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Inside Out


stovetop
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INSIDE OUT-THE MADNESS OF A SMALL RESTAURANT

After twenty-five years you would think I would developed a very tough skin- but the pressure and anxiousness of operating a small restaurant can penetrate even the toughest of Armour. This past year I have had a few adventures and it has reminded me of the projects when I was captain of the ship I call Madness.

CONTROL: It is always about control, small business owners sometimes have a concept in the depths of their mind, these ideas try to come out and introduce themselves to those who are as mad as the owner.

CASHFLOW: It is also about cash flow and even the best-built plans eventually lack cash flow; there is no other small business, which can absorb money like the restaurant business. Once the doors are open it sucks up money like a sponge. I call it the pipeline, cash flowing like water out of a spring, that constant flow never weaning or slowing just continuing absorbing your cash flow. It takes quit a helmsman to navigate the waters of the restaurant business

THE MENTAL GYMNASUIM: operating a restaurant is like running a marathon; you have to pace yourself, not only your cash flow but also your time and your mental health. The minute you grab hold of the helm it rips at your whole consciousness, gravity pulls at every brain cell; the madness begins and the inside out arises.

MANAGEMENT: This is the make or brake part of the run, the best intentions and ideas do not always come out the way you think. The problem is you’re not in a vacuum and you eventual will need to rely on someone else. You are one mortal who is attempting fate in an industry that has many shipwrecks on the beach of history.

You are constantly adjusting the sails of time and mental states of mind. The marathon begins to make you tired and with this comes errors and with errors comes more usage of cash flow and you begin to enter no where land. Every staff member you hire is more money off the bottom line. You think that it is helping you and you need a break, the small business cannot afford that extra person so you as an owner have to suck it up and work.

STAFF: The management of your staff is the backbone of your business. Those of you on the helm know that it is hard to be a leader when you are in the trenches fighting out in the everyday in the business; so this is when the letting go happens. Delegate out things you do not need to do. Control!!! Ah you cannot control when you delegate out. Like a parent to a child you have to allow for error. Be brave and let go, this is where mental state of mind comes in. You have to let go because if you do not you will go crazy!!!!

More to come

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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^ Puhleez tell me there's a really good and shining reason for opening a restaurant then. I always knew it was hard to run a restaurant but I always assumed the rewards are in the grins and yumm noises from guests as they enjoy the food you provide. The first glint of a guests eyes when they see the dish triumphantly placed before them. There must be a sort of romance to this that makes you crazy kids become chefs and restraunteurs.

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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INSIDE OUT-THE MADNESS OF A SMALL RESTAURANT

After twenty-five years you would think I would developed a very tough skin- but the pressure and anxiousness of operating a small restaurant can penetrate even the toughest of Armour. This past year I have had a few adventures and it has reminded me of the projects when I was captain of the ship I call Madness.

CONTROL: It is always about control, small business owners sometimes have a concept in the depths of their mind, these ideas try to come out and introduce themselves to those who are as mad as the owner.

CASHFLOW: It is also about cash flow and even the best-built plans eventually lack cash flow; there is no other small business, which can absorb money like the restaurant business. Once the doors are open it sucks up money like a sponge. I call it the pipeline, cash flowing like water out of a spring, that constant flow never weaning or slowing just continuing absorbing your cash flow. It takes quit a helmsman to navigate the waters of the restaurant business

THE MENTAL GYMNASUIM: operating a restaurant is like running a marathon; you have to pace yourself, not only your cash flow but also your time and your mental health. The minute you grab hold of the helm it rips at your whole consciousness, gravity pulls at every brain cell; the madness begins and the inside out arises.

MANAGEMENT: This is the make or brake part of the run, the best intentions and ideas do not always come out the way you think. The problem is you’re not in a vacuum and you eventual will need to rely on someone else. You are one mortal who is attempting fate in an industry that has many shipwrecks on the beach of history.

You are constantly adjusting the sails of time and mental states of mind. The marathon begins to make you tired and with this comes errors and with errors comes more usage of cash flow and you begin to enter no where land. Every staff member you hire is more money off the bottom line. You think that it is helping you and you need a break, the small business cannot afford that extra person so you as an owner have to suck it up and work.

