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post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I have worked in the restaurant business for twenty years and now I want to own my own restaurant. I have done it all from dishwasher to Manager. The problem is I seem to be at a loss for where to start. Should I buy a restaurant or start from scatch? Where can I get a loan? Is it better to do breakfast/lunch or lunch/dinner or all three? Help

Happy Brian
post #2 of 4
If we only knew the answers to these questions...

IMO people who wanna jump in headfirst should start with a small sandwich lunch only joint. Then decide if this is the life for you.

Buying a place is risky, especially if the place is trendy. In this day and age, trends don't last unless you're Charlie Trotter. 8-10 years. If it's a restaurant that's seen its prime then you should reconsider unless you're, uh, Homaru Cantu.

If the restaurant you're buying has changed hands more than once in the recent past, be wary. This may be what we call a dead restaurant space. For some reason the space doesn't work.

Where to get money? Start with your own. Investors want to see that you have some financial stake before they hand over their chips.
post #3 of 4
There are so many if's ands and buts, but let me give you some pointers based on what I've read and experienced.

First off, I am by no means an experienced restaurateur. I am a line cook in a fairly busy hotel with a #1 steak restaurant.

For taking over an existing:
- More often than not by a large margin...if a previous restaurant has failed in a certain location then all changes of ownership will fail as well.
- Business will be slow at first because people will still think it's either the slummy or just slow restaurant that exists there...or if it was unoccupied for a while then they think it still is. Because of this...you will have to spend a lot more on advertising.
- If it's an area that used to be somewhat slummy but is now developing...you will be the decrepit old building compared to what's being built.
-From what I've seen...even if a facility was disgusting but it still received an A rating from the health department...the inspector will probably be a lot more harsh on the new owner and you will have to incur all of those costs to bring everything up to par.
-If it used to be a successful business...it can be a successful business again.
-Purveyors might be more willing to extend you credit than if you started a new business.
-If it's an area that used to be somewhat slummy but is now developing...you will attract a clientele of hopefully wealthier guests.

Building a new building:
-Dealing with everyone related to the construction from scheduling, time, contractors, building inspectors, health inspectors, costs, health inspectors, building inspectors, contractors, COSTS
-Hiring an all new staff that you know nothing about, and having to weed out the bad ones and hire half of an all new staff
-Purveyors will most likely charge you COD.
-You can design the building/kitchen/dining room exactly how you want
-I don't want it to seem like I'm favoring buying an existing facility...I just can't think of anymore positives.

By no means have I told a significant amount nor I do I know anything about owning a restaurant as I've only been in the business two years as a cook...but I'd like to think I've learned a thing or two about business from my parents and doing construction related jobs for small companies where I was involved in a lot of the decision making. I just hope this helps you.
post #4 of 4
do your home work, as in real estate, location, location, location, look around to see who your clientele is going to be, find out what licenses you will need, permits, taxes, utilities, if you have the money to buy the building, that would be good, it is real estate, if you rent, count the cost, your landlord will be making the money, a resturant is considered a high risk, so finding a loan could be difficult, people have opened on a shoe string and done well, again its location, do you have the time and energy to put in to it,there are so many variables, the upside is you are the boss and you call the shots, the downside, an empty resturant sucks. do the foot work and make a business plan, pay yourself a good salary and go for the gold, good luck, it could be like a roller coaster ride, keep a positive attitude and have fun with it. :smiles:
"what doesn't destroy me, makes me stronger"
"what doesn't destroy me, makes me stronger"
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