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Have You Opened Any Kind of Food Service Outlet? Tell Your Story Here.

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by Piobaire, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    I have long term plans to open a food service outlet. My vision is something similar to what member cuffthis opened several years ago.

    ITT, people that have actually opened an outlet tell their stories, informing us of pitfalls, good advice, etc.
     
  2. Matt

    Matt Senior member

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  3. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    Good link. Paints as bleak of a picture as I expect.
     
  4. level32

    level32 Senior member

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    Entrepreneurs Lacking Business Sense + NYC BM Rent Prices = very rough
     
  5. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    Entrepreneurs Lacking Business Sense + NYC BM Rent Prices = very rough

    Informative post. Thanks. No, really.
     
  6. gnatty8

    gnatty8 Senior member

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    Pio, why would you do this, personal fulfillment (i.e., are you a hobbyist and the outlet you plan on opening would scratch that itch), or the expectation of earning a good living? I am just curious. I've always thought it'd be cool to open a small business that related somehow to something I enjoyed doing anyway, like a small cigar bar, or something like that. I've always immediately filed that one away in the not friggin' likely area of my brain, since my assumption is that I'd be tied to the place, and hobby or not, I couldn't stand that sort of commitment.
     
  7. Eason

    Eason Senior member

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    My secret dream has always been to open my own restaurant. I love cooking, I almost went to the Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute instead of college. The lifestyle and high rate of failure puts me totally off it, though. I'm big on traveling and I don't like failure.
     
  8. JhwkMac

    JhwkMac Senior member

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    I've worked as a restaurant chef for 4 years. on the Catering side of things now. I'm currently in talks with a couple business partners about launching a restaurant. Luckily one of them is an economist and I've got a business degree also, so we can make sure our numbers are rock solid before we take one little step. It's a tough tough business.
     
  9. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    Pio, why would you do this, personal fulfillment (i.e., are you a hobbyist and the outlet you plan on opening would scratch that itch), or the expectation of earning a good living? I am just curious. I've always thought it'd be cool to open a small business that related somehow to something I enjoyed doing anyway, like a small cigar bar, or something like that. I've always immediately filed that one away in the not friggin' likely area of my brain, since my assumption is that I'd be tied to the place, and hobby or not, I couldn't stand that sort of commitment.

    A combo of personal fulfillment, further exposure to wine (and funding that at least partially through the business, i.e. trip to Burgundy now = business expense), I enjoy being a host, and the thought of an eventual non-salary cash flow. While my personal retirement is still at least 16 years away I am investigating and reality testing things to do and even modest cash flow avenues.

    I've worked as a restaurant chef for 4 years. on the Catering side of things now. I'm currently in talks with a couple business partners about launching a restaurant. Luckily one of them is an economist and I've got a business degree also, so we can make sure our numbers are rock solid before we take one little step. It's a tough tough business.

    Good luck to you and keep us posted of your progress.

    I have absolutely zero illusions about the amount of work ownership requires and the likelihood of failure. It's why I'll probably just enjoy kicking this idea around for ten years before I actually try it.
     
  10. Master-Classter

    Master-Classter Senior member

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    I'm not saying it's definitive, but to the average person, give a read through Kitchen Confidential... moving past what the consumer would be surprised to know, my general impression of inside the industry is that it's a tough tough business and for a number of combined factors, you may struggle to simple survive, let alone do well.
     
  11. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    I'm not saying it's definitive, but to the average person, give a read through Kitchen Confidential... moving past what the consumer would be surprised to know, my general impression of inside the industry is that it's a tough tough business and for a number of combined factors, you may struggle to simple survive, let alone do well.

    Read that years ago. I've also been in and around the industry since the 1980s.
     
  12. Hombre Secreto

    Hombre Secreto Senior member

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    My advice is first work at a fast paced restaurant, but that I mean where EVERYONE gets slammed. Plenty of managers and Chefs are fucking stupid. They can't tell when people are milking it just to get more hours or are just too weak to say anything about it. For instance I once worked for this female Chef who just opened her first restaurant and the cooks were in charge of cleaning the small kitchen, and one of the line cooks was assigned to clean the flat grill, and he literally spent an hour cleaning it all while the Chef was a couple of feet away doing some prep for the next day. This particular restaurant was mostly dead and yet it was overstaffed with mostly useless people.
     
  13. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    My advice is first work at a fast paced restaurant, but that I mean where EVERYONE gets slammed.
    Seconded. Once you retire, get a job at a restaurant for a little bit, just to get the ins-and-outs down pat. Its really a whole different experience once you're on the inside.
     
  14. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    Read that years ago. I've also been in and around the industry since the 1980s.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. level32

    level32 Senior member

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    Informative post. Thanks. No, really.

    My point was that the result should have been obvious based on the factors in play. In my mind, it doesn't paint a relevant bleak picture at all as it gives absolutely no insight to someone who actually has a drawn out business plan and knows how to work through the numbers to make sure the business is profitable/sustainable.

    All that link shows is that, people who do not do their research will get killed in the business.
     
  16. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    It's a rough business but I think the Slate article doesn't paint a picture of the food service industry as a whole so much as it does the picture of two idiot yuppies who thought they could open a wildly successful cafe because they had "great taste" and passion.

    The restaurant business is like any business: If you know your numbers and if you know your market, you can have success. The only place where it really becomes a whole different ballgame is in the ultra high-end sector where your diner to staff ration is 1:1 and you have to make your profit from recipe books and speaking engagements, El Bulli style.
     
  17. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    Was looking for more RL stories vs. preaching and repeating of the obvious, i.e. costs > revenues = failure. Like I said in the OP, member cuffthis posted some blog like stuff of his journey. I think any idiot can figure out the business is tough, the hours are long, and that revenues must be > expenses.
     
  18. Matt

    Matt Senior member

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    I was looking around at some investments a couple of years ago, and F&B was one of the areas I wrote off very quickly. I really don't like restaurants/bars/cafes as money makers. I think there are just too many intangibles and subjectives (ie your customers tastes), your stock is perishable, your rent is high as you need to be in a prime location, staffing is an asspain, fitout is not cheap etc etc.

    It was pretty quickly an area I told the would-be-partners that I just didn't want to touch. I looked at it with no emotion whatsoever, I didn't care if I could write off trips to X as business expenses, i looked at it from a pure business standpoint and straight up didn't like it.

    In the end, I guess I have no RL experience in it, and I am not preaching, but possibly repeating the obvious, but it was something I looked at a couple years ago and shied away from.
     
  19. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    The US is making mega-millionaires out of some chefs and restaurant owners. While I am not looking to be the next VTR or Bobby Flay, the money is there if done right. I can put together a budget or Excel spreadsheet well enough to due projections. Again, just looking for slice of life stories from folks that have done this.
     
  20. Matt

    Matt Senior member

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    yup sure. I don't like the risk to return ratio on it, but it's also not my business [​IMG]. I've also watched a few of my friends tear their hair out over their restaurant investments (one Mexican place, two ice creameries, one group that has tried everything from fine dining to lounge bars to fast food noodles, and one seafood buffet) and all of them are business minded career folk, who all underestimated the capital it would require, the frustration it would bring, and ultimately the reward it would yield. And that is here, in a market that is less competitive....anyhow, passing it on for whatever it's worth. I just abused mod privileges and sent Tom (cuffthis) an email with a link to this thread for you by the way.
     

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