Why do so many people want start their 'own restaurant'?

I notice that people have a tendency to sort of dream about owning their own restaurant. I’ve constantly heard people promise that their dream was to open their own restaurant, and such.

Any reason why this seems so popular? I would think that waiting tables, dirty dishes, health inspections, would be the last thing I would want.


It’s for the same reason that people would prefer to buy than to rent: if you work at a restaurant, isn’t it better to profit from it than to let others profit from your labor?

Unfortunately, most people with this sort of dream have no idea what it takes to run a restaurant. That business is utterly brutal. I’ve been an employee at the restaurant I work at for 13 years now, and I could run the place with relative ease. Even so I would still be somewhat reluctant to strike out on my own. There are too many things that can go wrong, and it only takes one of them to put you under.

In addition, you put in absurdly long hours and you never completely trust your employees. When the boss goes on vacation and leaves me in charge, the only person that calls the restaurant more than me is him.

Despite the food topic, this seems like an IMHO opinion question. The IMHO Mods can send it to Cafe Society if it gets really foodie.
[ /Moddin’ ]

I think to do a good job of owning a restaurant, it really helps to already be in the real estate business. This is what I’ve picked up, anyway, from the people I know in the business.

Because people tend to dream of owning businesses, period. Who wants to own a staple factory or a UHaul rental? Those are boring. With a restaurant, you get the entrepreneurial spirit plus your favorite food. Add that to the fact that restaurants are an in-your-face business (I mean, they’re everywhere), people consider them more in the first place.

Everybody seems to think they can run a restaurant.
Bob raved about my steaks last week at our BBQ, I should open a restaurant.
Running a restaurant looks easy. Actually running one isn’t.

Running any business is tough, restaurants are harder than many.

Some of us want to cook for money.

We few others are content with fame. :cool:

But if well managed and successful, they’re great money makers and you can sit back and let your manager do most of the work. It’s a fairly known quantity.

You could always open that drive-through macrame business you’ve dreamed about, but it isn’t a tried & true formula.

Moms & pops have been running restaurants for how many centuries now?

The failure rate of new restaurants is very high, plus, they demand a huge amount of work. But it is true, that if you plan well and have the right location, you can make a ton of money.
I wouldn’t try it, though!

I’ve heard they have the highest failure rate of any new biz. And the ones that make money generally do so from alcohol sales.

I think much of it because people think owing a restaurant is only about food, when there is far more to it. Everybody thinks just because they can cook for themselves and their friends, they can turn it into a viable business.

It’s the same thing as wanting to own a bar. “Hey, we go drinking every weekend! What would be better than owning the bar we drink at?”

It sounds like something people like to do. Most people don’t like working in a corporate office. Why would they want to run their own corporate office? And selling some sort of product requires a) inventing a product and b) a whole ton of capital to start manufacturing said invented product.

My GF and I have a friend who opened his own wine and cheese bar in Manhattan. It’s doing really well, but it also helps that he comes from family money. It’s a ton of work, but he seems to like it because he’s working form himself.

Having worked for a year back in the 1970s as a restaurant manager, I would definitely say: Because they haven’t actually ran one.

Doing so kinda takes the romance out of the idea. It is truly a lot of Very Hard Work.

my best friend’s sister and brother-in-law got divorced over opening a small italian restaurant together. tough business! I wouldn’t do it!

The people who manage to stay in business more than a few years don’t just make it look easy, they make it look like fun.

Everyone would love to be the jovial fellow, coming from behind the counter, asking about your meal, looking like he’s having the time of his life. Said fellow is probably desperate for you to enjoy your meal as every table keeps him in his home, but we the customer don’t notice things like that.

Being an entrepreneur is remarkably time-consuming and difficult, even when you have a good product and a ready market. The very idea of opening a restaurant makes me want to stab myself with a fork.

The hours suck; you’d practically never have an evening or weekend to yourself for the rest of your life, for one thing. Another is that you need a couple hundred-grand to get up and running, with all the obligations and encumbrances that entails unless you already have it lying around somewhere. I started my business with a couple thousand dollars and was operating in the black within a few months. Had it gone belly-up, I’d have been bummed but it hardly would have been a blip on my family’s financial radar. Have a restaurant go belly-up and you’re looking at financial ruin or divorce.

Yeah, all in all, there are few business ideas that appeal to me less than running a restaurant. I think maybe it’s one of those things that people dream about in a distant, offhand sort of way. “I like to cook, maybe someday I’ll open my own restaurant!” It’s hard to get rich working for someone else, so everyone has an entrepreneurial pipe-dream, but few people have actual, solid ideas about what sort of business to operate. The mom-and-pop restaurant is not uncommon and everyone likes food, so… it’s something to dream about. I doubt the vast majority of people who say that would ever actually contemplate opening one.

I have heard this too. Successful chain restaurants in particular are apparently a commercial property business in disguise.

Darn tootin’. I’ve never worked in a restaurant, but I’ve read enough about the business to know that it’s very risky unless you go for a very formulaic setup indeed, which needs a good bit of money and good formula. A successful one-off still ain’t cheap, needs a lot of luck, and is then hard to grow.
Wouldn’t catch me trying it.

Esquire, I think, did an article about actually working on jobs that people thought would be their dream jobs: owning a restaurant, owning a bookstore, running a movie theater, being a writer, etc. None were what people thought they’d be.

Restaurants are attractive because people love to cook and think that all you need to succeed is a good menu. But the competition is brutal and the profit margin thin.

I want to open my own breakfast cafe. And to be honest, the only reason is because I had worked in a bagel place many years ago and I loved it. I loved the long hours, I loved making breakfast food, and I loved the line I would have on Sundays with people telling the others behind the counter that they “would wait for kittenlm to make their omelette, thankyouverymuch”.

I know it’s hard work. I know it’s extremely difficult. And I know about the long hours standing on your feet. But I want to do it anyway. However, I don’t think it’ll be in our budget for another million years so it really doesn’t matter.

I agree that most people who want to do it just have no idea what it really takes. They think they’re going to put their special meatball recipe on the menu and the customers will flock around and they’ll just go around hobnobbing at the tables and giving free drinks to their friends.

In reality, opening a new restaurant takes at least a year of grinding, 14 hour days, empty dining rooms, learning the ropes with vendors and inspectors, learning to manage employees, etc. Most restaurants fail within a year. It takes more than a good recipe. The people who can get a restaurant off the ground and keep it running are amost never beginners.