Starting a Restaurant
HOW TO START A RESTAURANT
Editor's note: This article was excerpted from our Restaurant start-up guide, available from SmallBizBooks.com.
As increasing numbers of consumers want to dine out or take prepared food home, the number of food-service operations has skyrocketed from 155,000 about 30 years ago to nearly 900,000 today. But there's still room in the market for your food-service business.
Shifting demographics and changing lifestyles are driving the surge in food-service businesses. Busy consumers don't have the time or inclination to cook. They want the flavor of fresh bread without the hassle of baking. They want tasty, nutritious meals without dishes to wash. In fact, the rise in popularity of to-go operations underscores some clear trends in the food-service industry. More and more singles, working parents and elderly people are demanding greater convenience when it comes to buying their meals.
Though the future looks bright for the food-service industry overall, there are no guarantees in this business. Even the most successful operators will tell you this isn't a "get rich quick" industry. It's more like a "work hard and make a living" industry.
A hard reality is that many restaurants fail during their first year, frequently due to a lack of planning. But that doesn't mean your food-service business has to be an extremely complex operation. In fact, the more streamlined you can make it, the better your chances for success. Robert V. Owens, owner of RV's Seafood Restaurant, a casual seafood restaurant in Nags Head, North Carolina, observes, "The restaurant business is a simple business that people make complicated." His formula for success is quality food, good service and great people--an approach that's worked for him for nearly a quarter century.
To help you get started, we've compiled this thorough, but easy-to-digest, guide to starting your own food business. Whether your dream is to open a traditional American diner, a New York-style pizzeria, a Chinese buffet, a deli for busy lunch-goers or a local coffeehouse/hang-out spot, start your business research here.