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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 09-06-2010, 04:06 PM   #1
MariettaSmoker
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Default Open a restaurant or no? THAT is the question

Ive got some friends who are begging me to open a place for my Q. I will admit that I am very interested in doing this as I have always wanted to own a restaurant. The problem is, I have no clue what it would take to do this or even where to start.

Anyone here done this? What kind of capitol would I need to get something like this started? Small at first, but growing as it needs to. Any advice on this?
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Unread 09-06-2010, 04:12 PM   #2
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make sure you have a lot of expendable $$$ & a fallback plan... the restaurant business is tough and demanding once you get past idea of it being all fun.

US Small Business Administration is a good place to start for planning

http://www.sba.gov/
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Unread 09-06-2010, 04:14 PM   #3
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Are these friends who are attempting to talk you into this venture willing to put up some money?

Restaurants are almost a sure fire fail. Yes, some succeed, but 23% fail within the first year. In some areas of the country it's as high as 60%.
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Unread 09-06-2010, 05:28 PM   #4
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I'd say go work at one for a while to see if you like it. It's really not like most people think.
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Unread 09-06-2010, 05:28 PM   #5
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Not willing to invest, but I had been thinking about it before this anyway. I just dont know what I need or how much it would cost me up front.
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Unread 09-06-2010, 05:52 PM   #6
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I would suggest the "Starting a business" course at KSU. Here is the link http://www.sbdc.uga.edu/newsite/inde...&city=Kennesaw

While the course does not address opening a restaurant...it was very informative. I took the whole series last fall.
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Unread 09-06-2010, 06:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariettaSmoker View Post
Not willing to invest, but I had been thinking about it before this anyway. I just dont know what I need or how much it would cost me up front.
I never owned my own business but I often speak and work with many small to large businesses and it's amazing to me to see the variances between poorly run and well run businesses and why some are barely hanging on and others flourish.

You need patience,the ability& desire to put in long hours (nights/weekends) a bona-fide plan, a great location, a solid customer base, good marketing skills, great food at fair prices, the ability to manage a team etc. and $$$$ and with a little luck.

as far as up front costs - that all depends on what you want the initial product to look like...

I strongly suggest talking to other business owners, not necessarily even in the restaurant business to get a better idea of what owning a business entails.

Uncle Bud's suggested class looks worthwhile to pursue..
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Unread 09-06-2010, 07:16 PM   #8
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This is all good advice. The reason restaurants fail so often isn't because the owner doesn't know how to cook. It's because he can't run a restaurant and often he can't run a business.

What do you know about POS systems? Serve-Safe? FOH? Holding equipment and procedures? Hiring and maintaining employees? Fixing toilets? Long term leases? Workman's Comp? Fixing the roof? Fixing the refrigerator?

In most cases the first thing you should do is hire a chef so you can be available to run the business and that's a surprise to most.
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Unread 09-06-2010, 07:53 PM   #9
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I was thinking the same thing a year or so ago, then I talked to an owner and did some observation, it is a lot of work (nights,mornings,weekends), I mean a lot of work. I think the good Doctor hits the nail on the head above...
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Unread 09-06-2010, 07:56 PM   #10
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PM sent
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Unread 09-06-2010, 08:00 PM   #11
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We've resisted the urge. We've run the numbers a bunch. Our catering business thrives, while I keep my real job with all the benefits. Biggest reason we don't? Im not willing to work 80 hours a week at it, risk several hundred thousand dollars, or try and make a $12000 a MONTH nut before direct food costs.

We just bought our 3rd pit / trailer and 2nd tow / catering vehicle. We paid cash for it, and choose to grow slowly and commensutrately with our efforts.
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Unread 09-06-2010, 08:41 PM   #12
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owning a business is like having a second wife that you spend 20-24 hours a day with. when people used to ask me how many kids I had i would respond 52 (2 who were actually mine)
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Unread 09-07-2010, 11:37 AM   #13
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Check out BBQ central radio podcast archives. There are two I would suggest listening to:

Oct 27, 2009 - Moe's Original BBQ
Mike Fernandez from Moe's Original BBQ came on to talk about the benefits of franchising a bbq restaurant vs. buying your own facility and doing it from scratch. Mike talked about how he got in to bbq, how Moe's came to be and how you can find out how to get your own Moe's franchise. Visit http://www.moesoriginalbbq.com for all the information.

March 2, 2010 - Steve Forman
During the 2nd segment I will be joined by owner of Cow N Sow 2 WOW BBQ restaurant and catering company Steve Forman. If you recall, all the way back in October of last year, we talked to Mike Fernandez of Moe's BBQ about bbq franchises. Tonight we look at the other side of the coin...going it alone! Steve has competed in bbq competitions in the past, and when his career told him to go pound salt, he turned his passion in to his day job! This should be a very insightful interview.
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Unread 09-07-2010, 11:54 AM   #14
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There are a number of the same comments below but I would reiterate a few:
  • Most start-up businesses fail within the first 18 months. The restaurant business is one of the toughest business and almost sure to fail - its like getting married;
  • If you have never run a business before, then donít do it;
  • Go work for a BBQ business for at least a year before you do this venture;
  • Donít get into business with your friends or family;
  • Be prepared to spend 3x what you budgeted for;
  • Be prepared to spend 80+ hours a week working.

Save yourself the aggravation and start off with some catering on the side. This way you can control your over-head, get a feel for profitability, and you are not locked into a single business immediately. Wait until you have to start to manage employees. You go from Chef to Psychiatrist.
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Unread 09-07-2010, 02:46 PM   #15
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I have some friends who come from a restaurant background and have opened 3 "wing joints" in the past 3 years. All are booming but they are looking to sell because of the hours and they knew what they were getting into. Looks like they have found a buyer. All of the above posts offer great advice. Would the area you live in support a carry-out only type business?
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