I graduated from a reputable college and majored in English. I have designed a great restaurant concept on paper, but am hesitant to develop it. From every rumor, story, comment and article I have either heard or read it seems essential to have a degree in Business rather than degree in English to succeed in the restaurant business. Do you agree? Since I have no further desire to go back to school, should I scrap my dream of being a famous owner or should I just "go for it" and prepare for the worst?
No Business Degree
Dear No Business;
If the requirements for being deemed a "successful owner" in the restaurant profession included a degree in business, few would make the grade. Knowledge of business is essential. It is advantageous to have been around the block a few times. Having tasted the bitter flavor of failure is also a plus. Experiencing success in some business category would be a worthwhile measure of your chances. However, people have opened restaurants with little knowledge and succeeded, while others, considered business wizards, have lost fortunes.
The luck-factor equates heavily in the restaurant success formula. Seldom however, do owners consider it when analyzing why they are successful. Some concepts quickly take off and become popular overnight. Unexplainably, this happens and the ride can either be short lived or last a lifetime depending on the management of the business. Owners frequently push the right buttons at the right time and become popular and packed, instantly.
A business background is essential when the doors open and the house immediately fills with happy customers. In addition, discipline to keep hands – your and others- out of the cash is imperative to success. Many new restaurant owners see cash and assume it belongs to them. After paying taxes, vendors, insurance, payroll, rent, utilities, and other expenses, the cash was just a teaser. Aside from business smarts, you will need, depending on the size of your dream, some management help to guide the rocket ship on a safe journey. Having the talent to develop a targeted concept, finding the perfect, affordable location and creating an appealing atmosphere that patrons find comfortable are an important element that compliments the person who knows the bottom line of business.
The person who creates – the concept developer – is usually the star of every project until it opens. Then the chef and the manager team up to create an experience.
If you have the talent to design an exciting concept, why not look for a partner who has an impressive business background. You don´t have to give the store away, but offering a small percentage of the business to entice hard work, loyalty, honesty and dedication is a interesting and aceptable tactic to cover your weak points. By developing a relationship a biz wiz will also allow you to enjoy the entertaining part of the business. Good luck with you venture. Remember, if you make it after you go for it; don´t forget where you came from.