Thursday, April 28, 2011

Starting a Restaurant

John Marine | 4/28/2011 10:24:00 PM | | |
When you make recipes and dishes, you feel you could service many more people, especially if you feel more people will enjoy your food. Those who feel their cooking can be enjoyed by more people often open restaurants and kitchens. When starting any business, you start a business with the intent of servicing others and treating them well. Starting a restaurant or diner is no different. Those who start their own restaurant are confident that their brand of food and cooking can serve many consumers. Long-time readers of "John's Blog Space" may have read my blog post on 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, whereas two teams open their own restaurant. They have a set budget and 24 hours to set everything up. The only help teams will get is a kitchen staff. Of course, the teams have to manage that staff.

When it comes to opening your own restaurant or diner or whatever, you trust that your food will please multiple consumers. This blog post concerns those who open their own restaurants, whether it's a small eatery or cafe all the way up to national (and even international) restaurant chains.

Before I Begin...

I mention restaurant, but this can mean any sort of eating place. This can mean restaurants, cafes, diners, ice cream places, candy stores, snow cone vendors, grills, etc.

Also, I have NO experience in preparing food. I am NOT any kind of cook! I can barely microwave food! Last thing of any kind I've cooked or prepared with a stove was either pizza or a grilled cheese sandwich back in 1998! So therefore... this is mostly a digest of info based solely on personal commentary.

So let's begin!

--- Starting a Restaurant: Why Do It? ---

^ from: - Establishing a restaurant or some other eatery takes a lot of dedication and effort.

Every now and then, people need to eat to fight off hunger, fill their bellies, or sometimes just eat something tasty and/or healthy. There are many eating venues dedicated to treating others' mouths with great food, tasty drinks, and indulgent desserts. If these reasons aren't good enough to want to start off in the food business and in making your own restaurant or eatery, I don't know what is. This deal goes back to a common theme expressed in my blog- offering a service to others and executing on all fronts with that service. Those who specialize in preparing and serving food and/or drinks want to be able to offer their flavor and skill to others.

So why start a restaurant or some other kind of business catering to food? Let me answer this question in a different way. Why did I start blogging? It was because I felt I could service people worldwide with my insight and commentary. Why did I set up a YouTube channel? It was because I felt the need to express myself in video as well as provide transparency in expressing ideas. So why do restauranteers do what they do? It is because they feel their cooking and other expertise is so good, that they feel their cooking can be enjoyed by a greater audience. Those who are this confident (or at least hopeful) start their own restaurants and diners and such. To everyone who loves preparing food, don't you feel like your food can be enjoyed by a greater audience than loved ones and a couple of friends?

The most important element of almost any craft is to make things with the ability of being distinctive and unique. Think about fast food restaurants, for instance. I LOVE chicken. Popeye's is one of my favorites for their delicious chicken as well as their great dirty rice. Their buttermilk biscuits are among some of the best biscuits of any fast food chain. Kentucky Fried Chicken has some great-tasting chicken as well. I have also loved their KFC Snackers back in my college days. Besides traditional chicken eateries, I am BIG on Chick-fil-a and their chicken. I sometimes just have their chicken sandwiches and even some of their chicken fillets. What was the point of mentioning these three fast food restaurants? Simple- if you want to be regarded highly in any craft you devote yourself to, always look to distinguish yourself from others.

--- Starting a Restaurant: Distinction ---
There are a number of different eating venues with different levels of specialization. Some people just have one unique location where they can properly serve their customers with quality food and service. Some are fortunate enough that their work is so good that restaurant chains and separate locations are opened across cities and across multiple regions. What constitutes a restaurant becoming so successful to even where chains are started? Distinction.

