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Adapting for Success in Ontario East

Ontario East

The Royal Coachman Restaurant just outside Napanee is celebrating 25 years in business – and 25 years of adapting for success.

Owner Randy Farrar wasn’t sure what to expect when he and his family first arrived in Napanee a quarter century ago, but he soon learned good things about his new home “We met people who helped us out. We saw the community spirit. It is a nice small environment and we felt safe here. That helped us adapt in what we were doing with the restaurant.”

Farrar was also able to find a niche for the Royal Coachman, which is a “destination” restaurant – in other words, a place where people go for special occasions. “After discovering that, it became easier. We know what people expected of us, and we knew what we had to do to promote our business to people here.”

Farrar says customer service is so important and that means not just doing a great job when the customer is there. “When I’m cooking their meal, I’m also thinking about their next visit and how to add some value so they will come back. For example, we don’t have heat lamps, so we have to make sure the meals go out right away and don’t sit and get cold.”

Having three servers, each with more than 20 years experience also has its rewards. “They know how to help our customers without pushing something on them.”

Napanee’s quality of life plays a crucial role. Farrar has noticed that as his family grew in the community, the community also grew. He cites the Lennox and Addington County General Hospital as an example. “A few years ago we might have thought that we should move to Kingston. But now, that’s not even important. We have a good hospital. If something major happened, I feel now that if you’ve got a chance of making it, then they can pull it off too.”

The Royal Coachman Restaurant is located on Highway #2, just one kilometer east of Napanee. Originally a 19th century stagecoach stop, today the Royal Coachman has four cozy dining rooms on the main floor with seating for up to 70, as well as a banquet room on the lower level They have also added a Venue Tent which can be used for a number of different events including weddings, meetings and private parties.


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