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The Preferred Route To Owning Your Own Restaurant

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello ChefTalk,

I'm a line cook at a Roy's Hawaiian Restaurant. I'm curious to know of the Professional Chefs within this forum that own their own restaurants, what steps were needed to take? Do you work your way up in a restaurant and earn the title of executive chef there under someone else concepts and then break away to start your own restaurant. Someone once told me that if you work in someone else restaurant you will never be someone. That person went on to tell me that the best way to owning your own restaurant is to be a personal chef and build clientele who would then be investors. I think all of us within this industry are grateful these days for TV programs like Top Chef who actually helps to market the unknown chef. I would love your opinions on this from everyone whether you own, have owned or planning to own your own restaurant. Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 8
Owned my own place for close to 12 years now.

This is N. America. All you need to own a retaurant is money. No licenses or special courses to take, no birthright, just money. Period.

Now to own a profitable restaurant, you need lots of experience.

Cooking is the easy part, you need the experience in:

-Finding the money--either with investors or with a lending institution

-Finding the right place/location

-Finding/attracting custoners, and keeping them.

The last one is by far the most important. The source of all money comes from --no not the the bank or investors--from the customer. There are no strings attachted to customer's money--other than goods/seervices provided.

Some Chefs do this by selling excellent meals and providing good ambiance, others think that a song and dance and a bit of showbiz will get butts into seats. Whatever works, works.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #3 of 8
Before I owned and ran my own restaurants, I worked for several years prior to that fixing other peoples' broken restaurants- fixing menus, profitability, staff and training issues. When I finally felt that I had learned enough managing other peoples' restaurants, I began my own. Even with my experience I was barely able to keep afloat the first few years of ownership- there a lot more to operating and managing an entire restaurant than to even fixing an existing place. And that goes far beyond the realm of food.
So my advice is to learn and get as much experience in all fields of restaurant experience under the safety net of being an employee. Not just foh/boh but all the other aspects also- office and financial duties, business management, basic maintainance and janitorial-
The biggest single lesson I learned when I began working for myself? The sheer amount of menial labor I had to do was enormous!
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 #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
How did the money towards owning your own restaurant come about? Was it through your own savings or a network of investors, relationships you've cultivated over the years?
post #5 of 8
The "source" of your money is the least of your concerns, slightly more important than your "cooking ability".

FAR more important is HOW you will use that "money" to generate a return on or "buyout" of that investment.

The sucess or failure of a restaurant does NOT have very much to do with "food", it has to do with getting customers through the door on a consistant and profitable basis.

If you are not "selling the sizzle", the steaks end up in the trash can!
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #6 of 8
Savings, and loans from lending institutions.

The main difference between a lending inst. and private investors is that the inst.'s are very cut and dried about the whole thing: All they care about is your business plan.

Investors, on the other hand may need alot of babysitting, education (Yes, we really need to spend $50,000 on the kitchen if we're going to have 80 seats and another 30 in the bar...) free meals, etc. They can be a lot of work.

I'm a big believer in growing the business as opposed to the "Big bang" way of opening up a business. Start small and grow into the business, expand when neccesary and profitable.

Some of the things you really need to study years before opening a business are:

-Building codes, health codes and zoning information: You could have a friend investor take you by the hand and shown a "wonderfull opportunity". But if the place has a fuse box with little glass bulbs insead of breakers, one parking space, and residential units above this unit, do you have the "know how" to consider or avoid the place?

-Labour codes. In some States (and Provinces...) labour is more a liability than an asset. Know your codes inside and out, everything form hiring and advertising for jobs to payroll, to complaints, to worker's compensation rules.

Plan far ahead. The most important thing is a solid business plan
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great responses
post #8 of 8
Which Roys do you work at?
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
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