Bob, don't listen to the nay-sayers. They are always here and always more than happy to lend a discouraging word. Follow your heart. If you're half way smart you'll figure out the rest. Yes, it's a gamble. Yes, you might lose your ass. Yes, as one poster said, putting all your money on black might be a safer bet. But look at all the fun you'd miss. The Journey is the point, not the destination.
I'm 45 years old. I have been self employed for most of my adult life (20+ years). I have to date started half a dozen different businesses from scratch, most of which I knew very little about going in. I did my own research, used my wits and intuition, and learned the ropes as I went. All were sucessful to varing degrees. My last venture was started over 12 years ago on a shoestring. The nay-sayers at the time told me I'd be crazy to start with less than $50k to invest - that anything less would be dooming it from the start. Well, all I had was $8k so I made do. Within five years I was grossing $250k in annual sales, with my total net at about 50%. Now, after 12 years with the original location still going strong, I'm opening my third location next week. Granted, mine is NOT a food service business. But basically, business is business. We all have a product that we bring to market, be it an automobile, a hotdog, a haircut, or a fine-dining experience. If you're good at business, you're good at business.
And NO this is NOT my first post. I have been a lurker on this forum for several years. At one time I was a fairly frequent poster, but finally got tired of all the nay-sayers shooting myself and others down without REALLY listening to or answering our questions. So, I eventually got fed up and deleted my account. Been in lurk mode for a couple years now. But your thread promped me to start a new account just to post this.
My best advice: Follow your heart, but also listen to your head, do your homework, and work hard. Or, if you don't work hard, at least work smart. Good Luck!
I was not trying to be one of the negatives or nay sayers. The OP asked an honest question and we have been trying to give him our HONEST answers.
In your post you talked about your start up and how successful it has become. Congratulations, but you also stated shortly there after it WAS NOT a food related business.
Yes, small businesses are somewhat alike, you start small, you pour your life into it and it grows and hopefully grows and grows and then you can possibly take a step back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
But not all businesses are alike:
Business A - Widget Sales
You buy widgets from supplier, you mark up widgets, you sell widgets to consumers who want or need widgets. You see a need for floozdoobers, you find a source of floozdoobers, and again mark them up and sell them to those in need of floozdoobers.
Business B - BBQ Business (just picked a food that was close to heart and varies from location to location) You learn all you can about BBQ the different styles, the different meats, the different rubs, the different sauces, the different styles of cooking. You start small seeing if you are any good at BBQ. When you get enough response and know that your product is the best you can make it. Then you share your creation with the world. The BBQ business is LONG hours of baby sitting your pit, then trying to run the service side of it also. You are spending XX amount of hours in the "back of the house" do you then trust someone to run the "front of the house" while you stay in the back with your creation.
The time spent doing both is astronomical and one person will wear his arse out, but because it is something that is real to him/her then you run yourself ragged and work the LONG hours. Sometimes at the cost of friends and family.
Even then after all that love, sweat, tears, hard work the peoples mood changes and they like corn dogs over bbq or the economy tanks and less and less people come through the doors. They can fix food at home, they don't need to eat out.
you end up seeing the time you spent building the thing you love, come crashing around you.
Business A - Widgets - You can always add floozdoobers or snozwranglers
Business B - BBQ - You can change your menu and attempt to bring back the customers, but when you are talking discressionary (sp) funds..... Widgets beat BBQ
The OP asked our opinions and our opinions come from the heart, come from being there on the front lines of a food related business.
If I have the chance to do it all over again would I??
You are damn right I would, I love cooking and serving. Seeing someone's face light up and smile as they eat what you have produced.
If given the chance would I
open a widget shop instead....
I would if I were smart and wanted to make money