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Ebony Austin (Photo provided)

Nouveau Bar & Grill owner Ebony Austin takes pride in celebrating her one-year anniversary in Atlanta on Oct. 24, 2020. Austin shared three techniques she implements in her daily regimen that have allowed her to “weather the storm” on any occasion.

Nouveau Bar & Grill (Photo provided)

The rolling out “AM Wake-Up Call” talk show recently invited Austin to discuss the importance of leadership and adaptability.

How are you navigating the new dine-in experience in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines for restaurants?

Preparation has always been [a] top priority. In order to be prepared, you first have to believe in yourself and learn your own strength. It’s important to scale up your business before getting hit with a crisis. Upon deciding to move to Atlanta to embark on the journey as a restaurateur, I made sure I was prepared. By the time I decided on a location and opened my establishment I had my payroll set up for one year, and my lease paid up to one year prior to any pandemic talk. Having a plan set up in advance always prepares you for the unknown.

How key is adaptability?

The first thing I think about when I touch the floor each morning is setting an example for the next generation. In the hospitality business, every day has new challenges. You must be able to overcome any challenge expeditiously. We had to change our entire menu when COVID-19 hit because at the time we were not doing take-out orders at all.

We found ourselves adding new flavors to the wings and doing different things with the lobster tails. Eating out is now a special occasion. We do temperature checks at the door for our customers; the staff and our chefs have to be tested on a regular [basis]. We want to provide a safe environment.

What is your motivation? 

[To] be inspired. To be successful in business you have to be inspired by something. As a leader, I am inspired by the fact that I have so many people looking up to me. What I’ve learned about myself since I became a restaurateur is that throughout the day I have to become many different people. I’m a coach, a counselor, a chef, and a teacher. Show people your mistakes as well as success.

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