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i want to own my own restaurant

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
i want to start the ball rolling on my own restaurant, but haven't got the slightest idea were to begin. any owners with any suggestion on what to and not to do.
thanks:bounce:
post #2 of 31
First, ask yourself WHY you want to own a restaurant, and come back with your answers. Then we can talk. :D
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 31
I second the opinion.
post #4 of 31
amen
post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 
i want to cook my food and do things the way i want them to be done. i have an idea of the great restaurant i know that i can put together.
why does it seem that i get resounding "no don't even think of it" 's on this subject?
is it really not the thing to do and be unsatisfied putting out a product that you know can be better, but you have to because an owner has told you to do like that?
please enlighten me
post #6 of 31
It is a fantastic vision to want to own your own place to express your creativity. If the creative aspect was the only item with which to contend, the restuarant scene would be much different. What you must be aware of, is the STAGGERING amount of work involved with owning/operating a restaurant. Also, you mention "you have to because an owner has told you to do like that"; who else is going to do it? Remember, if you own a restaurant, you need employees that will do things the way YOU want them... unless you plan to do everything yourself.
Just some food for thought.

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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post #7 of 31
The reason I asked you to think about WHY has a lot to do with what Jim just said. Too many people think that being an owner means that you get to sit around at the bar, welcoming your friends. Or that you have nothing to do but cook your favorite dishes all the time. Or even :eek: that you can make money! Owning a restaurant is the same as owning any other business -- except that it's more like owning about 20 different businesses at the same time.

Let's just say that we will sometimes simulate the "trial by fire" (and by water, and pestilence, and war, and all those other bad things ;) all of which do, in fact, happen in restaurants) to test whether or not you have what it takes to make it. Some of us are restaurant owners or have food-related businesses; some are professional cooks (a very, very few actually have earned the right to be called chefs or pastry chefs -- yes, there is a BIG difference); some work as caterers; some teach. We are all passionate about food and feeding people -- and about doing the absolute best we can in all ways. It may sound far-fetched to refer to it as an exclusive club, but really that's what it is. And so before we'll even consider teaching you the "secret handshake" we want to have a sense that you are "worthy."

So if you have an idea that you really, really, REALLY want to execute, start reading and studying and working. Not just about food and cooking, but also about how to run a business, and about math and accounting, and psychology, and languages, and history, and plumbing -- in other words, everything you'd need to be successful. And if all that seems too daunting (which of course it is, all at one time), take it in small steps. Practice your cooking at home while you learn the other aspects of the business and of managing people. Or start working as a cook somewhere, and bit by bit work on learning the rest.

If you haven't looked around ChefTalk much yet, please do! You're not the first to ask about this, and so you'll find lots more advice. And don't give up your dream. :D
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #8 of 31
gather money, then get some more, set a budget, then get some more money. Then, when you've think you've got enough, go get double that amount.
Then you can begin your ride.:D
Good Luck

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #9 of 31
I second that Panini. Don't think about using cash flow to survive. It might not be enough. Please take our words to heart. Good food is not enough. You really need to be able to run the business. Of the little things like workmans comp rising 270% over the last 3 yrs. with no claims. Liability ins. hard to come by with a fair premium. Dead beat ex-employees whom the state decides that you need to pay unemployment to even though they were caught stealing. The lawyer fees, the accountant and on and on......
Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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post #10 of 31
Hey fodigger you forgot dealing with the raging alcoholics crackheads and garden variety nutjobs lol.
post #11 of 31
One reason is that most owners are both ultra conservative yet paranoid at the same time. They MUST be able to be in control of the situation at all times. Stick with what they know because they have the same risks and responsibilities they had before they hired you and will still have long after you are gone. That is how they survive. That is how they stay consistant. And if and when you open your own restaurant you will end up feeling the same way.
PS- If a person hires you to consult on their business, that is great. If a person hires you to fill an existing position, chances are that they are not looking for advise, however good it is.
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #12 of 31
I had a friend some years ago who was a Restaurant/Food Service consultant for one of the "Big 10" accounting firms (yes, THAT long ago).

His take was that over 90% of new restaurants failed in 18 months or less, and that the main reason was undercapitalization -- just not enough dough in reserve to weather the lean times until they built up a clientele.

Bad food, poor service and poor location contributed but, with deeper pockets, many might have survived long enough to overcome the problems.

At the time, I was looking at a number of investment properties, one of which housed a restaurant. I half-jokingly suggested that I might buy the building and open the restaurant myself (It was vacant at the time). His response was that it would be quicker and less painful to draw out all my savings in cash and set fire to the whole thing!


:eek:
Dave Bowers
"First, slice an onion..."
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Dave Bowers
"First, slice an onion..."
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post #13 of 31
djnagle,you say you want your own restaurant,here`s a few other things to think about:
1)Do you have the patience of a saint? You`ll need it!!
2)Do you know the right people with the relevant skills & knowledge to help you to see your dream come to life?
3)How much do you know about business accounting,employment law,sales & marketing,etc?
4)Are you a good role model,i.e. can you motivate people,do you like to lead by example.
5Can you train other people? Are you multi-skilled?
I hope this helps you as well as all the excellent advice other people have given you.

