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What is the Worst (hardest?/most unpleasant?) part of Opening a Restaurant?

 
 
Reply Wed 28 Dec, 2011 11:25 pm
For me so far it is that I missed some of the tenant improvements that I need to do, stuff that I did not notice was wrong with the place when I did my walk throughs while it was occupied by previous tenant. This burns me up, I like to think that generally smart guys like me can avoid most of the rookie mistakes.

What say you?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 11,563 • Replies: 128

 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Dec, 2011 11:31 pm
@hawkeye10,
I deny having sufficient knowledge or information to form a belief on that subject.





David
hawkeye10
 
  -2  
Reply Wed 28 Dec, 2011 11:44 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

I deny having sufficient knowledge or information to form a belief on that subject.





David


The only A2k'er (former) I know of who was in the biz is IdiotBill, and he failed, so I doubt I get much out of this thread, but it is worth a try.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 12:07 am
@hawkeye10,
Good luck with the thread n the restaurant.





David
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  3  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 12:59 am
@hawkeye10,
Calculating the cost of items on your menu and being sure to correctly forecast and account for all operating expenses in your pricing formulas, not just the food costs.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 01:03 am
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:

Calculating the cost of items on your menu and being sure to correctly forecast and account for all operating expenses in your pricing formulas, not just the food costs.


Have you owned or managed a food service operation?
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 01:03 am
@hawkeye10,
Yes.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 01:06 am
@hawkeye10,
There are a few here who have owned/managed food service operations. One that immediately comes to mind is Linkat and her husband. They used to own a Quiznos franchise.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 01:14 am
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:

There are a few here who have owned/managed food service operations. One that immediately comes to mind is Linkat and her husband. They used to own a Quiznos franchise.


DAMN...and as I recall that did not work out well but I never knew that their failed business was a Quiznos. Most of the Quiznos around here are gone or are in deep trouble because they have completely failed to compete with Subway, so it was not their fault.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 01:30 am
@hawkeye10,
Butrflynet wrote:
There are a few here who have owned/managed food service operations. One that immediately comes to mind is Linkat and her husband. They used to own a Quiznos franchise.
hawkeye10 wrote:
they have completely failed to compete with Subway, so it was not their fault.
O? Whose fault is failure to compete??
FOUND SOUL
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 04:58 am
@OmSigDAVID,
O
Quote:
? Whose fault is failure to compete??

Franchises have alot to answer for, there is advertising getting the mark up right, getting the "franchise known" ou buy into it, trust the figgers or at least you should have gotten your Accountant to check that out before buying into it.
Quote:


Others with "money" will find better products and always compete it can be a lose, lose you really need to do homework.

Not answering your thread Hawkeye soooooo want to though:) Keep an eye on the staff and cash dockets, shirt I answered.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 07:40 am
The most difficult thing will be to find and keep reliable help.
(you don't say what kind of rest. you now have, but consider senior citizens for your staff. They are reliable and will show up, even when there is a rock concert in town)

The next thing is consistency in food quality. Some rest. have one cook from Mon thru Thurs. then have the best cook on the weekends. That's a killer.

Next thing is to get a manager who will not rip you off and is completely dedicated to the success of your venture. Hire the best and pay him/her well.

Dealing with the Dept. of Health will also be challenging.

Good luck.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 04:57 pm
@hawkeye10,
Good luck. There are a number of posters with past and current food industry/resto experience here.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 05:05 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

Good luck. There are a number of posters with past and current food industry/resto experience here.


Thanks....part of the downside of using A2K as a place to argue facts and morals (ie expand the mind) instead of trying to be chummy is that I come off as not particularity likable, so I have no right to expect much out of a thread such as this. I thought that I would give it a go anyways.....
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 05:17 pm
@hawkeye10,
btrflynet's post was useful.

