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  • Amber Coburn

Juggling College and Owning a Restaurant

Going to school and owning a restaurant is just as hard as it sounds. Luckily, we have our hours set accordingly. We open Thursday through Sunday, so we only have to go home on the weekends, but there is still a lot of work that has to be done during the week. Ordering food and liquor happens on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays so we have to make sure to have our orders put together on those days. Sometimes I am putting together the orders and messaging the distributors between taking notes in class.


I travel to Helena from White Sulphur Springs every Monday morning to get to class by eleven. Before I leave town, I check on my mom's bar, Bar 47, to make sure they have everything ready for the week and then I go to the bank to deposit money from the weekend. I quickly eat breakfast and usually make it back just in time for class! Tuesdays and Wednesdays I get a break from the restaurants and can focus on my studies. Unless we have a private party which means we have to drive back to work it, then come back to Helena for class the next day. On Thursdays, we go grocery shopping for the weekend. We have a short period between classes to get this done, so we have to rush. We start at Costco and get what we can there, then head to Super 1 to get the rest, then we drive back to campus to make it to class on time. Cassie or I will then drive back to White Sulphur Springs that night depending on our schedules. Cassie typically drives back because I often have class Thursday night. For her to make it in time for work, she has to leave for White Sulphur Springs right from class, which is why all of the grocery shopping has to be done before then. She also has to be packed for the weekend because she doesn't come back to Helena until Sunday night or Monday morning. When I do not have class Thursday nights, I try and give Cassie a break and I will drive back, then come back to Helena Friday morning for class. Our weeks go by very fast because we are constantly on the go. We have 5 employees total at The Jawbone and we do a lot of the work ourselves if we can. Often, we will be dishwashing, serving and bartending on slow nights to cut down on payroll. On Friday and Saturday nights, we will have a dishwasher, server and bartender to ensure everyone gets the service they are paying for. We will send people home if it is slow and work ourselves whenever possible to save on payroll.


So, why put ourselves through all of this? Why not hire people to work the nights we have to drive back and forth? Or, when we want to stay and party in Helena with our friends? Because the effort that we put into our business is what makes people come back. If someone has a bad night and something went wrong and we weren't there to fix it, it would fall on our reputation. If we hire people that do not represent our values, then we are not giving people the experience we intended. Being present this first year is really important for building up our client base and ensuring people are getting the best possible service. It is a tough journey that we are on, but we are adapting and learning along the way!

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