Good luck,Leo.
post #14 of 31
I highly suggest two things.

1) Come up with a business plan. Cost everything out. The cost of Labor, Parts, Re Decorating, Lease, Insurance etc....

90% of my students enroll in culinary school with the intention of opening up their own restaurants. After their restaurant business project, only 20% still want to pursue that dream.
What they found out was...

it takes a minimum of 300k to open up a restaurant in LA and the average profit range is 3-10%. if your even lucky enough to make a profit
So what that translate is if you are lucky to have a 3% profit in your first year of business you need to make 1 million dollars in revenue in order to make 30 k a year for yourself. Trust me, most restaurants that have been around for a while have a hard time making 1 million a year

2) If you are still interested in owning a restaurant. Take at least 3 years working in restaurants with concepts very similar to yours. Find out how they do business..not just food.
Work out your kinks at these restaurants. I hate to say it but.... if you make a mistake, they pay for it. The worst that can happen is you get fired. I would rather lose a job than my life savings.

and remember...When or if, you open up your restaurant. You don't own it, it owns you.
Protect the animals. Eat an activist
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Protect the animals. Eat an activist
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post #15 of 31
djnagle. We aee here fo all your questions, big or small. Use us as a sounding board.You must decelope the liver terchnigue, You will hear lots of crap, sort through the ceap and save what may come in handy later. I procrastinated my dream for 10 years had couod have been retired by now.I'm here for ya and havean opem mind.
Jeff

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #16 of 31
I once thought I wanted my own restaurant.

Then I downgraded to just wanting to be head chef.

Now, I just want to be one of the line cooks at my MIL's place.

In the past few months I've seen the headaches that go along with the business. The equipment problems, the line cook with the drinking problem (I had to also do his job once since he came in too drunk to stand and we were afraid that his breath might catch on fire), staff turnovers, price increases from distributors, trying to figure out where to get $20k for the new air conditioning system. And those are just the minor inconveniences.

I think you have to plan your business right and compile a list of people who can perform specialized jobs in order for your business to run as it should be and not as you imagine.

Jodi
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #17 of 31
Here, here!
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #18 of 31
Something else to consider is are you a cook or an entrepeneur? I think cooking is the easy part of operating a restaurant. Lets face it- its the part that we know a little about.
When we first started talking to the SBA about restaurant financing, one guy suggested reading a book called "The E Myth". Good cheap advice for people wanting to start their own business. I actually wish you well on opening a place of your own. That book mentioned a horrible statistic- 80% of small businesses close within 5 years...Good luck and then some...
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #19 of 31
Don't get yourself down. There are plenty of restaurant types out there which will allow you a life as well. Some of the most successful restaurants are lunch only office building restaurants. Owner operator sandwich shops, morning only pastry and coffee joints. Getting a good deal on your real estate is key. Some of the most high traffic areas in office buildings can be had for pretty cheap because there's traffic only from 7-3, Mon-Fri. Add a self-serve salad bar, paper plates and plastic cups, and you're back home in time for the Simpsons, everyday. Plus you're at your kid's hockey game Saturday night. What a deal.

Kuan
post #20 of 31
Thread Starter 

thank you

thank you for all the input. please keep it coming. i will invite you all to the opening party. it'll be byob with a potluck dinner.
later
post #21 of 31

the good things about opening up a restaurant

A chef and two of his line cooks were walking home drunk after a busy night at the restaurant. Their wages were so low they could barely afford rent or a car. Their jackets were soiled, they smelled like grease, and the rain had them soaked. On the way home they looked inside a window of a house and saw a picture perfect family. Mom and dad were sitting at the fireplace reading to their kid while their dog laid at their feet. The chef then looked at his line cooks and asked them the question “ How could they possibly live like that?”
The moral of the story is the 9-5 job, 2.4 kids and a white picket fence senario is NOT for everyone. The restaurant industry is bad for you physically and emotionally. But mentally it is a great job. No let me change that "ITS A GREAT LIFE".
The same people on this board who are telling you all the stressful aspects of the restaurant industry are the same people who are working and/or owning restaurants. And we don't tell you that do discourage you from chasing your dream. We say that with the intention of learning from the common mistakes and misconceptions of opening up a restaurants.

Ask yourself 3 questions.

1) Do you LOVE food?
2) Do you LOVE people?
3) Do you LOVE the challange of multitasking, taking risk, handling stress, and working nights and weekends?

If you answer yes to 1 and 2: Congratulations! Throw lots of dinner parties.

If you answer yes to 1, 2, & 3 then learn, save money and open up a restaurant in the near future.

