Top 10 tips for anyone thinking about opening a cafe or restaurant without industry experience…

The hospitality industry is not for the faint hearted. I have been approached many times by people who are not in the industry seeking advice on whether they should open a cafe or restaurant.

In my experience people who are not from the industry consider opening a cafe or restaurant as a means of escape. They are typically bored with their current job/career or burnt out and want to do something different. They are seeking an escape and are excited about doing something that on the surface looks like fun and seems easy.

I can understand this. In my experience a considerable amount of people today consider themselves ‘foodies’ or experts even though they have never trained or worked in our industry. A lot of people I meet love to tell me how I should run my restaurants or what they would do differently. They may genuinely love food, who doesn’t, but like any business it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Here are my top 10 tips to those considering this career move.

  1. Do it because you love it. Don’t open a restaurant or cafe as a means of escape. I have met so many people who used to own a restaurant or cafe. They went into the industry because they thought it would be easy. Its not. If you don’t truly love it, you won’t enjoy it or stick with it.

  2. Get industry experience. Don’t go into this with your eyes closed. It is hard work. In my experience, a lot of restaurants fail because the Owners don’t understand what they’re doing. Turning up every day and serving customers is the easy bit. Its the business management and day to day problem solving that is tough.

  3. Do the numbers. Opening a restaurant or cafe without the right amount of working capital up front and cash in the bank will set you up for a world of pain. Understand the initial set up costs, the ongoing running costs and the hidden costs.