to the ground. Although, all that changed after he hired a homeless young woman with a unique outlook on life.

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It had taken almost ten years of blood, sweat, tears, and unceasing prayer for Andrew to finally get his restaurant up and running. Since his early years as a waiter and then later as an assistant chef, he had always hoped and dreamed of owning his own restaurant.

His restaurant had been open for three years, and within the last year, Andrew was finally beginning to see the fruit of his labor. Not only was his place one of the top establishments in his block, but in the town as a whole.

All was going well for Andrew, and it seemed like things were only going up from there. However, things would soon take an unexpected turn for Andrew and his business after a new restaurant, Le Cafe, was opened across the street.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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Andrew was prepared for his new competitor giving him a bit of a run for his money. It was nothing unusual, businesses came and went, but he had always managed to maintain his position in the hierarchy.

However, things did not turn out as they had before for Andrew. He began to lose customers to his new competitors. It started as a few customers monthly and then eventually progressed into a decline of almost half of his monthly revenue.

His competitors had such an aggressive marketing campaign that it came to a point where Andrew's restaurant couldn't get the time of day. Their banners and advertisements overshadowed any efforts Andrew tried to set in place.

The more time progressed, the fewer customers Andrew had. He would stand outside his restaurant watching the long queues outside his competitors' restaurant as his employees nursed the few loyal customers they still had.

After a while, Andrew was forced to make salary cuts. This was the tipping point for Andrew as his staff began to abandon him. The busier things got at his competitors' restaurant, the more vacancies they had opened. Andrews's staff started to leave his establishment for Le Cafe.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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With each waking day, Andrew watched as his dream pulled further away from his grasp. His business was spiraling into debt, and it appeared as if there was nothing he could do about it. He tried everything in his power, but the odds were seemingly stacked against him, and no sign of dawn was in sight.

However, things were about to turn around for Andrew, and he had no idea. One day, one of Andrew's most prominent waiters, Danny, decided to quit after receiving a lucrative offer from Le Cafe. Andrew begged and pleaded with him to stay, but he was hearing none of it.

"Please, Danny! I was there for you when nobody would give you the time of day. I don't say that to hold anything against you. All I ask is you show me the same compassion," Andrew pleaded with Danny as he rushed behind him towards the back exit.

"Listen, I appreciate everything you've done for me, Andrew. But the truth is, this is a sinking ship," Danny said, chucking his waiter's apron into the dustbin as they exited the back door into the downpouring alleyway.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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"C'mon, Danny. If you leave now, I'll only have four waiters left. I'm already struggling with wages as it is. Just give me a month. Please!" Andrew begged, grabbing Danny by the arm in desperation. Alegra, a homeless young woman in rags, stopped picking through a nearby trash can and watched inquisitively from a distance as Andrew and Danny's dispute proceeded.

"I don't need your lousy job anymore," Danny barked, violently pulling away from Andrew's grip. "You know how much they are paying at Le Cafe? More than I could have ever dreamed of. And you think I'll stick around here for what? Peanuts? Never!" Danny concluded before storming off.

"Please, Danny!" Andrew begged as he watched Danny walk off in the distance, leaving him in the wet, cold, deserted alleyway.

"Excuse me, sir," Alegra said. An astounded Andrew turned to see the homeless young woman.

"Listen, this is not a good time. I don't have any change for you," Andrew said dejectedly.

"Oh, no. I don't want any money from you. I just couldn't help but overhear your conversation. I would love to help, if possible," Alegra explained.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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"Look, that's nice of you, but—" Andrew started before Alegra abruptly chimed in.

"You won't have to pay me, sir. All I ask for is a little food to get by," Alegra insisted. Andrew contemplatively looked at the young woman, recognizing the look in her eyes. It was the same look of determination that got him his first gig as a waiter all those years back.

"Alright. Let's get you cleaned up, you tell me more about you, and take it from there," Andrew casually said, walking back into the restaurant. Alegra followed with a hopeful beam.

From that very moment, Andrew got Alegra cleaned up and put her to work. Andrew enjoyed every moment he got to watch Alegra grow in her position. She improved with every passing day, giving the job her all and always with the most welcoming smile.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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Unlike Andrew's other employees, she never complained or did anything reluctantly. Alegra displayed a hunger and enthusiasm Andrew had never seen before. What baffled him even more, was the fact that she wasn't even getting paid a cent for it.

