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Old 06-10-2011, 07:43 PM  
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Restaurant starting

Hey guys-

I get out of the Corps in 2013, and am dead set on starting a restaurant with my wife and children. I've got the funding figured out thanks to the incredible VA business loan program.

What I'm up in the air about is whether to start my own from scratch, or to buy an already established business.

I'll be open as far as location, although ultimately I'd like to keep it to suburban locations or small city downtown locations.

Anyone have any first-hand experience?
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:11 AM  
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I worked in the hotel industry for over 10 years but never opened a restaurant.

Up here many many restaurants are here one day, gone the next. I think that might be because they try to cater to the latest trends instead of relying on the tried and true formula of excellent food, excellent service and reasonable price.

I guess location is going to be vitally important as well. You need to be where the people are, don't expect the people to come to you.
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:05 PM  
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Yeah, most hotels go under in the first 6 months of them even starting. It's pretty intimidating, I'm not going to lie. However, I'm not expecting fluffy clouds and roses. One thing I won't accept, though, is failure - hah that's the Corps speaking through me.

I've got about a year and a half to research and get everything ready to go. I want to start it within a year of me getting out, so that'll give me some more time to get prepared and get used to whatever area we end up in.

Before the Corps, all I did was the restaurant business. I bounced around being a waiter, cook, dishwasher, bus boy, fast food - pretty much everything but management.

Another thing I've considered is buying a franchise name and just setting one of those up.
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Old 06-11-2011, 03:52 PM  
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I have no experiance in the buisness but if I were starting a new restaurant buisness I would keep it stupid simple. Hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos and burritos, sammich or two. Not a lot into it, keep it low and build it slow.
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:44 PM  
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Look very closely at the competition. That is, the ones that are doing well. You will have to provide something better and more interesting than they do if you are going to make it. The other option is to fill a need. Recently a breakfast/lunch only cafe opened in our city of 55,000 people, before that there were none of those here. They have been packed with lines out the door every day since opening a month ago, while several upscale lunch/dinner restaurants have gone out of business or changed hands.
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Old 06-11-2011, 06:01 PM  
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We've always planned a homey feel, with me cooking, bartending, etc and my wife waiting tables- the reason I picked that is because I love restaurants where the owner is active. It encourages a relationship between the restaurant and customers.

What do you guys think?
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Old 06-11-2011, 07:07 PM  
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I like the little mom & pop places. There was one near me that we liked but they closed up on us.
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Old 06-11-2011, 08:39 PM  
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I like a place where the owner has a vested interest, but man Jake, that is tough business to get into and keep running.

You need to have an edge in order to make a go of it. I think the biggest edge you can get in that business is a location that lets you take advantage of a captive and hungry market.

I'd say look for a nice undiscovered but up and coming little resort town and make yourself a household name there.
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Old 06-12-2011, 03:19 AM  
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I agree. Location will be a big part of it. Another advantage us veterans have is extremely low loan rates, which gives us a lot more cash flow and ultimately less interest. Did you know 1/3 of the Top500 companies are owned by former Marines?

But back on subject! I do realize it's going to be difficult. However, I'm confident we'll have what it takes.
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:58 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake7 View Post
We've always planned a homey feel, with me cooking, bartending, etc and my wife waiting tables- the reason I picked that is because I love restaurants where the owner is active. It encourages a relationship between the restaurant and customers.

What do you guys think?
It's important, without a face it's not a home.

A couple of points I've learned after spending a decade in the restaurants industry.

Location is important, once you find it do not move. People will not follow.

Never change names unless something horrible happens there. If someone gets murdered, you get closed down, change you're name and lose the association.

Simple pays the bills. Complex flavors can go down hill fast if not properly executed. I've seen good restaurants transition into more upscale menus and crash and burn.

Treat your Kitchen Manager like he's king, if the food goes good everything else will fall into place. A good Kitchen manager can also save you a lot of overhead and waste.

I wasn't asked so I'm not going to continue unless you would like me to.
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