Restaurateur

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Startup Costs: $50,000 - $100,000
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? Yes
Online Operation? No

THE BRIEF:

Shifting demographics and changing lifestyles are driving the surge in food-service businesses. Busy consumers don't have the time or inclination to cook. They want the flavor of fresh bread without the hassle of baking. They want tasty, nutritious meals without dishes to wash. In fact, the rise in popularity of to-go operations underscores some clear trends in the food-service industry. More and more singles, working parents and elderly people are demanding greater convenience when it comes to buying their meals.

ASK THE PROS:

How much money can you make?

"Though the future looks bright for the food-service industry overall, there are no guarantees in this business. Even the most successful operators will tell you this isn't a 'get rich quick' industry. It's more like a 'work hard and make a living' industry. A hard reality is that many restaurants fail during their first year, frequently due to a lack of planning. But that doesn't mean your food-service business has to be an extremely complex operation. In fact, the more streamlined you can make it, the better your chances for success."—Start Your Own Restaurant and More: Pizzeria, Coffeehouse, Deli, Bakery, Catering Business

What kind of experience do you need to have?

"Successful restaurateurs agree that the best preparation for owning a restaurant is to work in someone else's first. Think of it as getting paid to be educated. Certainly you should read books and take courses, but you should also plan to work in a restaurant for at least a few years doing as many different jobs as possible. And if you're not actually doing the job, pay attention to the person who is -- you may find yourself doing it when your own restaurant is unexpectedly shorthanded. Ideally, you should work in a restaurant similar to the type you want to open. You may find you don't like the business. Or you may find you're more suited to a different type of operation than you originally thought. Hopefully, you'll discover you're in exactly the right place."—Start Your Own Restaurant and More: Pizzeria, Coffeehouse, Deli, Bakery, Catering Business

What’s the most important thing to know about this business?

"Be sure to count your startup costs well. You don't want to get into a bind where you've spent half of what you thought you needed and you've run out of money. You'll probably have to rent a location and spend a few months fixing it up, and you may need employees some employees to help out during the fix-up period, too. Unless you're moving into an existing restaurant, you'll need to buy kitchen equipment, tables and chairs, cash registers, phone systems and décor to establish ambience. And then you need to budget for what's called 'working capital' for the startup period when your spending exceeds your sales. Some say you need at least six months of expenses ready to go; others recommend having 12 months covered."—Tim Berry

Related

Planning for a Restaurant

How to Start a Restaurant

The Staff You Need to Hire to Run a Restaurant

4 Keys to Opening a Successful Restaurant

Categories

Latest on Entrepreneur