New here...little introduction of myself along with some future plans.

Post
JAbbott
Junior Burger
2010/01/07 18:05:44
Hey guys, i just joined the forum today and read a few topics and already have gotten some great insight so i plan on sticking around and learning a few things. I currently am a mechanical designer for a military aerospace company that is getting sick of sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day. My family owned a restaurant called "The Steak Out" in manchester, ny. My grandpa started it with his brother, and passed it off to my dad and uncle. Story told short...bad decisions were made for the business inside the restaurant and outside in regards to the economically depressed town. I grew up with the steak out, I would have loved to take it over, but it didnt turn out that way. So now, i want to start small in another location. My gf works at her families cafe in the same town. We both really want to open one together and do something great with it. So, now i'm doing a lot of research in the restaurant management scheme. I want to do this the right way and this looks like a good place to get tips.
BillyB
Filet Mignon
Re:New here...little introduction of myself along with some future plans. 2010/01/07 18:53:56
Welcome JAbbott, It really would have been nice to follow in the foot steps of your family. What kind of food, and what kind of knowledge, did you get out of the family restaurant. Wanting a restaurant and being successful are two different things. What Ideas and knowledge do you have to make you think you can,and will succeed.....Billyb
Dr of BBQ
Filet Mignon
Re:New here...little introduction of myself along with some future plans. 2010/01/07 19:12:21
Welcome JAbbott and the best of luck in your new adventure.

Jack
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:New here...little introduction of myself along with some future plans. 2010/01/07 21:48:44
Welcome JAbbott!
 
Some of the best worst and most difficult lessons to understand in the restaurant business is when those issues are also part of family matters...as well.
 
 
JAbbott
Junior Burger
Re:New here...little introduction of myself along with some future plans. 2010/01/08 10:08:45
BillyB

Welcome JAbbott, It really would have been nice to follow in the foot steps of your family. What kind of food, and what kind of knowledge, did you get out of the family restaurant. Wanting a restaurant and being successful are two different things. What Ideas and knowledge do you have to make you think you can,and will succeed.....Billyb


My parents restaurant was breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7 days a week. They had a great bar business too. My dad and uncle were the primary bartenders there for about 25 years. They had great steaks, prime rib, blooming onions, chicken wings...the list goes on. It was mainly a great steak house though. I'm not looking for a full blown restaurant though. A cafe is more than enough to put on my plate for now. I want to learn things step by step and not get a head of myself. What makes me think i will succeed, is my attitude. I'm always positive and i always think about things from more than one perspective. I worked at my families gas station also for about 5 years so i dealt with thousands of people in a year. I would say my ability to talk to people would be my best feature.
JAbbott
Junior Burger
Re:New here...little introduction of myself along with some future plans. 2010/01/08 10:14:13
So, I guess the next thing i want to learn is...how do i get my foot in the door? Are there any websites or people to talk to in regards to finding the right location? My gf and I visited Wilmington, NC last summer and we love the area. Having a nice little business there would be wonderful.

Are there grants available?
How much money cash should i keep in the bank before opening a place?

We want to run something with just breakfast and lunch. open at 6am serving coffee and breakfast, and close around 2-3pm. We want to make good food without the high prices and really make a name for ourselves. We'd rather live a happy lifestyle than be rich and famous.
BillyB
Filet Mignon
Re:New here...little introduction of myself along with some future plans. 2010/01/08 10:58:41
JAbbott

So, I guess the next thing i want to learn is...how do i get my foot in the door? Are there any websites or people to talk to in regards to finding the right location? My gf and I visited Wilmington, NC last summer and we love the area. Having a nice little business there would be wonderful.

Are there grants available?
How much money cash should i keep in the bank before opening a place?

We want to run something with just breakfast and lunch. open at 6am serving coffee and breakfast, and close around 2-3pm. We want to make good food without the high prices and really make a name for ourselves. We'd rather live a happy lifestyle than be rich and famous.

JAbbott, nothing wrong with Rich & Famous and happy either, I find it better than Poor, Unfamous and Sad. A great attitude is wonderful, but, so is fantastic food. I didn't see you say anything about your Chef/Cooking skills. I love the idea of Great cooks/Chefs/Country menus in Diners. Homemade Diner food is something I would go miles out of my way for Breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Diners that serve Homemade Meatloaf, hot beef and hot turkey Sands with mashed potatoes and gravy are a great idea. A great attitude may get people into your restaurant, Great food will bring them back.
  I would never paint a rosy picture of the restaurant business, it is not a easy business to be successful. It is long hours and many stories of heartache along the way. If you have a great attitude, good personality, and great food in the right location, it could be the most rewarding thing you will ever do in your life.............Good luck........Billyb
JAbbott
Junior Burger
Re:New here...little introduction of myself along with some future plans. 2010/01/08 15:07:26
Hahah well i agree with you there bill. I dont want to be poor and sad either. I guess i should say that i'm not worried if i dont make millions with it. I guess when it comes to my cooking skills, im not champ. I know how to make a few dishes from cooking at home and whatnot. I have a lot to learn in that department though. My gf has been working in a cafe for a while though and is quite talented at making some good meals, especially in the breakfast and lunch groups, which is our concentration.

Well i have two of the four down...just need to get the location set, and start bringing in the food...one step at a time though. thanks for the input!
Ice Cream Man
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:New here...little introduction of myself along with some future plans. 2010/01/08 15:40:06
Most people don't make it in any business because 4 weeks in they are looking for a pay cheque.
In the first year you are considered successful if you can pay the bills.
I've started 5 businesses with 3 being successful.
What I think is the most important thing is not how much money you have but how much are you prepared to lose.
You could say I will risk 50,000, when that's gone I'm out.
How do you figure out your risk tolerance, easy, how much can you afford to pay back each month for 10 years from a job you can get after you fail.
So if you can only afford a used car on payments don't buy a new BMW.
Do a proper business plan with an accurate budget then add 30% for the unknown and because we all like to lie to ourselves.
JAbbott
Junior Burger
Re:New here...little introduction of myself along with some future plans. 2010/01/08 16:40:24
Yea i've already assumed (and heard) that most businesses wont start seeing a profit until a couple years down the road. I'm prepared mentally for that. I figure if i have around 10k in my back pocket for living expenses while trying to open this restaurant up, i might be able to focus every cent that the cafe see's, right back into it. If it fails, then i know i have a job back where i currently work, or i have plenty of families endevors i can rely on.
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:New here...little introduction of myself along with some future plans. 2010/01/08 20:46:52
The first order of business  to explore is the structure of your business. Especially if you are deciding to start a business with a business partner that is also a partner in life outside business.
 
http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98359,00.html
 
 
Sonny Funzio
Double Cheeseburger
Re:New here...little introduction of myself along with some future plans. 2010/01/13 15:26:58
The best single tip I can give you is to understand CVP - Cost/Volume/Profit, backwards and forwards.  The most common aspect of CVP is the Breakeven Analysis.  BA is not just a number, but an entire process in which you understand the relationships between all the factors that influence your profitability.  Restaurant capacity ... turnover ... customer handling ... menu mix ... menu pricing ... expenses ... controls (purchasing, inventory, production etc) ... these are all critically intertwined in your operations.
Breakeven Analysis in particular is THE compass for decision-making.

Get the best references on this that you can find ... big bookstores and  bookstores on college campuses that have culinary arts programs are good places to find such references.  Stay away from simplistic wanna-be restaurateur books and seek references that are more like textbooks.  Your point-of-sale software might have some built in CVP number reporting, but do *not* rely on automated reports from your POS system to gain (that is, “learn”) an in-depth understanding of this critical business skill.