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I don't know when it started, but I began thinking about food a lot and how to cook it. Then I started thinking about making food for other people and the positive affects it can have on someone. I finally graduated to the idea of opening up a restaurant or some type of food business/cart/truck.

To date, I have only accumulated ideas based on successful restaurants that I have visited and seen on TV or read about.

Unfortunately, I do not have the resources or the funding to start a business.

This does not stop me from dreaming and taking pictures of available properties.

From what I understand of starting a business, it usually takes a large bank loan or group of people to help finance the plan.

Who are these people? How are these groups formed?

What do you know about becoming a restaurateur?
 

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Starting a business often involves insane hours. I know some people who opened a restaurant, it proved to be a great financial decision for them, but in terms of hours lost, and blood, sweat and tears in work, unimaginable. Entrepreneurs, so I've heard, often have to master and do every part of their business, a kind of micromanaging, if there are any tasks to the business you're not interested in performing, its very likely you will still do it at times. I've listenned to other people talk about their dreams of opening a restaurant, and then choosing not to as their research and thoughts about it led them to believe it is one of the most difficult, stressful, demanding, and for the effort put in, comparatively thankless careers out there.

I don't know what it takes to open a restaurant, but the limited opinions that I have come across have all said it is way too hard and not worth it. I also hear most businesses, especially most restaurants, fail in the first year or so. If you have not already, I would research it extensively, as I am not interested in opening a restaurant, but I have gotten unsolicited opinions about how challenging and demanding it is. I myself personally have no interest in opening a restaurant, so do take my information and anecdotes as they are, just things I've heard. I am not sure how far you are into your decision, but regardless of what you decide, good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I have heard all of this as well.

Seeing as how I wouldn't mind performing every duty in my restaurant business, doing something that I don't like to do will not be an issue.

This will be a small business with only 2-3 employees, including myself.

I have a lot of time.

I am not married and I have no children.

I can easily work 12+ hours a day.
 

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Wow, you sound so invested. Have you thought about starting off as a caterer? That way, you could work on building up a clientele/customer base before having to deal with rent? I have a friend who's started out this way. After five years, he's now making excellent money (no easy feat given the economy when he started), and plans to work his way toward opening a small restaurant. I imagine he probably feels he has a ways to go though.

Do you have any experience working in food service?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have worked in three different restaurants.

Other than that, I spend an exorbitant amount of time reading, watching, and researching all things food/restaurant related.
 

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I have heard all of this as well.

Seeing as how I wouldn't mind performing every duty in my restaurant business, doing something that I don't like to do will not be an issue.

This will be a small business with only 2-3 employees, including myself.

I have a lot of time.

I am not married and I have no children.

I can easily work 12+ hours a day.

* Get the bank requirements on how to obtain a business loan. Figure out if you can meet the requirements. Another route is Kickstarter.
* Know/select your target audience. Do market research.
* Build your business model, concept and financial budget around the target audience.
* Work things through "on paper" thoroughly first. One of the main reasons restaurants fail in their first year is due to a lack of proper planning.
* Keep things simple and streamlined (e.g. "good food, good service")
* Learn how to do each job your restaurant/endeavor would need since your staff will be small. From produce purchaser, wait staff, line cook, quality control, cashier, etc.
* It's a good thing you are willing to work 12+ hours because that is exactly what you'll be doing every day for years.
* Learn how to advertise to your target audience.
* Learn about retail leases, restaurant code/setup requirements in the city you want to establish in

There's more (hard work), but I'm getting distracted. Good luck.
 

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I currently own a restaurant. The below quote should sum it up nicely for you

I've listenned to other people talk about their dreams of opening a restaurant, and then choosing not to as their research and thoughts about it led them to believe it is one of the most difficult, stressful, demanding, and for the effort put in, comparatively thankless careers out there.

I don't know what it takes to open a restaurant, but the limited opinions that I have come across have all said it is way too hard and not worth it. I also hear most businesses, especially most restaurants, fail in the first year or so.

