The idea of owning a restaurant appeals to many people, especially those who perceive it as glamorous or a symbol of prestige. The restaurateur role has seduced a number of well-known sports and entertainment figures and personalities.
Self-proclaimed chefs dream of opening their own restaurants, confident that their talents will result in successful enterprises, in spite of the high percentage of new restaurant failures each year.
Starting a Restaurant
When starting a restaurant there are countless decisions to make, and making just one wrong decision in any of these areas can result in the failure of the business. Consider the location, menu, building design, marketing and training of the staff. Once the business gets going the work has just begun, with daily management and overseeing the staff.
The location alone can make or break the business. While you might select a good area, you may choose the wrong street. Two identical establishments situated just one street apart, might result in one being wildly successful while the other a dismal failure. Causes for the difference include a variety of possible factors, such as street exposure, visibility and access.
Creating the menu does not just involve planning delicious meals that will appeal to your customers. The ingredients must be obtainable at a cost, which will allow you to price the menu to make a profit, yet still be affordable to clients. If a restaurant hopes to make 10 percent of its gross sales as the profit, there is very little room for food waste. Another consideration is the cost of food preparation. Some meals are more labor intensive than others, requiring additional prep time.
Even if you have the ideal location, menu and marketing strategy, poor management will be the downfall of the restaurant. Restaurants require constant supervision to maintain consistent product. It takes just one bad meal for an unsatisfied customer to spread the word that your restaurant has horrible food.
If a server, cook, bartender or dishwasher fails to show up for work, someone has to be ready to jump in to do the work. Often that someone is the restaurant manager. Restaurants require continual cleaning, with floors needing daily washing. Refrigeration storage requires regular rotating, and improper food handling can make customers seriously sick.
Being a successful restaurateur is not a part time job; it require long hours, commitment and hard work. For those that enjoy the work, and love working with people, the business can be rewarding.