The restaurant was in desperate need of some upgrades but my father was being difficult as usual. It was like pulling teeth, talking to Dad about finding commercial lighting solutions. Melbourne stalwarts like him have gone through everything imaginable to keep bread and butter on the table, and change is a threat, even when it’s proven to bring about something more positive.

When you really love something that much, you see no flaws. Our family restaurant has been running for over 40 years. Dad has been seeing perfection since the 70s, and aside from a few paint jobs and mandatory updates, he has flat out refused to budge on renovating. So I did some hardcore research on designer lighting for restaurants and hit him hard with the facts.

So, you can imagine how Dad felt when I told him that the lighting was laughably out of date, and the whole place was looking worse than ever. He’s so proud it nearly broke his heart, but he needed to hear it. Even though we’d made it out of the flooding that damaged the floors a few years ago, he was deluded if he didn’t think people were choosing to eat further up the road because simply, it looked more inviting.

The lighting I spoke to were absolutely fantastic and had dealt with business owners in the same situation as Dad many times over- they knew how to speak to the part of Dad that believed authenticity meant never changing. When I managed to get Dad to just talk to the consultant, he struck up a rapport immediately and they talked about how much had changed for restaurants in the area over the years.

Eventually, Dad was able to see the value in an update. I think the biggest problem was Dad believed big changes might lose the clients we’ve worked hard to keep, He really felt listened to by the consultant we saw and this meant that our mood and feel could be re-produced in a way that didn’t have to mean losing what we’d worked so hard to build – now he’s thinking about reassessing the lighting in our family home, too!