Ten female chefs and restaurant owners weigh in on going in with your eyes wide open and doing it right.
1. Think long and hard before going into a turn-key situation.
“Unless it’s the deal of the century or a turnkey with family and you’re just carrying on the business. For me, what happened was a constant bucking from the old staff and clients. And you have to clean up someone else’s dirty laundry every day. It’s not a clean slate.”—Kelsey Barnard Clark, KBC / Winner of Top Chef Season 16
2. You’re not supposed to know everything and do everything.
Hire or partner with people to do what they do best. Go after the experts. Networking is key. A lot of independent business owners want to be able to share information and advice.—Jennifer Kim, Passerotto
3. It’s going to cost you double the projections and, if you’re lucky, it will only take you twice as long as your planned timeline.
Something will go wrong. Be ready for that. Raise the capital to account for it. (HINT: Remember that you need to budget for training your staff prior to having them hit the ground running.)— Rose Previte, Maydan / Compass Rose
4. Make an emotional investment in your team.
5. Do your research on the space and the market before you go in.
Don’t just find a space and retroactively figure out an idea. It’s disingenuous and it won’t work.—Marjorie Meek-Bradley, St. Anselm
6. Be realistic about the emotional aspects.
7. Always keep learning.
There are hundreds of restaurants that are successful. There are thousands of restaurants that have failed. Study both and always keep learning.—Jill Tyler, Tail Up Goat
8. Don’t take shortcuts.
“Make sure to get a preventative maintenance contract. Don’t take shortcuts. A lot of restaurants open up and everything’s pretty. But if it’s not maintained from the beginning, you’ll be paying for it later on.”—Johanna Hellrigl, Doi Moi / Birds Eye Café
9. Build your own salary into your financial plan.
“Not enough people ensure they are on the payroll. However- *some* new restaurant owners overpay themselves to the detriment of their operation. The right equation varies, but a fair and livable wage needs to be built in for yourself.”— Jenn Walker, MU Management and Consulting
10. Learn acceptance.