Just because your great at the grill and your friends say you should open a bar-b-q joint , or you make a mouth-watering chili, or a heavenly deserts, doesn't mean you can run a successful restaurant.
It is a very demanding stressful business that can get the better of you quickly. The behind the scenes goings on are many and you will have to wear many hats to be successful. The start-up is an incredibly demanding time so here a few things that you should take into consideration.
If you want people to come to your restaurant you have to be in a high traffic or high-profile area. Just because you find an existing restaurant with thousands of dollars of equipment, tables, exhaust hoods and fire control systems, doesn't mean its going to work for you. There is a reason the previous place failed and you don't want to follow in their footsteps.
Don't try to be everything to everyone. Do breakfast and lunch and be the best. Or do lunch and dinner and be damn good at that. Don't try to do all three, the hours will kill you if you do.
Many restaurants disregard this rule and end up not being good at anything. Or failing establishments that have operated as lunch and dinner places try to open for breakfast or brunch to grab a few elusive dollars to stay afloat.
This goes a little in hand with concept, but it is ultra important that you keep the menu items under control . A basic rule is no more then ten items per section and preferably things that a variations of each other to lessen your stock overhead and prep time. Such as chicken wraps different ways, omelets different ways, burgers different ways. I think you get the drift.
This is the elephant in the room of all businesses. This can kill you with a thousand cuts. No matter how many people walk through your door, you could turn over 50,000 a week or 500 your fixed overhead will remain the same.
So when you calculate your minimum turnover to survive remember you will probably turn over less. Try not to incur many fixed items or leases . A hundred here a hundred there all adds up to disaster when business takes a dive, even a seasonal dive.
Now this is often overlooked. Try and find someone who is in the business, obviously someone who wont be a competitor to you, and milk him or her for information. You will be surprised that most restaurant owners will share their experiences and opinions with you. They are wealth of information and if you listen you can avoid expensive mistakes and pitfalls .
Now it isn't all bad, if you do manage to survive two years in the business chances are you have made a success of yourself. You may not have made a fortune, but your life has certainly changed.
Your circle of friends has changed as well probably including other local restaurant owners who will frequent your establishment and you there's. It is great to have like-minded people that you can bounce ideas off and ask advice.
Now some parting words. There is nothing more rewarding then seeing a buspan full of almost clean plates returning to the kitchen because your patrons ate every scrap. Or a waitress asking you to come see a customer that is gushing about how much he or she enjoyed their meal and dining experience. If you truly care about your customers wants and needs, it will show and they will become loyal to your business, and it in turn will grow. The best advertising you will ever have is word of mouth.
I wish you great luck in your endeavors but please be careful and listen to your head as well as your heart.