Bravotv.com: How difficult was it managing the launch of Top Dog?
Marissa Hermer: Opening Top Dog is definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done - there is an overwhelming amount of pressure and responsibility with opening a restaurant in one of the most competitive marketplaces in the world. I’ve heard that starting a new business is like having a child - and actually I do see similarities. It is very fun to conceive (yehaaaaw!), the gestation period is less fun, and then for the first year, you barely sleep and feel like you are never going to get your head above water. And then, often restaurateurs, like parents, have a memory-eraser that makes us forget how challenging it all is and we do it all over again with another one. I’m reminding myself of this now as we are looking for another Top Dog site to open - and thinking I’m crazy to sign myself up to the madness!
Bravotv.com: Did you end up incorporating Annabelle's advice about the hats and branding?
MH: Of course I did! Annabelle knows her stuff - and I feel really lucky and grateful to have her as a friend to share her expertise! Our team wears our hats and t-shirts that were inspired by Annabelle’s suggestions - they love them and our Top Dog customers often ask to buy them too!
Bravotv.com: Were you surprised Caroline Fleming was so put off by your cougar joke?
MH: I got carried away with heckling Caroline Fleming at bowling and took her t-shirt nickname joke too far. I immediately called Caroline on my way home from bowling and apologized. What I said was inappropriate and I’m very sorry that I offended Caroline - especially because I don’t actually think age matters in a relationship.