Some restaurants and eateries are distinctive for preparing certain dishes and items for people to eat. For example, a casual diner can serve hamburgers with big patties. A certain restaurant may be famous for its famous drinks. Much like how professional wrestlers have their own signature moves and finishing manuvers, restaurants and other eateries have their own signature treat to service to their customers. What famous food(s) and/or drink(s) can you offer in offering a lasting impression for your customers? Is there a certain dessert you can offer that is distinctively yours? Depending on your signature dishes, people may come back to your restaurant for these things and more. It's all about being distinctive in any craft, including food.

Are you enjoying your read so far? If you are not reading the full blog post and want to continue, please click on "Read More" to enjoy the rest of this blog post!

--- Starting a Restaurant: One or More Locations? ---
In any business or craft, your ability to be unique and offer something others will love lends itself to lots of demand. Interested parties will want to follow in your footsteps and take part in expanding your restaurant's appeal.

Multiple Locations.

So do you feel that your cooking can benefit a greater audience? You may choose to have just one primary restaurant that others can flock to for your cooking (even if they have to travel from afar), or you can try to set up multiple restaurants to try to establish your own empire. It takes responsbility to manage more than one restaurant. In addition, people have to be convinced it will do well in a certain location. Especially if trying to be a national or international chain, it would help to be in major markets. Or maybe you want to have a famous eatery unique to your people and location. That in itself is perfectly fine.

Here in the Houston area, we have local restaurants and eateries such as Kelley's Country Cooking (which my mother often jokingly calls "Big Food Kelley's") and Cheddar's Casual Cafe. Kelley's is all about down-home food. I usually have their chicken strips with country gravy. I usually have some of the chicken sandwiches from Cheddar's, mostly the World Class Chicken sandwich and the Hawaiian Chicken sandwich. My family and I have been to that specific Cheddar's ranging from casually eating out to certain special occasions, including the day I got my Associate's in the Arts back in 2008.

Multiple locations for eateries depend on one's restaurant being so good that more people should be able to enjoy the food offered. With more restaurants comes more responsibility in all of them preparing food and servicing others the right way. It also helps to have them all perform well without having see one location get shut down because of poor performance. I'd say it's more challenging having an international chain (or at least, restaurants with international locations, such as McDonald's) because you have to have chains doing well in your native nation as well as other nations doing well preparing such food.

Just One (or More) Locations.

Sometimes, though, it's best to be unique and just offer your fine cooking as a great local business. You can always be a quality eatery of some kind by offering to your local audience. You can even have a local eatery that has a few more locations across town or within the greater metropolitan area of your city. Especially if you offer good food and don't care much about trying to be a national (or even international) chain, you care more about knocking out other peoples' hunger than try to chase big money. Sometimes, being distinctive means offering food that is so good that they'll need to personally travel to one location for great and unique food. In other words... if you live in Seattle (for example) and want to enjoy great food even if you have to travel very far, and if you think it's worth the trip because of their great food, you'd be willing to travel to that restaurant even if it's in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Honolulu, Toronto, or wherever. Or maybe it is a great restaurant in a smaller city. If you're not thinking about making your own restaurant chain nationwide or internationally, and if you make and serve great food, getting people to visit around the nation and around the world only adds to the appeal of your restaurant.

If you can afford to do so, you may have one major restaurant also serve as a school. Here are two examples- the national chain, Olive Garden, has a school in Tuscany, Italy where students learn certain dishes. Another example is The Lady and Sons restaurant by Paula Deen in Savannah, Georgia, USA. Paula Deen has her own school within The Lady and Sons where people can learn to prepare her recipes as well as just being able to prepare food in general. It's perfectly fine to have a single restaurant as well as expand upon it.

One final note about having a single or major restaurant is that you are able to generate some traffic. People may know nothing about your city except that it has a great restaurant. This alone can help to bring people to your city. Imagine if you owned an eatery of some kind in Wichita, Kansas, USA; and people would be willing to travel internationally to visit and eat at your restaurant. This adds appeal to your restaurant and gives you some international appeal. Since I'm focused on American eateries, international means more than just Canada and Mexico- imagine people from Japan, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, South Africa, Pakistan... you name it, all visiting and eating (and hopefully enjoying) your single location. ULTIMATE swagger there in promoting your restaurant.