Before the economy meltdown, it was something you could make a good living at. These days it is very difficult. If you do manage to make a good business out of it, then money can be very good if you are willing to still put in all the work. Dont forget also, your social life pretty much be at your restaurant since your busiest times will be when most people go out for socializing. Also, you'll probably be working most holidays, (Christmas, thanksgiving, newyears, etc etc.)

I cant tell you anything about foodcarts, but they may still be a way to make decent money without the huge initial investment and everything else that comes with the territory.


Getting money from anywhere will be difficult since you have no track record to say you will be a successful restaurateur

If it was me, I would not get any type of loan to open a restaurant and it will be difficult anyways since most banks don't see it as a sound investment. That should tell you something...

This is where personal connections come into play. You should try and find a silent business partner who will put up most of the money and never show his face at the business but get a portion of the profits. Again, it will be difficult.

Your best bet is to find a restaurant that went out of business and left all the equipment and everything inside. Happens frequently since the landlord wont let you take anything out if you don't fulfill your lease term. They then usually try and tack it on the new lease they will give you. Sometimes they wont which is better.

If you want to build out a restaurant then find a closed one that is run down. You can usually negotiate a large sum of money out of the landlord to do the build out.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I currently own a restaurant. The below quote should sum it up nicely for you




Before the economy meltdown, it was something you could make a good living at. These days it is very difficult. If you do manage to make a good business out of it, then money can be very good if you are willing to still put in all the work. Dont forget also, your social life pretty much be at your restaurant since your busiest times will be when most people go out for socializing. Also, you'll probably be working most holidays, (Christmas, thanksgiving, newyears, etc etc.)

I cant tell you anything about foodcarts, but they may still be a way to make decent money without the huge initial investment and everything else that comes with the territory.


Getting money from anywhere will be difficult since you have no track record to say you will be a successful restaurateur

If it was me, I would not get any type of loan to open a restaurant and it will be difficult anyways since most banks don't see it as a sound investment. That should tell you something...

This is where personal connections come into play. You should try and find a silent business partner who will put up most of the money and never show his face at the business but get a portion of the profits. Again, it will be difficult.

Your best bet is to find a restaurant that went out of business and left all the equipment and everything inside. Happens frequently since the landlord wont let you take anything out if you don't fulfill your lease term. They then usually try and tack it on the new lease they will give you. Sometimes they wont which is better.

If you want to build out a restaurant then find a closed one that is run down. You can usually negotiate a large sum of money out of the landlord to do the build out.


Found one.











 

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Okay okay. Stop stop.
If you are serious about getting into the food industry, first of all, do trial runs and see what the market is like out there.
Just try and cook for your friends, refine recipes, and so forth. Cos even out of this industry itself, you will come to learn that there are some preferences that you normally slowly geared towards, and that you fee is more for you and not something else.

I come from a long line of family businesses related to food, and even then once it gets going, it is not sustainable. There will always be competitions and then there will always be a new idea, or new food etc. Even as you step into this, you have to know your time limit and when it can fall and when it won't etc.

Go and watch what Gordon Ramsey is showing of the industry. A lot of the ones which he tries to save are worth saving because there must be a demand there for nice food etc. Where there are competitions, it is the owners not knowing how to be flexible to adapt to its own market which fails.

For me, being outside of the US, I can see so easily that you guys NEED to have decent freshly cooked restaurants with reasonably prices. I do not know whether this is more or less of a stereotype, but fresh ingredients made food seems to be less and less likely in the US. It is kind of scary what we see on tv about the food industry in the US.

The key points to food industry is simple:
- always seasonal and fresh, work with what you can get at seasonal prices that will be low basically
- always fresh and taste yummy, do not go crazy on the taste
- always choose the right kind of recipes and taste for your local market
- always budget in a single recipe that is scalable, do not try to do complication, you're not a food manufacturer, or fine dining
- always asks yourself this Q, "would I come in and eat this and pay this price?"
(If you do not like your food, then others is even less likely to like it. No point cooking something that won't sell.)
- You MUST have a good taste bud, to detect when ingredients have gone off, and whether what you bought is fresh and good enough


Running a food restaurant is almost akin being your own cook at home. So trial this now. Every week, set yourself a menu, breakfast lunch dinner. Buy all ingredients for them, and spread them across. Ensure you buy some fresh ingredients too so that it has a sellby date. Cook and rotate things as the week go by and keep on checking what is left etc. If you can get this flow of process correctly, then you will be able to manage your own restaurant or food cart or whatever.

