According to RestaurantOwner.com, “after the first year 27% of restaurant startups failed; after three years, 50% of those restaurants were no longer in business; and after five years 60% had gone south. At the end of 10 years, 70% of the restaurants that had opened for business a decade before had failed”. If all these numbers seem a little overwhelming let me, or the website sum it up for you: “one in four chance a new startup will fail”. While it’s not the myth of 90-95%, it’s still a little daunting. Then is goes on to tell the hopeful entrepreneur that “Another academic research study concluded that 81.4% of all small business failures result from forces within the control of the owners/managers”. So now, not only will you fail, it will be your fault.
That is almost...what’s the opposite of inspirational? Crushing!
But let’s really think about this and break it down. You’re a chef and think it would be fabulous to own your own restaurant where you get to make all the food choices and get all the glory. Sounds great! However, a few details will need your attention.
Why don’t we just focus on staffing? When starting a restaurant, one would think about the typical hiring needed: chefs, sous chefs, wait staff, bus staff, dishwashers, hosts, bartenders, sommeliers, bakers, and pastry chefs. But these will not be your most expensive staff members. Your lawyer and accountant will cost you way more an hour than your waiters. Not to mention your partner, who will take half of everything you earn, but lets face it, if your opening a restaurant in any major city (like NY) having a partner is the way to go. But of course all these people, with the acceptation of the “partner”, arrive after all the work is done. Before anyone can help you the big questions, like money, location and name, have been answered. The many needs of interior design (including construction), kitchen setup and appliance stocking, selection of suppliers, acquirement of permits and inspections are all done by "temporary" employees that all require your time and attention (and money). All this and you have yet to cook a bean.
This whole mess really brings last nights challenge into perspective: 4 chefs, 2 days (actually 4, right?) to focus on food and environment. And the losing team’s food stunk? That was just sad. While last week I was sympathetic for the chefs and the lack of time to reach the judges high standards, this week I was sure that with a little fine tuning they could knock it out, no problem. But taking a step backwards? Bad news. Sure they didn’t have the help the other team did but then as you’ve read all the tough stuff lays on the restauranteur...help comes later. Unfortunatly, a little too late for Tre.