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Old 09-06-2013, 11:07 PM
 
9 posts, read 34,033 times
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Good evening this is a dilemma that I would love to get anyone's advice and help with!
I aspire to one day (maybe 10-15 years down the line after saving, I am 24) open a hole-in-the-wall or small take-out type eatery. Just a few of my favorite menu items would be served. I have a very very unique concept that my whole life's passion is based on but I don't feel it's necessary to divulge into that for this thread. My point is it's a concept that isn't out there yet and I strongly feel it could be successful.

What I need help with is I am hearing alternating opinions on the issue of how to learn all of this. I am hearing people saying I should take restaurant management courses, and then some who actually have successfully opened a place of their own are saying skip the school, experience is what you need!

Does anyone think it's possible to simply work in a different field, save money over all of these next many years, take a few courses (I will not be getting a degree, simply taking a few "introduction to hospitality, food safety and sanitation, cost control- type classes) and do it that way? For reasons I don't want to get into without sounding like a d*ck, I don't know if working in an eatery is going to be an option for me right now. I might have to work in other fields.

I think what really gets to me is the fact that literally everyone and their mom without sounding disrespectful owns an eatery. Yes there are people who had passions and all of that romance but for example for many immigrant families I've heard never really had any money and were able to open their own places. I heard a story that supposedly that was how a lot of immigrant families came here, they were approached and told you could come to USA and make money in take-out. So in my mind I am always thinking how silly this is because I am sitting here thinking it's so difficult and I really DO have that passion yet supposedly many immigrant families opened up places without much money at all!

My 2nd question is how much money am I looking at saving for a down-payment? 100k, 200k? I am hearing from these boards that banks never loan first-time eateries so about how much money should I aim to save for?

My plan for now from age 24-35 (or a bit older if I need longer to save) is to work as many jobs as I can, for example a full-time and a part-time on 1 of my days off and just save and save while also taking just a few restaurant management courses but focusing more on working and saving money and not going for an actual degree. My plan is by 35 or a bit older I should have at least 100k saved up or more depending on how my raises at work are going and by then I will know all the little details that I learned from my courses. I might not have actual eatery experience but will the courses make-up for that? I can't imagine all of those immigrant families took restaurant courses. This is what inspires me to believe it's possible!

Thank you for your time and advice!!
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:45 AM
 
28,900 posts, read 48,697,093 times
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There is no substitute for actually working in the biz. Take all the business courses you like, but make sure you have a serious hands-on introduction to it.
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:05 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
25,240 posts, read 33,166,349 times
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Well, for one thing, you really should take a series of accounting courses. A few economics courses wouldn't hurt you, and really seriously, take some small business administration course.

You've got 10-15 years before you open your business, so take some appropriate courses and then get a job in some sort of restaurant for your practical experience. You will need a job in some sort of management position, not the fry cook, if you want to learn anything useful..

The failure rate for start-up restaurants is dismal, and a lot of that is because they are opened by people with a dream but completely without a clue about how a restaurant works.

Restaurants are not about being a great cook. They are about employee management, cost control, sanatation, promotion, market analysis, yadda yadda yadda..... Of course, it helps if the food is good, but great food all by itself will not make your business successful.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:09 PM
 
9,291 posts, read 7,884,187 times
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It is about location . . . location . . . location. Unless Real Estate prices plummet ten years from now, I would think your best bet is a food cart or truck. Like those you see in Manhattan. It should be cheap enough for you to start, and from there, you can maybe expand. You can learn all the basics too from working a food cart. It is like a sort of microcosm of an actual restaurants. They are the same except in a much much smaller proportion, so you can handle it easier.
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Old 09-09-2013, 03:31 AM
 
9 posts, read 34,033 times
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cpg thank you! i will look into it and know that's the wise thing to do

oregonwood: thank you I will think about more business/economic type courses, hadn't thought of those. thanks

njbrazen i can't thank you enough. for some odd reason i had completely forgot about the whole food truck concept. 100% more do-able for me, as the 50k i would need for that type of business is much more easily do-able savings-wise vs working 10 years trying to save 100-200k.

if i wanted to in contrast aspire to open a food truck would any of you change your advice? should i still take the business/accounting courses and try to work in an eatery or should i just work work work and save up to buy a truck?

thanks a million!
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles (Native)
25,305 posts, read 17,123,115 times
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Another thing I think is crucial is marketing .

Marketing , branding is very important .

You can't leave things to chance and rely on word of mouth only .
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Old 09-10-2013, 12:34 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
25,240 posts, read 33,166,349 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passionsmalltakeout View Post
.........................
if i wanted to in contrast aspire to open a food truck would any of you change your advice? should i still take the business/accounting courses and try to work in an eatery or should i just work work work and save up to buy a truck?
A food truck is still a business and if you want to be a success, you must learn how to run a business. Yes, I still recommend accounting and small business administration courses. Plus some advertising courses.

A food truck is easier because you won't have as many employees. Employees can be one of the most difficult aspects of running a restaurant. But you would probably need at least one employee, unless you will run with very limited hours.

Shopping and banking must be done. There is a lot of food prep that must be done before the food even reaches the truck. You need to have everything ready to use, because of the limited space.

Unless you want to lose your parking space, the trash that customers throw around has to be picked up. Can you be inside the truck and outside picking up trash at the same time? You need time to work on your books and pay bills. So either very limited hours for your truck and you do it all yourself,o or else you will need an employee (or a spouse or other family member who shares ownership of the truck)
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles (Native)
25,305 posts, read 17,123,115 times
Reputation: 12206
Food Truck seems like it could be a good way to go. I've heard of many people that started with a food truck and have since expanded to "brick and mortar" restaurants.

I'd recommend looking into purchasing a used truck (in good condition of course) as you should be able to save a lot.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:29 PM
 
1,263 posts, read 2,927,080 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
There is no substitute for actually working in the biz. Take all the business courses you like, but make sure you have a serious hands-on introduction to it.
Absolutely, and get a mentor who is doing something similar in the same city/town. Each area has its own legal and regulatory quirks.
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:44 PM
 
19,211 posts, read 25,332,825 times
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find a business model that is the closest to what you are looking at, try to work their part time-

meet with salesman from the food companies you may be buying from,, get todays pricing,,just to figure profit models
also, pick their brains, they know the landscape pretty good,,they also have an insight of locations,,

say you called sysco (yes, not everyone likes them, but they are a national company)
try to have lunch with a regional saleman,,,tell them you are planning on opening a restaurant, and want to ask about products....some of these guys are very knowledgable, knows the area well
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