What should be expected when opening a restaurant?

Junior Burger
2013/04/27 17:26:54
I figured it would be nice to have a post on here discussing more of the logistics and regulatory aspects of opening a restaurant. I would just like to receive some first-hand advice on how to open a restaurant from professionals who have gone through the painstaking process. Any stories about common complications or perhaps mishaps that could have been avoided. Any information will be greatly appreciated!
post edited by Batman369 - 2013/04/27 18:32:36
Junior Burger
Re:What should be expected when opening a restaurant? 2013/05/01 06:28:35
First of all, start with small scale after that start on huge scale, Important part of restaurant is food. Please choose the experienced chef, that work previously in any restaurants. Manage the list of services provided.
Sonny Funzio
Double Cheeseburger
Re:What should be expected when opening a restaurant? 2013/05/01 08:46:12
Don't start accumulating equipment until you get all the relevant information on what's allowable and what's required from the health department. 
Develop a detailed kitchen plan (drawings etc) so you don't have to re-qualify it with the health department when you need to move a piece of equipment etc.
Make friends with your rep at the Health Department.
Understand every single thing the local Building Department is going to require of you before you do anything else.  They have the ability to blow any particular location you are considering clear off the map by adding costs.
Use an overly detailed business plan to help yourself think through all the details - especially financial.  The most significant thing a business plan does for you is that it provides you a "go ... no go" indicator before you start investing in the rest of the process. 
Nothing is more expensive than making great progress in the wrong direction.
Understand Breakeven Analysis backwards and forwards.  *Not* just what your breakeven number is, but how all the business variables contribute to profitability through your operations. 

If your cash flow allows for it, start out with Sysco initially until you get the hang of inventory, purchasing and storage controls. 
Have the EcoLab rep come in and allow him to pitch you up one side and down the other ... pick his (or her) brain for everything you're worth ... have your questions developed in advance.  If cash flow allows it, EcoLab can make getting things off the ground easier ... but even if you can't afford them, at least act like you are considering their services so as to get their input and expertise on the most efficient way to get things set up.
post edited by Sonny Funzio - 2013/05/01 08:50:04
Re:What should be expected when opening a restaurant? 2013/05/01 13:43:47
Be prepared to work your a** off.  100+ hours a week is not unusual.  Hire a good chef and dining room manager.  Buy the freshest most local products available.  I agree with Sonny.....use Sysco and EcoLab.  Above all, make sure the food is GREAT.  I used to have a 3-hour wait for a table at my last restaurant which I thought was absurd, but people are willing to wait for GOOD FOOD!
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What should be expected when opening a restaurant? 2013/05/01 15:00:59
I'm curious as to wether the op has any food service experience, or just thought it might be fun to have a restaurant.
Some advice, a very high percentage of restaurants fail, even with seasoned pros at the helm, I have first hand experience. This is not something to jump in to on a whim. Good luck.