the shortform I was taught decades ago was " the money is in the buying, not in the selling"

~~~

what was brought to my attention again very recently while watching a resto go under (friends were peripherally involved) is that it's vital to have an experienced manager who can control the relationships/communications between the kitchen and the front of the house - sort of an expeditor+

hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 05:27 pm
@ehBeth,
I am there running the place 60 hours a week for the first year. Then I will transition out a bit as we expand....Q5 I plan to start a food truck, with maybe a second truck sometime in the second year, and then we open a second store on the other side of Ft Lewis in year three. My banker has already agreed to finance the food trucks assuming that the concept takes off. I have been a chef and a manager of foodservice for the military ( contract service on three different bases over the years) and the state of Washington, so I am not too concerned about management.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 05:36 pm
@hawkeye10,
Try to prevent your staff from stealing your property.





David
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  3  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 07:13 pm
In my experience, no. 1 is LOCATION, no. 2 is FOOD, and no. 3 is RELIABLE and likeable staff.

This, of course, assumes you have the business plan down right.

If the location is shitty, you just won't get the custom. If the food is shitty, ditto. And if your staff are inconsistent, don't show up, or are rude or inattentive/over attentive or don't know what's on the menu, ditto.

You should watch some Diners, Drive-ins an Dives episodes to see what people like.

Very few restaurants actually make money or stay in business long and even the ones that do stay in business don't make a great deal of money unless they are winners in all three areas.

The trick is to have some cheap and easy to prepare foods to serve that will save you money (pastas, for example). And prep styles really matter. It might save the kitchen time to dip the fish in batter and refrigerate it, but it's totally gross to pull it out later and cook it as is or double-dip it - wrong, wrong, wrong! The batter is hard and it pulls away from the fish and it's too crunchy, and it's just wrong on so many levels.

Also, if your prep staff don't rotate the food, there's a lot of food wastage. If your dishwasher equipment isn't up to snuff, there goes money down the drain repairing it all the time, plus your dishwashing staff get frustrated.

Hiring teens can be a real problem - not always or all the time, but hey, they're not invested in it like you are. I would hire seniors, too, as long as they can handle their jobs.

But like a receptionist, the first people the customers see is the wait staff. Presentable and personable, and don't argue with the customer. Don't charge extra for sour cream, tartar sauce, etc... it cheapens your restaurant. The answer is always yes. People today have so many more food allergies that in order to not only survive but succeed, you need to be really flexible. The food rarely makes a restaurant any money - it's the beverages that do. How much do you think you make on a cup of coffee? Loads! And ditto for liquour. So you can comp a meal - no biggie. Give your regulars free coffee, and you've made friends for life.

Word of mouth is everything - not every restaurant gets reviewed, but friends will tell friends who will tell friends, etc.

Don't cheap out on the quality or quantity of food, have cheerful, can-do staff, and a great location and you should do alright.

And my husband's pet peeve when dining out is when they hand him a menu, bugger off for a bit, then come back to take his order only to find out that his top two or three choices are not available - he will just get up and go. Just say at the beginning, "Here's the menu, and unfortunately we've run out of A, B, and C.:" Then he knows they're not available.

It's a tough business, so if you have a hook (the only curry house in town, for example), it may help you, but the above three things are really important. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a location change owners, only to see it happen again and again... location is No. 1 in my book.

Good luck with it!
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 07:37 pm
@Mame,
No, I haven't owned a restaurant, but I follow the restaurant scene in several cities.

Great comments, Mame.
One question, what do you mean about prep staff rotating the food - keeping it fresh?

On location, I do agree. One of my favorite restaurants ever was on an ever changing street, up and down and up and down and up, that over decades has become one of the most hip/chic streets in the LA area. Both locals and movie stars showed up at her small french style restaurant.

However, not many blocks away was a troubled area. A customer was shot and killed in a robbery as she was leaving the restaurant (or going to, don't remember), and an actress was hit by a car coming out of the restaurant with another actress and crossing the street.
I don't know that those caused the restaurant's downfall by themselves but they didn't help. She moved it to Beverly Hills...
One that came to either the same spot or next door a few years later kicked ass, has enlarged, and is still going very well, another favorite of mine, with more adventurous food than the first place that I loved for its traditional food done perfectly.
So, I'll say location combined with timing.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2011 07:41 pm
@Mame,
Quote:
In my experience, no. 1 is LOCATION


There seems to be two schools of thought on that, one is that location is critical , the other is that if you do everything else right people will find you so dont stress on the location just make sure that the food/service/concept is right. I almost did a pizza/italian place one block off of the core downtown Olympia down a big hill across the street from a 200 employee state building which was going to be vacated soon and almost certainly will be empty for years. This being a very poor location normally, but hidden away pizza places have worked a lot of the time. An over-priced mishmash of european style food place when in instead. The owner ate her gun three months after opening, she having screwed up and blown all of her divorce settlement into a place that had no hope of working.

EDIT: the boyfriend almost certainly was part of the problem, as he fancies himself a chef, but on the one occasion that we went the food sucked. The only good thing about the meal is that they massively over-poured the drinks, good being relative here because that sure aint good for the owner.
 

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