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Why Is Running An Italian Restaurant Like Performing On Stage?

Apr 9, 2021 - 1:20pm

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Why Is Running An Italian Restaurant Like Performing On Stage?

Did you know that our restaurant manager, Fabio, is also a professional dancer? Let’s take a look behind the scenes of his life’s two passions and find out what they have in common.


Fabio’s dance background

“I’ve always loved dance! And I’ve always loved to perform for an audience. I remember dancing around the house with and singing into a mop for my family in the evenings. And like the food we serve at La Spaghettata, I guess that’s where it all started.


“I decided to study dance at the Victorian College of the Arts in the early 90s. Back then, my Mum and Dad were still running the restaurant and taking care of us kids at the same time.

“I didn’t know this then, but all my stage training was going to come in handy for restaurant management.”


Restaurant floor versus dance floor

“Mauro and I started running La Spaghettata together in 2004, to give our parents a break. By then, I’d been dancing and touring for decades. They seem like two very different careers, but they’re really all about performance.”


The audience in the dining room

“In the restaurant, our customers are our audience. They come wanting the same thing: quality, consistency. To feel welcome and to have their senses entertained.

“Ultimately, we want our diners to leave feeling the same way you would after an excellent show: satisfied, feeling good, but also wanting more.”


Restaurant manager as ringmaster

“Honestly, sometimes it can all get a bit chaotic, but it’s my job to keep everything in line and on schedule. Like a stage manager, or a circus ringmaster.

“And as the leader of my staff and the face of La Spaghettata, I have to make sure I look calm well-presented, and set an example for everyone.

“Even if my energy is flagging, I make sure I take a quick break backstage, have a glass of water, and return to the floor with a smile and uplifting energy!”


Rehearsals and preparation

“We plan carefully to make sure we’re ready for our performance, or restaurant service, each night.

“The kitchen is stocked, our staff have memorised the specials, and the tableware is sparkling. Everyone’s uniforms are clean and pressed. We even make sure the music and the lighting are right.

“That’s just the daily show. No one sees the months and years of training and experience we and our staff have had in hospitality to bring them the dining experience they enjoy.

“But that is our goal, isn’t it? They should have so much fun that they don’t even have to think about the effort behind the performance. That effort is our job, not theirs.”


It’s about the customer

“You may not know every story, but you’ve probably played a part in someone’s life story. Their first date night. Their family celebration. Their first Italian meal. Their first time in Melbourne.

“Both the restaurant business and performance take a lot of energy. There’s nothing like going home, feeling exhausted, and with your feet hurting, but knowing that for a night, or even for an hour or so, you made someone happy.

“We know about some of these stories, because they become our regulars, and come back every year to celebrate their happy memories with us again and again.

“And it’s stories like these that remind us why we do what we do – for family and connection.”


Come visit La Spaghettata

It’s so good to see Lygon Street busy again, and we’d love you to come join us, and be part of our La Spaghettata family! Have a look at our a la carte and set menus, book a table, and bring a hearty appetite for authentic Italian food.

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