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Patio Diner in Blanding, Utah serves speciality hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, homemade onion rings, coleslaw and ice cream, cookies and shakes. The batter for the onion rings are Lana Arthur’s own recipe and her speciality. They also feature homemade salad dressings and cookies. Everything they can make from scratch is done in-house. Lana acquired the coleslaw recipe from a previous owner of the building. She received permission to use the recipe that dates back to an owner from the 1960’s. Patio Diner prides itself on cooking from scratch and to order. Although they serve burgers and fries everything is on the healthy side because they use fresh products and real ingredients.
The restaurant itself was built and established in 1959. It’s been in service since then, but has changed ownership through the years. Lana Arthur is trying to keep the business going because it is iconic and it is the longest running restaurant business in San Juan County. Patio Diner has tried to keep something on the menu from every previous owner. It’s been Lana’s goal to keep something from each era. She prides her restaurant on serving “real food” and the experience of the iconic 50’s style diner.
Acquiring a Restaurant
Lana Arthur is the sole owner and manager of Patio Diner. The story of Lana’s acquisition of the restaurant is very unique. Lana and her husband’s friends purchased the restaurant in February 2008. At the time she gave her friends a lot of grief, in fact her exact words were, “Why on earth would you want to run a restaurant in San Juan County.” Then on August 8th of that same year their friend’s spouse died in a tragic plane accident. Initially Lana’s husband started managing the restaurant for the widow from October 2008 until May 2009 when Lana and her husband decided to buy the diner.
Neither had big dreams of being entrepreneurs or running a business. In the beginning Lana’s husband did all the in-house business and she took care of the accounting side. She took classes to learn how to do payroll, taxes and all the accounting aspects of the diner. In 2013 Lana’s husband took another job and she took over sole ownership of the business. She was a bit mad the first year of running everything on her own. She struggled with managing her employees and feels like some of the hardest lessons she learned have been in employee management and developing employees that want to serve her company and serve it well. She had to learn how to “lead out” and inspire them to feel vested in the company.
After a year of being on her own Lana discovered that she had an innate business sense and that there were a lot of things that just came naturally to her. She has done a lot of experimenting to find out what does and doesn’t work. Lana isn’t sure she would have been as driven as she was if she had been given a choice in sole ownership. Now looking back she says, “ I wouldn’t have done it any other way, I would do it a 100 times over again.” In fact, “I even see myself in my long-term goals selling this business and buying another business that is failing.”
Lana believes the hardest part of being a new business owner is the learning curve and this applies to any business not just the restaurant industry. Her advice is to seek knowledgeable, successful people in your field and see if you can utilize them. Also seek mentorship and find someone who can guide you. She believes, “Every industry has tricks of the trade and you need to learn them to be successful.” She decided to not do things the way they have always been done and has sought out successful people in the restaurant business for help and advice. She believes her success today is not because she knew how to do it, it’s because she found people who did and followed their advice. The main thing people need to remember when starting out in business, according to Lana, is “Do not limit yourself because of your fears, you will always be afraid of things, but do not let those fears hold you back.” “ If you have a dream you’ll find a way.”
Lana was awarded the Small Business Development Center 2018 Client of the Year from the Moab SBDC and she was also featured on the Utah SBDC cover of their Success publication for 2018.
If you are in Blanding, Utah you can find Patio Diner at 95 N Grayson Pkwy and even order your food online!
Check them out on Facebook at Patio Diner and keep up to date with the latest happenings and specials!
If you want to see some mouth watering pictures of their food you can follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/patiodiner/top/