Re:Young (prospective) restaurateur seeking advice on plan
If I may put my 2 cents in based upon my own personal experience…
First, I love your enthususiam and ambition to “strike out” out on your own. That’s great --- but you have to temper that with the R.E.A.L. (reality + enthusiasm + ambition + Long-term) of this business. Good for you to reach-out and get some sound advice in your young life to avoid the potential failures later.
As for "molecular gastronomy". It’s a relatively new trend and fad- we all know about what happens to trends/fads – they will come and so they will go…solid principles and skills will go a lot further in your career. Additionally, your patrons aren’t going to understand it so essentially they won’t really care.
My chef friends and I were recently discussing this same topic and how some of the same curriculum at CIA has changed from the essential basics that we learned back in the old’ days – We’ve become somewhat disappointed with this shift of focus of the Gastronomy Sciences segment. It appears many of the culinary schools are getting away from some of the most crucial sustainable elements in being a good chef. We concluded we think maybe they are “reinventing” themselves to mirror the over glamorization of food and cooking to keep in-line with the media and TV. As some of the trustees, founders have passed - so shall the torch…
“…According to the National Restaurant Association 30% of new restaurants fail in the first year, and of those that survive, another 30% close in the next 2 years. Sure that is significant but according to the Small Business Administration’s Office Of Advocacy the two-year failure rate for all small businesses is 31%, and after five years the rate increases to 49%...”
Even if you can get an “outside funding” source, with literally “no-skin” in the game, you’ll be limited on investors.
Additionally. you can never pay these type of investors back quick enough –Many investors see you bring in money and customers, and generally don’t have a clue about the overhead and just the necessary expenditures in running an establishment - I don’t think you want Joey Meathead to use your expensive chef knives as digit removers.
I’m here to reiterate the fact that everyone is correct – the food and hospitality business is one of the most challenging and demanding businesses in the world. You not only have excellent cooking abilities, but strong business skills as well, plus the many intangible skills that you will only learn with more experience. You have to crawl before you can walk.
Kickstarter is an excellent resource, but targeted to less then 10K on a venture like yours. Unless you have a killer story to tell, or concept that is captivating, it’s still going to be a very, very tough sell.
Generally, Restaurateur’s are completely insane, have failed personal relationships, alcoholics/addicts or god willing got sober…LOL
I spent over 60K to attend culinary school in hopes of the bright lights in the big city. Let me tell you, I’ve worked in some real S*** holes that were charging some ungodly rate of $65.00 per plate for something you would be likely find in the gutter in Bangladesh somewhere and paying me $9.oo and hour to prepare these crap dishes.
My recommendation is go to culinary school and learn all you can, enter competitions, be a superstar, come-out hungry and work in getting an internship for a top chef. Take it from experience, It’s not going to be easy and they will work you very hard and push you till you break.
By the time your 25, with the proper goals and achievements, you will have great credentials, and obtained credibility possibly enough to have someone hand you the keys and let you have your culinary sandbox.
I don’t want to burst your bubble, and please never give up on your dream - and who knows - maybe you can prove us all wrong!
I genuinely wish you much success in your endeavor !