Opening a Restaurant

Junior Burger
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2006/11/12 02:09:31 (permalink)

Opening a Restaurant

Where do I begin? My husband and I have been small business owners for 12 years. We run an ultralight flight park and I operated a private piano studio for 8 years. Both of us have dabbled in real estate as well..flipping homes and some rental units as well as hanar space rentals. My husband's parents came to America with nothing, living on the streets. Collecting cans to survive became a family business that turned into a very profitable recycling company in a few short years, now a million dollar a year business. Point being, we have some business experience, which from reading other posts, I've gleaned that this is a key factor in success. However, we now see an opportunity to open a restaurant & brewery in the small interstate town where we live. The area is booming with a population explosion of approximately 7 million expected in the next 10 years. Developments are coming in like crazy with the target population: retiring babyboomers moving to the sunbelt. Two SuperWalmarts and Home Depots have been put up within a 40 mile radius of us. The time is right. The town where we live has NOWHERE to eat...a few fast food places and two mom & pop joints with no atmosphere and limited menus. That's it. I can cook, but am certainly not a chef. We are creators, we develop the concept, implement our ideas then teach others what we know so they can do it for us. We do not, however, know much about the restaurant industry and want to learn. So, where do I begin? We have our concept, "The Hangar Restaurant & Brewery." We have the layout sketched, all brews named and menu is being developed. As I have been reading about writing a business plan I am confused about putting together a management team. How can I "hire" my chef, manager, etc. if I haven't even been given financial approval and yet must have this team put together before I can even apply for the loan? I have so many questions, actually. How do I estimate all these costs, especially the food purchase which will not be a set expense? How do you estimate how many people will eat at your establishment? I know that these are questions a head chef could probably answer but if we are not yet in a position to hire a head chef (because our loan is not yet approved) then how do we go about estimating these things ourselves? I better stop while I'm ahead. Maybe someone out there will be willing to help me out a bit..head me in the right direction. Is it rude or unprofessional of me to seek advice from a current restaurant owner in the same town? Or can I even trust them? We will pose serious competition....???



5 Replies Related Threads

    • Total Posts : 72
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    • Location: Pahrump, NV
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    RE: Opening a Restaurant 2006/11/12 18:20:44 (permalink)
    In running a small business you're probably familiar with small business associations. They'll gladly provide guidance to people just starting out. Then there's the library. Start hitting the books about opening anything food related. Do your homework.

    To be honest, it sounds like you're in whoop whoop somewhere. Just because the numbers project some population boom, can you really trust them? Or is it just the hype of real estate venture agencies? (where is this anyway?) (I'm going to Australia so your business plan is safe...)

    Yes, business proposal. It is crucial for a loan. It will also in itself help you to solidify ideas in your head and yeah, the guestimating is a problem but you have to be realistic. Look at statistics, who lives close, who would be inclined to drive a distance just for the pleasure of eating at your place. Stupid things like gas prices...Yes, it's a Catch-22 - You can't tell how much you'll spend or make until you actually do it, but you can't DO it until you have the money to build it based on telling them how much you expect to spend and make.

    Of course lenders are looking for someone who has done their homework. They want you to succeed so you can pay them the exhorbitant lending fee! YOU have to convince them that their investment is a wise one.

    Writing a menu is putting the cart before the horse. Having an idea as to the type of cuisine you want to prepare is a good start but you also have to gear it towards the prospective clientelle. (You wouldn't open up a "Honey Glazed Ham" shop in the middle of a Jewish neighborhood would you?)

    The final menu will actually be up to the head chef/cook you hire. Someone you don't hire until you have a kitchen for them to cook in. You tell them what you want, they tell you what they can do and how to make it better. <in the perfect world> You can look around the boards or even in your local papers and see what other restaurants are offering as pay for the types of help you need.

    We're not even touching the issues about building, kitchen, permits and licenses...zoning...

    Like I said: Hit the books. I wouldn't personally ask any of the local cafes for help. It's not like it sounds like you are going to offer the same fare, or that they wouldn't, but they had access to the same info that you do. <probably less when they started>

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    RE: Opening a Restaurant 2006/11/13 02:38:10 (permalink)

    With all your knowledge, I am surprised that you dont own your own restaurant, insted of being a breakfast cook in Parumph , Nevada.

    According, to their website, it is an up and coming town, on the verge of making it big.
    I am surprised that there arent that many other places you can go to, instead of working for such a dumpy place, (according to you), that seems to have many issues as you have reported to us." />

    You seem to have such a wide knowledge.

    I have been reading your posts, and am impressed with your posts as far as employee/owner relations.
    I am really surprised that you are just a cook.
    Have you considered trying to open your own place in this up and coming town?

    John A
    Filet Mignon
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    RE: Opening a Restaurant 2006/11/13 08:09:31 (permalink)
    "The town where we live has NOWHERE to eat...a few fast food places and two mom & pop joints with no atmosphere and limited menus."

    "Is it rude or unprofessional of me to seek advice from a current restaurant owner in the same town? Or can I even trust them?"


    Filet Mignon
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    RE: Opening a Restaurant 2006/11/13 08:41:23 (permalink)
    Step one is to visit This is the official website of "Restaurant Startup & Growth," a monthly magazine offering all the sources needed to start and operate a successful business. This will provide you with a comprehensive downloadable library of professionally developed restaurant forms, procedures, manuals, handbooks, and other templates that independent operators can easily customize and adapt for their particular use. In addition, you'll find startup, marketing, staffing, food and beverage, and business management resources in the form of on-line knowledge building seminars, special reports, and audio programs from industry experts. This information is supplimented with regular articles reprinted from back issues of "Restaurant Startup & Growth." Because good restauranteurs are always learning, it's in your best interest to learn from experienced professionals. The following is from & I present this to my students as the first order of business when teaching my mobile food service business course.


    Born in Chicago
    Escaped to Wisconsin
    Business Instructor
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    RE: Opening a Restaurant 2006/11/13 12:20:13 (permalink)
    From a chef's point of view: I have opened 4 new restaurants for various owners, none of which could afford to bring me on full time until things progressed. I went into the restaurant office three days a week to work on the menu (this takes longer than it sounds if you want it to be perfect). There are stupid things like which font? what kind of paper? what's the overall menu concept? wording and pricing without ERRORS (one of pet peeves), making sure that the menu is not overwhelming to the kitchen staff or the wait staff, what kind of bread to serve? what kind of desserts? What you may think sounds like a workable menu may not work as far as utilization of product, storage space, refrigeration. There's also the ordering of kitchen equipment...tongs, spoons, whisks, hotel pans, sheet pans, etc. and some dining room equipment, plates, cutlery, salt and pepper shakers, the list goes on and on. I would not want to be a chef that got hired at the last minute! What is the theme of your food program? How many seats in the restaurant?
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