"I didn't go through four years of culinary school for this!"

Alegra did everything perfectly and diligently. She was never late and learned quickly. Andrew eventually even allowed her to spend nights in the restaurant.

Things were still strainful for Andrew as they continued to lose customers to Andrews's competitor. To make matters worse, Andrew fell ill due to all the stress he encountered trying to keep his business afloat.

He eventually collapsed at work and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Because of the severity of his medical condition, the doctors admitted him for a couple of days. Andrew was utterly distraught because his business needed him now more than ever. However, he had no choice but to cater to his health.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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Even in Andrew's absence, Alegra continued with the same enthusiasm and drive that had caught Andrew's attention from her very first day. Unfortunately, things kept turning for the worst at the restaurant when more staff didn't come to work. The head chef, seeing that he was working with Alegra, who was living in the streets not so long ago, also threw in the towel.

"I didn't go through four years of culinary school for this!" the head chef snapped, throwing his chef hat into a boiling pot and storming off.

Alegra visited Andrew that night and explained what had transpired at the restaurant. When Andrew heard the news, he fell into bitter weeping. He feared his dream was officially on the brink of tragic demise.

"I'm sorry, sir. But please, don't lose hope. You showed me so much kindness when nobody would give me a second look. It's not the end for you. Things will get better. Just don't lose hope," Alegra said, holding his hand reassuringly.

After a while, Andrew was finally discharged from the hospital. The moment he was released, he went straight to the restaurant to see what he could salvage before he ultimately had to close it down.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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As he drove down the street toward his restaurant, he could not believe what he saw. He saw customers casually dining in the restaurant just like back in the day. He had expected it to be closed, considering what Alegra had told him.

He looked around for the staff, but there was none. Andrew immediately parked his car and rushed into the restaurant with overwhelming excitement and curiosity. As he entered the restaurant, he noticed the customers were all eating dishes that weren't on his menu.

"Sir, you're back!" a thrilled Alegra exclaimed, rushing out of the kitchen with two plates. She served the plates to the customers and then beckoned Andrew over to the kitchen.

"Wow! Alegra, you're amazing! I don't know how I can ever thank you. You may have saved my restaurant."

"Alegra, how did you do it?" an awestruck Andrew asked as he followed her into the kitchen.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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"Taste this," Alegra said, handing him a spoonful of the soup on the counter.

"Hmm... This is good. Is this you? All of this?" Andrew asked, gesturing at the other prepared meals on the counter.

"Yep. I pulled out some of my mother's old recipes and spent the last couple of days cooking and prepping what I could. I opened up the shop and gave it a shot," Alegra explained.

"All on your own?" Andrew asked, bewildered.

"Yep. It wasn't easy. Luckily most of the meals were pre-cooked, allowing me a little leeway. But, yeah, it was no walk in the park," Alegra explained, still with that welcoming smile.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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"Wow! Alegra, you're amazing! I don't know how I can ever thank you. You may have saved my restaurant," Andrew explained, almost in tears.

"Well, for starters, you could give me a hand," Alegra said, handing Andrew a waiter's apron. "I'll cover the kitchen. You handle the front," Alegra concluded. Andrew grabbed the apron and simply smiled, still in awe of the young woman's tenacity, talent, and resilience.

After that day, Andrew and Alegra worked back to back, trying to keep the restaurant. Alegra cooked while Andrew served the guests, just like in the old days when he first dreamed of starting a restaurant of his own.

Andrew officially changed his menu to all of Alegra's recipes. Soon the restaurant began to pick up momentum, and they could finally hire more staff. They found themselves even doing better than their competitor, Le Cafe.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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The customers loved Alegra's dishes, and soon, the restaurant became renowned city-wide and eventually nationwide. It was now popular and would get so full that people would have to queue in the street just to get a table.

Alegra became Andrew's head chef, and after successfully heading up Andrew's restaurant, Alegra opened her own establishment under Andrew's guidance.

What can we learn from this story?

  • A resilient and positive spirit can turn things around. Alegra had a positive outlook from her very first day on the job. This positivity, coupled with her resilience helped, helped change the situation for Andrew's restaurant.
  • Do not overlook the outcast and underdog. Alegra was a homeless person who most people in society overlooked. However, Andrew gave her a chance, and she proved herself.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a restaurant manager who was waiting on a secret reviewer and ordered his waiters to ignore an ordinary-looking woman, only to find out she was the reviewer.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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