5 Tips to Operating a Restaurant

Whether you’re currently operating a restaurant or are contemplating opening one here are five tips to give you a better understanding of what you need to succeed.


Even if you have an extensive knowledge of business, you need to garner as much knowledge as possible on the restaurant business. There is a uniqueness to the restaurant industry that no matter what you’re business background you will be behind the curve without having experience/education within the industry. Look to take courses and to network with owner’s and operator’s in order to give you a better understanding.


One of the largest costs you will incur as an owner is your labour cost. The more hours that you work the less hours you will be paying someone else to work. This is of huge importance, particularly during the start phase of your operation. I routinely worked 60 to 80 hours per week running restaurants for other people, the first three months as an owner I worked 105-115 and after that still maintained over 90 hours per week for a very long time.


Even when following number two its impossible to be at your restaurant every minute of every day, putting the right people in the right positions will make your life easier for years to come. Odds are you don’t know everything so look to hire key people who’s strengths compliment yours and don’t be afraid to delegate duties to the appropriate people.


Starting any business is expensive but with the demands of inventory, labour, advertising etc there seems to be a large portion of perspective restaurant owners who overlook these factors when thinking about their start up costs. On top of start-up costs like construction costs, signs, permits and so on, it’s a good idea to calculate what your labour costs, continual advertising costs and other monthly expenditures will be and looking to have enough money in the bank to cover those costs for anywhere between six months and one year without making a single sale.


You’ve followed tips one through four and are wondering why your doors aren’t being blown and you’re not looking at opening you hundredth location. The restaurant industry can be a fickle business and like much in life you can do everything right but there is still a luck factor involved, not every restaurant is an instant success which can ultimately be a good thing. Lots of establishments that open to a huge flame of success fizzle out just as fast. As stressful as it can be sometimes it simply takes time for people to come to you, for your business to build, keep an objective eye to what you’re doing and be open to making changes if necessary but don’t jump the gun and panic just because three months in and you’re not making a lot of money- most don’t. Following tip four will make this time much less stressful but ultimately be patient, success often takes time.

There are a ton of variables to owning and operating a restaurant but these five tips will help make the process simpler and more easily understood from the start.

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