Are you thinking about starting a commercial kitchen? If so, then get ready for a lot of work. Commercial restaurants are one of the toughest businesses to break. They take time, effort, and plenty of sweat and tears. Today, we are going to give you some advice that you need to know before you start your restaurant business – you might even change your mind, and that can be a good thing.
Tip 1: Be prepared to sacrifice your social life for at least two years.
The first two years are the toughest. At this stage, it’s highly unlikely that you'll be turning enough of a profit to leave someone else in charge on the odd night that you want to socialise. This means you have to do it all yourself.
Restaurant working hours are very unsociable. That makes sense, because you are literally catering to people being sociable: you work while the rest of the world has fun.
If a fun and active social life is important to you, then the restaurant industry might not be the best choice for you…
however, there may be one saving grace for some of you: some restaurant owners love the work because they are surrounded by people all the time. Yes, you might be working, but you definitely have time to mingle with your guests, and if you have regulars, they can soon become your IRL friends.
Tip 2: Don’t expect to be rich.
Unless you happen to find an incredible location (and you will need a lot of capital to achieve this), it’s highly unlikely that you’ll become mega rich. The margins on restaurant food are relatively small, and they are not the most lucrative of businesses.
The initial set up is also very expensive. The Commercial kitchen equipment alone will set you back a good £20,000 for a smaller restaurant. For this reason, when people decide to start their own restaurant, they often buy one that already exists, rather than setting one up themselves.
You can expect to be comfortable, but don’t expect to be rich. In fact, many people live above their restaurants, and rather than this being a matter of convenience, it can sometimes simply be a matter of budget.
Tip 3: Develop a thick skin.
The restaurant industry is tough. You will have so many knocks it can destroy you, unless you develop a thick skin. Here are some things that you can expect to face:
1. Problem customers – most restaurant owners have at least one customer that will kick off at some point in time. In fact, it’s quite common, especially in city centre locations.
2. Complaints – you might be super happy over a particular dish, very proud of your chef, but then a customer comes along and tells you that it’s awful. Sometimes, all of your customers will say the same thing! You really need to learn to be humble, while at the same time learn how not to take it to heart.
3. Suppliers – you will need to learn to negotiate. As we said earlier, commercial kitchen equipment is expensive, and so too is all the food, if you don’t negotiate well (usually because you’re too nice) then you will turn less profit. Some new restaurant owners take assertiveness classes to address the “nice” factor.
As you can appreciate, running a restaurant is hard work, and it isn’t something that everyone will be suited to. Think very carefully before embarking on this career – do plenty of research and talk to other owners.