Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Opening Your Own Restaurant

The restaurant business is a popular industry. If being a restaurateur is your dream you need to first do an honest check-in with yourself to see if this is the career for you. You can get started by asking yourself these five questions: 

  • Are you prepared to work significantly more than you would at a standard full-time job?

During the first few years of starting your own business (especially a restaurant that is likely open longer than the typical 9-5 business hours) will require you to work long days —  often 14 hours or more. You’d also likely need to always be there during the weekend (which is typically a restaurant’s busiest time of the week ) until you have regular staff that you feel can handle anything when you’re away. 

  • Am I able to go a period of time without paying myself during the start-up phase? 

There are a lot of start-up costs when you’re first getting things up and running with a new business. You’ll need to purchase or rent a location, pay staff, and unless you rent a pre-existing space that has been used as a restaurant you’ll be spending money on big purchases like ovens all the way down to the small purchases such as menus and business cards

  • Do I have what it takes to manage other people?

Management is not for everyone. Managing others can be a lot of emotional labor. It is especially tough to manage family and friends and quite common for new restaurant owners to have a family member running things because they trust them with the cash flow of a restaurant. 

  • What will make your restaurant stand out from other restaurants in the area? 

If you’re going to sell something similar that other restaurants in the same neighborhood are selling, what specifically makes your dishes stand out? How will your customer service be a step ahead of the competition? Will you be able to compete at the same price point? 

Perhaps your restaurant is the only Italian restaurant in the neighborhood that has its own parking lot, saving your customers from paying for street parking or having a far walk. Maybe you have found a great deal on ingredients to offer a killer lunch special. Or maybe you have your grandmother’s pasta recipe that friends and family have begged you to give them for years as a secret weapon that you’re sure will bring the whole neighborhood in. 

Make sure to think about the neighborhood that you’re planning to put your restaurant. Will the type of food you plan to serve be something that interests the people living around you? Will the price point of your dishes be something they find affordable? 

  • What would the initial investment be?

This will vary based on many things but the cost is primarily based on the size of the restaurant, the location, and whether you will be purchasing the building or renting it. 

There are the costs to open and get started and then there are the back up costs you need such as enough savings to pay staff if it takes longer to get the ball rolling than you expected, extra funds on reserve if you open and a pipe immediately bursts or you suddenly realize you need an extra oven. 

Opening a restaurant is a lot of work, but if you’re invested and you plan ahead, you can do it! 

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