Running a business is actually managing this flow of events all of the time.. and it is easy to manage once you get into the routine of it all. Checking the market condition and making sure that it still sell and that you got things right is where most people get stumped on.

In the UK, there is a small nice friendly movement called "pop-up restaurants". These are more like amateur restaurateurs hoping and wanting to open businesses but they are not sure of their target audiences and hence they trial their own recipes and so forth. It's a bit of fun, and it is tongue in cheek etc. The other thing which people fall over on, is the accuracy rate of their recipes as well when it comes to making it under pressure and under timing. You can try this over and over again if you set up say dinner parties at home, or to try for these pop-up restaurants. When competition is tough, then you need to be more of a foodie than anything else. In a place where there is no cosmopolitan feel, or adventurous young working professionals, then there is less of a chance for more adventurous recipes. You may as well find something which sells and is reachable and cater for a steady clientele which is more suburbia. Even amongst the chefs out in the world, I only admire a handful of them, a lot of them are so much more mediocre than anything else...


Just invite friends along for dinner parties and try the logistics of cooking under pressure and getting that precision level right. I'm currently also researching into some food too, but is quite disappointed that people will still choose manufactured food over that of freshly baked, and freshly cooked food of the day.... It is so sad.
 

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I was practically born in a restaurant. My dad has been an incredibly successful restaurateur for 40 years now. He currently owns 12 restaurants.

Listen to @Bago. She knows what she's talking about.

Also, realize that the food industry is TOUGH. You won't be seeing profits for a while. Stick with it, expect to spend 12-14 hours A DAY at the restaurant....EVEN if a paycheck isn't coming in. Persistence is key. Most restaurants fail because the owners don't see a profit and lose their drive. Don't lose that drive.

Good luck!
 

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Yeh, also in the original starting stages, sell what people want first to get the money flowing first, before even considering changing your recipes etc. This is why it is always better to start small and then increase big. Or unless you know that there is a demand, cos a restaurant or a eatery went missing and people talk about it. Then in that kind of situation, there needs to be a kind of replacement of sorts.

Also, monitor the social elements as well, whether people are spending the money on food or not. Maybe the economy is not doing so well, and people do not dine out, but is willing to order a take order which is cheaper? This is what is happening here in the UK. So.. that middle price range of eatery and so forth can definitely exist.

Or even as a trial run.. start off as catering or doing one off private parties to get your reputation going first, even before you think about investing in an actual property, which is quite risky imho. Good cooking is what will sell and bring people to go to your place over that of someone else's.
 

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I have heard of and seen examples of "pop-up" restaurants.

Good advice.

I would open up a food truck, before signing a lease on some property.
I was about to suggest food trucks.

Come up with some signature dishes that are tasty, fast and easy to make..something not overdone already in the history of food trucks. Experiment with perfecting those dishes have people taste them and rate them etc, find cheap sources for ingredients so you can give customers huge quantities of food for a low price, drive truck around town and get money!


I might just do this! Fuk working for others.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I was about to suggest food trucks.

Come up with some signature dishes that are tasty, fast and easy to make..something not overdone already in the history of food trucks. Experiment with perfecting those dishes have people taste them and rate them etc, find cheap sources for ingredients so you can give customers huge quantities of food for a low price, drive truck around town and get money!


I might just do this! Fuk working for others.
I already have most of it figured out:

The name of the truck/business.

The product, etc.

The difficulty will be portions of the product development.

Have you ever considered how difficult it is to make a good sandwich?

I know what you're thinking, anybody can make a sandwich.

I have learned that it isn't that simple.

Especially, since I need to create a spread or sauce to put on the bread. I have no idea how to do that.

I also need to organize the sandwich in such a way that maximizes taste, enjoyment, and satisfaction.
 

