What's the Best Course of Study for Would-Be Restauranteurs?
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.The best education you can get for working in restaurants is actually going to work at a restaurant.
Restaurants and bars can be entrepreneurial traps. Many people believe that they're industry experts simply because they've eaten in a restaurant or had a beer or glass of wine in a bar.
The reality is the business is very tough and competitive, and a lot of inexperienced people get into it not realizing exactly how things need to be run.
The opportunity for someone like you who knows that going in is that you can work with an eye of learning all you can about the operations side, as well as learning the unique culture that defines the food-service industry.
Once you get some experience and are ready to go into business, never buy retail when it comes to space, equipment or any fixed asset, and you might even be able to get into your first couple of restaurants by looking at a struggling outlet that has a good customer base but falls short on service, quality of food or costs. You might find an overwhelmed owner who just wants out and is willing to strike a great deal with you.
Another option for a first-time restaurateur would be to look into buying a franchise. In a franchise, the systems are spelled out, and the food franchise categories always offer a range of options and cuisines.
In all cases, know your numbers, learn as much as you can from the ground up, and be aware of changing tastes and demographics.
While this type of business may be one of the more challenging, it can also be one of the most personally rewarding for many business owners.
Related: Entrepreneur.com's Restaurant Center