Starting a business

Does anyone have experience starting, operating, or owning a business?

I’m opening a restaurant this year and I could use the experience and suggestions from people either in the business or general business experience i.e. payroll companies, inventory software, accounting software

Thank you!

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What experience do you have in running a restaurant ? It is not the easiest way to make a living. Long hours , long lists of regulations to comply with. Staff dishonesty , endless cleaning, pest control and heaps of competition. no time for yourself or your family.
Have you ever watched Ramsey’s kitchen nightmares
Not trying to put you off but there are a lot of pitfalls if you have little experience .


I’ve been a professional chef for 20 years. I’ve opened 5 restaurants for people.

I’m looking for suggestions and experience with things like accounting, inventory, payroll, POS systems.

I’m very experienced in the industry, but that doesn’t mean I know everything, and anyone that can offer a suggestion or 2 would be very appreciated.

I don’t know anything about solid restaurant pos systems, but those s/b attached to some form of accounting methodology and inventory control. I would farm out your payroll if you can afford to (something like PayChex, etc…) As a pro chef I am sure you are well versed in knowing your food costs, but I would also highly recommend that you fully understand a P&L statement and balance sheet. Especially understand your fixed costs vs. variable costs, If you are installing a bar, I would recommend any system that fully accounts for your liquor inventories as overpouring/bar theft can be a serious bleed. Love all of your employees, but trust none of them. I’ve run several business units and companies (not restaurants) but I can’t stress enough fully understanding your industry related business reports. You must review these on a monthly basis.


Do you suggest any variable cost models to follow?

There aren’t any models per se, variable costs are simply your profit and loss statement line items that vary from month to month. For example, your rent is a fixed cost. Employee wages, cost of goods sold, utilities are variable costs. If your business can’t support your fixed costs you’re pretty much doomed *there are exceptions if you have investors who have patience and there are longer term start up costs. (tech for example although restaurants can have several months of start up costs. You have to pay attention to your variable costs month to month and make decisions to effectively run your business and save money doing so. You don’t have a ton of control over your utilities (at least short term), but you do have immediate control over your payroll and supply costs. You have to be on top of those in order to stay or be profitable

If you are really just looking for a profit and loss statement template for restaurants, I’m sure there are tons out there. For your start up, you can use a Gantt chart to help keep yourself on track to opening. You should know your start up costs as well as your future break even point (the point that your restaurants profits payoff your start up costs. I would also recommend that you find someone to handle your social media/advertising but be cautious as there are a lot of unnecessary expenses that will be pitched to you. Avoid the nonsense and understand your target market and advertise directly to that. (one example, if your customer is going to be made up of a boatload of OTGs, you probably do not need to worry about social media but if you expect a much younger crownd social media becomes necessary.

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Just want to wish you good luck now, as we will not be seeing you very much afterwards.

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I don’t know about running a restaurant, but know about what I want when eating at one.

  • It should be very clean (one would think that is a given, but often doesn’t seem so).
  • Service should be good and friendly - doesn’t have to be all that fast but props if it is.
  • Food should be made using quality ingredients (at least in relation to class of restaurant) and (as appropriate) authentic recipes.
  • If I go to a Mexican restaurant, there should be some actual Mexicans working there?!? - both serving and cooking. If I go to Taco Bell, ok give me the gringo staff.
  • Have a Vegetarian/Vegan section or mix them in with other stuff but clearly note each dish as such. (side note - all Vegan is OK for Veg, but generally few Veg is OK for Vegan - so you increase your potential customer reach if you inc more Vegan options). If you feel the need to hype the new “Plant Based” label fad, go for it but also include whichever other label above would apply.
  • Don’t pack people in and seat too close…give us some room to breathe - and hear others at our table w/o need for everyone to raise their voices.
  • Don’t make us pay by giving our credit cards to the server - have the portable machine that is brought to the table (also a central cash register would be ok as additional option). Whichever, just keep the servers out of handling the cc.
  • Take out and leftovers should be packed in recyclable and/or biodegradable containers. Getting this right can be a challenge as what can be recycled depends on where you are.
  • Appropriately themed furnishing/decorations/lighting, and light background music or a TV with Football or whatever. Just have things match the theme of the restaurant.

OK, all this talk is making me hungry for my 2nd breakfast. I’ll head to my own restaurant (my kitchen) and cook up something special (reheat 2 day old grits in my microwave). Hope this doesn’t take away from my above, potentially snobbish, opinions. :wink:

Most people don’t want to hear this, but I’d advice to talk to a lawyer about how you can start your company, but not be personally liable if/when it fails. It’s bad enough when a dream comes crashing down, but if it personally drives you into bankruptcy it’s so much worse.

Things like liability insurance for employees is also something that’s often overlooked as a static cost.

Covering your own ass in case of failure might sound mercenary, but it’ll almost certainly be really important to your mental health and stress levels in the future.


Thank you all for your feedback. It is very appreciated. :heart:

  1. There will never be a microwave in my kitchen
  2. Everything will be fresh (besides french fries…because nobody can make a better french fry than Lamb-Weston)
  3. Specific cuisine does not require a person from that culture cooking it i.e. The ceaser salad was created in mexico by an italian chef, and the dish is technically mexican
  4. It will be takeout only, and there will be options to pay without having to interact with people
  5. I have a lawyer taking care of all necessary legal paperwork
  6. There will be vegetarian/ vegan options, but they will be made in house
  7. I am not interested in profit. All money after expenses are paid will go directly into the business. I will only pay myself a salary.
  8. Everything will be affordable. To many times I have seen ridiculous prices for sub-par food. There’s no reason anyone should be charging $35 for a salmon dish when you can buy fresh salmon for 10.99lb and serve 8oz portions.
  9. I will only hire positive people with excellent references. However long that takes. I am creating a humble, teaching, teamwork oriented crew…and yes…it is posible.
  10. When I open I will make sure that you all have a chance to visit!
  11. Any pasta I serve will be fresh. Making pasta by hand is not that difficult. ANy chef that says otherwise is lazy.
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