posted on Dec, 7 2006 @ 01:31 PM
I speak to you from personal experience.
The food industry is a very demanding mistress. Be prepared to pretty much give up life as you know it. The hours are crazy. If you don't work the
crazy hours, you will not succeed. Be prepared to spend MUCH MUCH more money than you had planned. Double what you think, then double that, and you
might have enough.
Now if you're not scared away, read on.
When searching for a location, make sure that you know the Health Code requirements beforehand. Get to be as friendly with the Health Inspector as you
can. They can make your life miserable. Check to see if you need greasetraps, or the very expensive upgrades to them. To save some money, try to find
what was already a restaurant. Chances are if was already a restaurant, the proper grease traps are installed - but make sure that they are
acceptable!!!!! Also the plumbing for the additional janitors closet, and kitchen sinks should already be present. If you are using gas appliances,
make sure that the gas lines are run. If using electric, make sure that the proper amount of amps is available. Don't forget, you will have to have
restrooms for the customers, as well as the staff, so make sure that hey are present, or you will be spending a small fortune on this alone.
Find a good used restaurant equipment store. Buying new equipment such as ovens, stoves, refrigeration, mixers, steel tables and the like is not
necessary. You will save many thousands of dollars buying used. Make sure the equipment is refurbished and clean. Often time they will give you a
short warranty for a price. Negotiate the warranty price, but definitely get it. I've seen that you can get used pots and pans, but personally, I get
them new. Again, check with your new best friend the health inspector, as to the requirements for the refrigeration. You might need walk in
refrigerators and freezers. Make sure that you check that out. Also contact the township municipal clerks to find out about all of the licenses
needed, and the costs associated. Same thing with the fire company. Have the health inspector, and fire code inspector visit your potential location,
and ask them what they think. They will be impressed that you are concerned, and can often times point out areas that might need to be addressed.
There's nothing worse that getting everything ready to go, just to find out that you have to go back and re-do something because you didn't do it to
Get in touch with a good linen service. They will pick up your dirty rags and aprons, and deliver clean ones to you once a week. This service is
great, washing those things at home is another couple of hours after a 90 hour week. Also a good knife sharpening service. They will come and drop off
freshly sharpened knives, and take the dull ones away every couple of weeks. Another nice thing to have done for you.
A good coffee service is invaluable. They will give you the equipment to use as long as you buy their coffee. There are different grades of coffee, so
make sure you investigate it.
There are many food suppliers. Sysco comes to mind, but they are expensive when you are first starting out. There are warehouses that cater to
restauranteurs. The Food Depot is a huge one around here. It has premium foods and ingredients - absolutely everything you need at a bargain price.
You have to pick up everything which is a pain in the toosh, but as a startup you can save a ton of money. When you are ready, then you have the big
food suppliers who deliver cater to you.
Don't skimp on the ingredients. Use good grades of everything, as good as you can afford. It does make a difference.
Also, a nice tip. This is something that I do. Police Officers, Firefighters, and so forth - I take care of them. I don't give free meals, because I
don't want anything misconstrued, but I charge a small flat fee for their meals. I don't publicize it, or make a big deal out of it. But they talk
amongst themselves, and you are doing a nice thing for the people who protect you. They will grace your establishment, recommend it, and god forbid
something happens, you are watched over well.
Forget about having holidays in your life. Your job is to make other peoples holidays nice, which means that you are working hard. If you don't
absolutely LOVE it - don't do it. It'll just be a money pit, and a nasty learning experience.
If there is anything else I can shed light on, don't hesitate.