STAFF: The management of your staff is the backbone of your business. Those of you on the helm know that it is hard to be a leader when you are in the trenches fighting out in the everyday in the business; so this is when the letting go happens. Delegate out things you do not need to do. Control!!! Ah you cannot control when you delegate out. Like a parent to a child you have to allow for error. Be brave and let go, this is where mental state of mind comes in. You have to let go because if you do not you will go crazy!!!!

More to come

You have truly said it like it is. And...it never gets any easier. If you're in this business for the money, well... there must be hundreds of easier ways to make money. I think it's like throwing a big party every night and hoping people will firstly, show up and secondly, enjoy themselves and appreciate the effort that went into it.

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Running a restaurant is a disguised form of property speculation.

You make any money from the increase in the property value, except at the very high end where there is additional income from cookery books, TV appearances etc. With luck and good management the restaurant will break even, taking the property price into consideration. What people do in rented property I hate to think.

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CONCEPT: One of the big mistakes of many restaurateurs is not creating a very solid concept and knowing who your customer is: after that, it is creating a very good marketing plan and really targeting your audience; having a clear concept will bring back the customer you want. Also having a clear concept will enable you to communicate properly to your staff, it will serve for better trained staff because if you are training yourself while you are teaching your staff your ideas it is just a matter of time to burnout.

THE WALL: Like running a marathon, the restaurant will push you and your cash flow to the limit. Your nerves and that usual easygoing persona start to turn. You are no longer that happy person and will take it out on your staff. That high level of patience you normally have starts to dwindle to a trickle almost as bad as your cash flow, then you start on your customers. I have found that the wall starts about seven months in. This is when the bills start coming in- GST-PST-Source Deduction: and all the wholesalers are now giving you COD, you have squandered away that wonderful credit you had. It is also about seven months since you had a day off; you are hitting the WALL.

FRONT AND BACK: This is also a tough spot for an owner, he or she has two very different departments to look after, both have very different skill levels and hopeful the owner has skill sets in both areas, if not it will be a priority that that would have hired someone to cover the area they are not versed in. You either had to hire a cook or someone for the front of house. To manage both is quit a task. If it is a open kitchen the job will be a little bit easier task of managing, but if it is a closed kitchen you will have a task at of being in both places at once. When you are putting out fires (solving problems) in the kitchen it is hard to be out front dealing with customer needs. The line is very thin between front and back but it needs to be established right from the start for a restaurant to succeed. The politics between front and back has each its own agenda and to manage both with objectivity becomes very grew when lines are not established. The politics becomes very tiresome: adding to the madness. You become more of a baby sitter then an owner.

You expect you staff to be as big as a multitasker as you are and if you have not created very specific job descriptions that gray area will get even wider causing you more headaches you will walk the line between madness and sanity.

Establish roles very early on and stick to you original plans it will be your saving grace when the wall come a calling and remember never change your concept in mid stream; this change really succeeds it is the biggest monster killer in the business.

Next

THE CUSTOMER

steve

Edited by stovetop (log)
Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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Thanks Fud, Luciano Loi, M. Schmidt, jackal10 for your input; I want to make this posting a place for restaurateurs to express their opinions and experiences, for me I am going to get into stories about my experiences about being in this unique and challenging industry.

steve

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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  • 2 weeks later...

The customer is the biggest part of the business plan and most of the time it is completely missed: Who is my customer? - In any business plan you must decide who your target market is? - But first location-location-location; how does this fit into your concept-next the menu design process, the most over looked aspect I have ever seen in the food business. It is not what you like or dislike but what does that customer that you are trying to get likes and dislikes- It is not about you but your customer.

Being involved in many openings I began to see the same pattern. I call it the front end fluff – The over expenditure of front end design process, the under funding of the kitchen; the last minute development of the kitchen and all processes involved- the menu is just an afterthought. It is like building a boat and forgetting to put an engine or sail. The menu is the basis of the marketing plan and customer development-it is the engine of the business plan. The menu should be the first thing in the process, once the menu is made and priced out then you should say to yourself who is my customer? - Then go look for a location that will fit your aspirations. These people will become part of your life so you better put a lot of thought into it.

When you find your location build your kitchen first and if you have any money left then work on the dinning room, it is just fluff from there. :laugh: Customers come to a restaurant for the food first not for $10,000 light fixtures. Leave your ego at home and use the KISS method, it always works.

Then when you make your millions then go buy that $500 each chairs :wub: , until then stick to the business plan and always finish your menu first.

steve

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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