However you choose to play this deal, at least know that you have something to offer to many people. How far do you expand your audience? Do you feel it is best to offer your dishes and recipes to others in other locations in hopes other locations can prepare your dishes the right way? Or, do you feel that your food is so unique, that the best way to enjoy your food is to come on down to your restaurant? Responsibility is the key concept regardless of whatever decisions you make in making/expanding your restaurant.

--- Starting a Restaurant: Servicing the Masses ---
There is no greater responsibility of any eating venue than servicing the masses. It can be a person looking for a casual eat, someone celebrating a birthday, a couple on a date, a family gathering at a restaurant, a local non-professional sports team celebrating a big win or a championship, or whatever. You could even be welcoming famous people as well as political leaders. The responsibility of servicing the masses is critical depending on whom is being serviced. Just the notion that someone special is coming to your restaurant only adds to the level of importance of making sure your food and other items are of the highest quality. You have to perform great, and so does the crew who help make food.

Those who enjoy your restaurant will likely come back for your food and may even recommend others to visit your restaurant. Conversely, those who disliked your restaurant may not ever return and likely not recommend it to others. A boost in morale and motivation are up for grabs in these situations. Will you deliver or crack under pressure?

--- Starting a Restaurant: Catering ---
Catering involves taking your dishes out and about apart from the restaurant. Think of it more like taking your show out on the road. Responsibility reigns supreme here too since you are offering your dishes to others. You have to prepare food, drive out safely to the location, make sure the food is all in good eating condition, and stuff like that.

If any restaurant or chain caters to people in need, I kindly salute you. No person or group of people make me happy than those who give back to the community or to greater causes.

To everyone who started their own restaurant or are thinking of starting a restaurant of some kind, my best of luck goes out to all of you. We all need to be fed throughout the day. You all are among the ones who help make it possible. Many of us aren't afraid to pay a great deal just to feed our bellies. If you are of a catering service, your work is even more valued because you trust that you and your crew can prepare dishes and other items abroad outside of the kitchen. The key concept and word of this blog post is responsibility, because it takes responsibility to start and maintain any sort of business. If your job is in feeding people, it's best you make great decisions to help your cause. Do your absolute best in making and maintaining your restaurant. You may even win awards for your work if it is valued by a more discerning audience.

As I have mentioned before, I've mostly mentioned restaurants. However, this blog post can apply to any sort of eatery or any such place where food and drink items are prepared and sold for consumption. You may own an ice cream shop, a restaurant offering certain ethnic foods of some sort (like Indian food, for example), or even a buffet-type restaurant. Most of the material I've expressed pertains to you as well. There are likely different circumstances and responsibilities different from an average restaurant. Still, no one person or entity can start a business without the responsibilities of servicing a greater audience and servicing that audience with class and respect. Anyone can feed anyone; but only the truly devoted and focused can feed people with responsibility and focus.

A Quick Salute:

This blog post was semi-inspired by my blogging and online friend Gabirella of Principessa Gabriella. Feel free to drop by her blog by clicking on Principessa Gabriella.

Well, eat on, folks! :) And uh... thank you for reading!

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John B. Marine said...

Interesting blog post, I've watched my father open a restaurant a few times in my life, as well as some of my other family members, so it's interesting to read other people's view on it. Thanks for mentioning my blog. :) I really need to start blogging more often, I've been so busy with college lately. Thankfully, the semester will be over Monday, and I can devote more time to my blog. :)

John B. Marine said...

You re right. I think starting a restaurant means more than knowing how to cook and offering people what they want.There s a lot of work behind every business, mostly when your main purpose is to satisfy the consumers needs.Great post!Have a great weekend!:)

John B. Marine said...

You are very welcome, Alina. I'm glad you've enjoyed my post.

John B. Marine said...

No problem, Gabriella. Glad you liked my post.

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