I have tried to get away from the restaurant industry many of times to find out one thing. I would rather chop onions till 2am than wear a tie every morning.
Protect the animals. Eat an activist
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Protect the animals. Eat an activist
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post #22 of 31
Thread Starter 
thank you for putting it all into perspective.
post #23 of 31
There is an underlying motivation in everything we say or do. Sometimes others see it better than we do if we don't possess a brutal honesty with ourselves. The first reply summed it up, "Why do you want to own your own resaurant?" Do you want to make alot of money (why?)? Do you get oppositional and defensive when someone else tells you to do something (if so, why?) Do you want to show other people what great taste you have? Do you want to make your parents proud? Do you want to prove every one who said you couldn't do it wrong?
You can learn from other peoples mistakes. I've just read 5 books about the trials and tribulations of other entrepreneurs and restaurant chef's and just beginning California Dish by JT.
There is a difference between managers and entreprenuers and chefs. There is a difference between leaders and managers. Very few are good at both. Find out which one are you.

-Quartermaster
"My kitchen years are written on my hands."
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"My kitchen years are written on my hands."
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post #24 of 31
BYOB!!!!!!! see, already you don't have enough funds.
I'm here for ya buddy, Been on my own for 10 yrs. I pick my son up everyday from school at 3 pm and spend the rest of the day together, oh yea, with the wife too.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #25 of 31
hiya. mmmm, own a restaurant or be a professional rich dude. I know what i want to be (but only due to chronic laziness).

Without raining on one's parade, i can honestly tell you that cookery is rough on the personal life. Above that, it can be an extremely enriching experience. It is also a highly stressful situation.

Others in this post have said that a NPAT is around 3-10%. Current custom and practice suggests that this is right.

Now for the home truths. You like this method of cookery. Fine - how many people like it as well? - the target market is going to dictate to you what they want, not vice versa. Remember, what would you prefer? a empty restaurant that caters solely to your needs and wishes, or an establishment that rocks your jocks (but makes you shake your head at what the customers order)

So the morale to the above, is that set your own desires apart - cause there is a possibility that what you offer, is not what people want. This can be only ascertained by a concerted preopening marketing campaign.

As for an 80% failure rate in businesses, this can be attributed to a lack of forward planning. If the above falls into place, then the next phases of financial, legal, logistical, industrial relations/organisational behaviour planning will also fall into place.

With regards to Vzank's "You dont own the place, the place owns you" should ring alarm bells. If your hiring policies are in place, then you will have knowledgeable staff to delegate tasks. If there is problems with the responsibilities given to staff, then you will have to revisit your hiring/induction policies to evaluate the process.

The short answer, is that if you plan thoroughly, the odds are on your side. If this is an act of passion, there is a slim chance of success.

bottom line - plan and research.
"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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post #26 of 31
I agree totally with vzank and panini, I have to Restaurants and for 2 years has been very hard slog and now showing a profit, have enough money for at least 6 months, check lease very very carefully, do not get locked in to a long lease. be prepared for staff that do not have the same desires as yourself, be aware that you work your behind off,set about all the tasks everyone else has mentioned. cost everything out food, labour,power,wastage, stock loss whether it be food, cutlery or crockery.
Train your staff well and if you have a Business partner ask yourself would you trust that person with your life and good luck, it is worth it but Gosh! it is hardddddddddd work :)))
=^..^=
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=^..^=
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post #27 of 31
This thread is on owning a restaurant, there are many other creative things to do in the industry and there are a whole lot of archived threads on that ....If you have little capital then personal cheffing is an option and the pros/cons are available ....(sorry still have not worked out how to put the archived shtuff on current pages.) Then of course there is the writing aspect....so many cities need food writers. Then catering is a different set of skills, I have found that catering offers what I want the most....bigger bang for the effort. I can do a party for 150 and make several thousand in one night with the same amount of work that would net a much smaller amount if I were doing anything else. Though I tell you teaching is the most labor intensive and the most rewarding for me. Consulting is pretty cool, I really enjoy getting paid to tell people what I know....my problem is generally working a project more than the agreed upon amount and just eating the time....Time=money....though this is a short learning curve and I increase my cost every year to compensate for the output. Now I have been offered a gig writing recipes and getting info for a national magazine...How much time and supplies will go into this rpoject?????It's a crap shoot but I love the opportunity to PLAY.
So, again there are different ways of making a living playing with foodand others....They don't involve a restaurant, I have turned down several ventures recently because they just do not suit my personality...in the midst of this e-mail I just got another job lining up a patron class for a benefit I'm already working on....that consulting shtuff again. Good luck and know that there are options available.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #28 of 31
djnagle.
tune into the style network tonight at 9ct and watch what a waiter will do to my work. I haven't seen it yet but it doesn't look good.
Follow your dreams. as long as the bills are being paid and you're happy, that's all that counts.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #29 of 31
so panini was that your cake at the center. The one the waiter stuck his thumb in? They did a nice job hiding it. Pretty cake by the way. I saw the show on Monday night.
Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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post #30 of 31
Not much to add here, but I can't stress the capital part. You need lots $$$! For me it's been four years and I am still not out of the woods yet.
" I hate people who do not take their meals seriously" Oscar Wilde
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" I hate people who do not take their meals seriously" Oscar Wilde
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