Starting Your Own Restaurant

Most graduates of culinary school hope to one day open a restaurant of their own. And why not? After all, it can be a lucrative, glamorous, high excitement business where every day brings new challenges. It can also break the bank if you don’t have the right experience and a good team. A steady hand and calm under pressure are two of the characteristics you’ll need – and that’s just for starters!


Before you plan your opening night, there are a few things that you should take into consideration. It may be highly impossible to open a restaurant immediately after culinary school if for no other reason than your school tuition debt. Do you owe? Have you paid it all off but have nothing in reserve? If either of these is the case, you will need to take a few more years, gain experience and pay off your loans and bank roll enough cash to get the ball rolling on the restaurant. It is suggested you have enough to live on for the first year as well. Just in case.

Working at an established restaurant to gain some hands on experience may not be such a bad thing. After all, some of the world’s best chefs had humble beginnings in someone else’s kitchen. Just think about how much you can learn under the tutelage of someone who has been where you are and gone where you want to go. And if you manage to have a good relationship with your boss, he may even pass a piece of his own business on to you. That’s how Bobby Flay got his start.

If you think that you have enough savings to proceed with at least ten percent of the overall cost, one of the major deciding factors is whether or not you want to build a restaurant from the ground up. Should you choose to purchase an existing restaurant or buy into a franchise business, be sure to choose a location within close proximity to constant traffic, both vehicles and foot traffic.

The next step is to draw up a business plan for your new restaurant. Would your restaurant cater to the seafood lover? Strictly vegetarian, authentic Swedish cooking, or only oatmeal with various flavors? High end or economically priced? Cozy or a warehouse sized venue? The choices are yours.

Next choose your restaurant’s layout. Preview a few prospective locations or interview potential contractors. Research other restaurants to find out what they’re spending. Start with the one you work for.

Then choose the foundation of your menu, price used or new equipment, and decide where the bulk of your grocery items will come from. After that, it’s on to your friendly business loan officer. Together, you figure out the details of your financial picture.

Not too trample on your enthusiasm but word from the industry researchers is that two out of three restaurants usually flop within a year. Of course, no one said it would be easy, but let the statistics be a challenge instead of a barrier.

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