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Building Your Restaurant from the Ground Up

The following article is a guest post from Felicia Baratz-Savage who is a writer and graphic artist living in Indianapolis, IN. As a contributor for Cooks & Travel Books, she specializes in travel, culture and education.

When considering opening a restaurant, location is one of the most important variables to get right. Are people going to walk by the restaurant and pop in? If you aren’t anticipating a lot of foot traffic, what will parking look like? One of the most important items to consider is whether you want to purchase an existing space or build your restaurant from the ground up.

One of the top reasons to consider using an existing space is that it’s already built and zoned … Keep reading

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Starting with a Restaurant Incubator

Many would-be restaurant entrepreneurs assume that they either have to get the restaurant they want from the beginning or give up the dream altogether. But that is overlooking an important and in many ways even better option for getting into the food business- start with something smaller.

You could start with a food cart, a stall at the local farmers market or a food truck, just to name a few. These are still business options that will let you try out your menu and concept but with a lower initial investment, less risk and less commitment in the beginning- which is the best time to start smaller and not overwhelm yourself.

And in some cases you might be happy not … Keep reading

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Creating a Restaurant Concept by Importing a Menu Idea

I’ve written before about finding menu items in other places and bringing them to where you are as a way of building a successful concept. Of course you have to find the right fit and have a solid plan but if you do it right you can definitely make a go of it.

I have to admit from looking at the picture that this stuff, poutine, doesn’t look all that appetizing. But it sounds good- it’s basically a variation on cheese fries, and who doesn’t love that?

The trick is to make it work for the market you are addressing. It may not work if you do it exactly the way they love it somewhere else but you can take … Keep reading

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Dentist Joins Family Restaurant Business Success Story

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A lot of times you think of a restaurant success story in terms of someone rising up from a lower position to attain the level of owner. But that isn’t always the case. Many restaurant owners who become successful actually moved over from already being successful in other areas.

You probably see this most often in franchise owners- people who made a good living in other careers taking some of their income and investing it in a restaurant franchise as a way to diversify and continue to build on their success.

But there are certainly other paths to get there as well. The following story is about a dentist who followed the rest of her family into the restaurant business … Keep reading

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Pros and Cons of Family-Owned Restaurants

Managing a restaurant can be a very tricky job and in my experience few people are born managers- most of the good ones got that way by trial and error and by having a good role model.

The job becomes infinitely more complex when it involves family because roles change and decisions become about more than what is best for the business. I understand why many people choose to pull their family into their business, and sometimes it works out. But often times, it turns out worse than it would have if you hadn’t.

Just for two examples- it is much harder to fire an employee who should be fired if they are also family. It is also much harder … Keep reading

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10 Radical Ways to Raise Cash and Start a Restaurant

If you need money to launch your restaurant business plan into reality, ask yourself how hard and how creatively you are looking for it if you have been turned down by the traditional sources.

Here is a slideshow about ten different creative ideas regular people used to raise money to start the business they wanted. These are not restaurant stories but the idea is the same and the cash will spend the same once you’ve gotten it in your hands!

If you aren’t having the success you want with your first plan, I have two restaurant specific suggestions for you. The first is that you might be trying to start too big.

Is there a way to start smaller and … Keep reading

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Hell’s Kitchen Is Not The Real Restaurant Business

I have to agree with the author of the article quoted below. Although it may make good TV, there is not a lot about Hell’s Kitchen, or the show I like even less, Kitchen Nightmares, to recommend.

Don’t get the idea that this is how a proper kitchen is run, or that a failing restaurant can be turned around with a 48 hour makeover and a few shouting sessions.

While there are some good ideas and nuggets of wisdom that float through the show, there is also a ton of crap and flat out bad advice that expecting the non industry person to sort it out is unrealistic at best.

The way to run a restaurant right is to treat … Keep reading

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Questionable Restaurant Startup Advice

Lots of people want to tell you how to start a restaurant– no surprise in an industry as big as the food business and one where there are literally hundreds of billions of dollars spent.

The problem comes when you get advice from someone with a particular angle who doesn’t appreciate there is more than one way to get to the same end goal.

I will break down some of the points offered here and add to or the positions he takes on what is required to be successful in this business. And keep in mind, I’ve done very well in the business and I didn’t do all of what he says, either!

Tyson Cole, one of the Food Keep reading

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Restaurant Business Improving Again

The question that often holds people back in starting a restaurant is whether or not now is a good time to do it. After all, we are in a recession and spending is down, right? Well, according to the story below spending has come back up. More importantly, my suggestion is to look at the bigger picture.

Do you plan to only be open a few months? If so, then by all means wait for those few months to happen during a boom time. But realistically, you plan to be open for years to come. Therefore, you are going to experience both good and bad times and you need to plan to offer a great and unique concept to ensure … Keep reading

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Food Trucks Can Be First StepTo Opening a Restaurant

There is a lot to like about the idea of starting a restaurant with a food truck before you dive into the idea of leasing space and opening the whole business.

For one thing, you need a lot less to start. For another, it gives you a way to test the menu and concept in a way you can easily adapt and change to get it right before you commit to the whole package.

For a third thing, by having a successful food truck operation you increase your credibility a hundredfold in talking with investors and bankers about your ability to run a profitable restaurant operation since you are actually doing it rather than just talking about doing it.

Best … Keep reading

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