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I already have most of it figured out:
The name of the truck/business.
The product, etc.
The difficulty will be portions of the product development.
Have you ever considered how difficult it is to make a good sandwich?
I know what you're thinking, anybody can make a sandwich.
I have learned that it isn't that simple.
Especially, since I need to create a spread or sauce to put on the bread. I have no idea how to do that.
I also need to organize the sandwich in such a way that maximizes taste, enjoyment, and satisfaction.
Over here in the UK, there are two big players who monopolise the sandwich market, and they are NOT soggy sandwiches.
One is a traditional British brand called "Marks & Spencers". The other one is a cafe chain called "Pret a Manage". Both their sandwiches are really competitively priced, and actually very freshly made on the day. They have a team of people who makes them, and continue to make them during the day so it appears more fresh. Not just once in the morning and see how many can be sold. Cos when a sandwich has been in the warmer or the cold fridge, you can see how dry it becomes. It tastes horrible. They make once in the morning for the peak breakfast rush, and people also buy it for their lunches, and then around 11am again roughly for their next lunch rush. Then it slows down and topped up periodically depending if people are buying and staying to chit chat for casual food.

So to drive a food truck and to create new sandwiches, you got to configure your process to be simple, and then deliver the sandwich without actually have the bread soaking with too much liquid or sauces. You have to think about your route as well. Whether it is morning rush or whether it is the lunch hour rush.

Yes, if you are a foodie, you to think about which layer with which ingredients in order to preserve the freshness. Basically you shouldn't use a spread which is too liquidy and damage the bread, and then you should add a layer of lettuce or other to separate any other ingredients which are more wet. BUT... if you are a REAL foodie, you would consider the actual taste itself, and the amount of each ingredient so that when somebody bites into it, that moment of savouriness still exists in their mind.

If you are making a sandwich, always try to go for ingredients with the clearest of taste. Meaning, not pre-processed ingredients. For example, I recently wanted to recreate a deli sandwich that I had many years ago. It was mainly tomato paste with mozzarella cheese. What i discovered is that different brands of tomato pastes are made from different percentages of sundried tomatoes, hence this spoils the taste when I was after that moorish souriness. I discovered the same for pestos. Some are purely manufactured with different added ingredients. Whereas the one I found is purely from basil leaves which gave its most yummiest taste ever. :)

For even lovely sandwiches and toasties, consider warming the bread before spreads, therefore the butter "melts" into the soft bread, so that you have this crunchy and soft middle, and with delicious melty butter too. Mm...

Oh, of course, do some market research first on what sells and what people prefers...
 

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The "Grand Cafe" photos are really awesome, thanks !!

I might be wrong, but it looks like the Cafe used to be part cafe and part bar It used to be common to serve breakfast and lunch, and after work hours, turn into a corner pub. The groceries were kept in the refrigerated cabinets in the front. Men could come in after work and get a beer at the counter while "picking up the groceries" before going home. Eggs, milk, pie, breads... all of the common stuff a restaurant would need to have anyway, but kept in stock up front to lure in the after-work/needing a beer type of customer.



-ZDD
 

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I don't know when it started, but I began thinking about food a lot and how to cook it. Then I started thinking about making food for other people and the positive affects it can have on someone. I finally graduated to the idea of opening up a restaurant or some type of food business/cart/truck.

To date, I have only accumulated ideas based on successful restaurants that I have visited and seen on TV or read about.

Unfortunately, I do not have the resources or the funding to start a business.

This does not stop me from dreaming and taking pictures of available properties.

From what I understand of starting a business, it usually takes a large bank loan or group of people to help finance the plan.

Who are these people? How are these groups formed?

What do you know about becoming a restaurateur?
On the money side, usually it is a family, group of friends, or group of investors who start up a company like that. The investors may simply give you money in hopes of returns, or some may actually give you money AND help with the formation of the business. If you have a solid and thorough business plan, you could convince banks or other companies to invest or loan money to you. Also, I think the government gives out small, low interest loans to first time business openers to help them get started, and I think sometimes they even give you free money if you qualify.
 
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