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    6 Replies Latest reply on Feb 4, 2010 12:24 PM by TheSoloGuide

    College Students Opening Restaurant

    cfemery Newbie
      Hello, my fiance and I are college students with a daughter. I am in the process of receiving inheritance money from my aunt and we wanted to open our own restaurant. Both of our parents have management & restaurant experience & they have both also been unemployed due to the current economy. My father is an excellent chef and my fiance's mother is an amazing regional manager with an eye for business. My fiance is currently a manager of a national retail chain and wants to major in business. I'm in nursing school now, but I am very good at creating budgets and charts and plans, etc. We feel that all of these strengths we posess plus the money I am getting would help us get on the right track to starting the business up. Only problem is we don't really know where to start. What we really wanted to do was to open a mixed cultural restaurant with American & Spanish food, since my fiance is Cuban and Black & I'm Black, White & Native American . We would call is Cuban Soul food or something along those lines. Any help would be appreciated thank you!
        • Re: College Students Opening Restaurant
          cfemery Newbie
          {sn: we would not be catering to only a spanish or african american
          clientele we live in an affluent part of Raleigh, NC so we would get a
          mixture of everybody, but more than likely college students or middle
          class families, I don't know if that matters or not}
          • Re: College Students Opening Restaurant
            Bianca007 Newbie
            I'm not an expert by any means, so I am sure other people here will be able to give you better advice. But as someone starting my own business too, I can tell you that the first step is setting up an extensive business plan. This involves mapping out objectives, strategic details and goals of the business... figuring out your expenses and projected income/profits. You will need to take a very close look at your competitors to see what kind of profit they are turning and what their business model looks like. You should also look into locations; try to find a location with the highest traffic for the budget you have but make sure rent is feasible for you. Other things to consider is marketing; what kind of advertising will you be doing to get people into the door (online, radio, tv, flyers, etc..) and how much of your budget can you allocate to that. Some other questions to ask; how many employees do you need to operate the restaurant, what are the costs of salaries? What kind of menu will you be serving and what is the cost to produce each item on the menu? How much do you have to sell it for to turn a profit? Have you researched and calculated cost of appliances, tables, chairs, kitchen material, restaurant decoration, etc...

            If you're really at square one with this, I would recommend lots of reading and research. There are great sites for business owners and entrepeneurs online with tons of great resources and articles. I would recommend researching as much as possible. Restaurants are some of the hardest businesses to setup and actually have one of the highest rates of failure (if not the highest) so make sure you go into this with both eyes open. It sounds like you have a solid team behind you so with the right information, I think you can go really far! Good luck :)
            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: College Students Opening Restaurant
              DBSInc Newbie
              Good day,

              my name is Jaye I can assistance with a business plan. I am a business consultant, I do
              business plans, marketing plans and other forms of marketing/ consulting. Feel free to visitwww.adistinctsolution.com for more information. I can be reached at 407-435-9610. Look forward to hearing from you.\\
              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: College Students Opening Restaurant
                Tracker

                Steven:

                 


                I recently sold as restaurant that I owned and operated for a number of years. It is a tough business, but if you are willing to put in the hours, work weekends and holidays (unless you plan on closing), you can make money at it - if you have a well researched and detailed plan as Bianca007 recommends. Without a plan, you are at great risk for leaving your success up to "luck" which is a very weak position to be in.

                 


                If you need help creating a business plan, I have a page on my site to guide you. Here's the link:

                 


                http://thesologuide.com/planning/

                 


                If after reviewing it, you still need help, let me know. My contact info is on my home page.

                 


                You will serious want to consider when you open your business considering all of the upcoming changes in your life - birth of your child, wedding, and where you are at in your schooling. It will take a full time effort to get a restaurant open.

                 


                You will want to take advantage of other closed restaurants that need to off load equipment. Since the industry is still struggling in many areas, there should be some quality, used equipment that you can buy at a greatly reduced price.

                 


                One of our best marketing campaigns was taking samples of our food around to different businesses along with tri-fold menus and any other flyers that we may have had discussing upcoming changes, etc... You have a much more effective way of grabbing a person's attention by bringing them food. Plus, you get to build a rapport and get feedback all at the same time. It is far more effective than a print ad that you hope people see and respond to.

                 


                I hit up local hotels, B&Bs, banks, art galleries, city hall and the chamber of commerce. In return, these people became spokespeople for my business, sending my customers because they knew me and knew how delicious our food was. Another important aspect to this campaign is hitting them back up from time to time. You don't want them to forget you or feel forgotten.

                 


                Good luck - and again, let me know if you need help.

                 


                Doug Dolan

                 

                The Solopreneur's Guide

                 

                http://thesologuide.com/
                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: College Students Opening Restaurant
                  DomainDiva Ranger
                  Not to rain on your parade with the food idea here. There was a restaurant near my home that served italian-mexican-indian-pakistani food. They folded in a few months time. The restaurant was perceived by many, including myself to have no food identity. How can a restaurant serve quality food when constantly trying to reinvent itself with each new meal ordered? You can't have a business that tries to be all things to all people, especially in the food business. It's tough.

                  With both of you in school, I think you may want to rethink your schedule, life goals and maybe put this money to work until you graduate. By all means start planning now for your business, but don't jump in too early. The restaurant business is like the stock market...it is not going anywhere...people are always going to be hungry.

                  Take your time and develop the menu and recipies, try them out on friends and other family members and ask them to bring people that do not know you.

                  With all of the cultural food input you have here there seems to be a unique opportunity to develop somethig really special if you do it slowly. How about
                  All Souls Soul Food ? Use a name that does not limit your food offerings or give the impression that you do not know what you are doing.

                  Good Luck. Sounds good.
                    • Re: College Students Opening Restaurant
                      Tracker

                      DomainDiva:

                       


                      Italian-Mexican-Indian-Pakistani food? That sounds disgusting. I'm not surprised they folded.

                       


                      You are correct about watching out for creating an identity. I don't think Steven is stretching it too far though with either a Caribbean styled theme or American cuisine with a Spanish influence. However, he will need to watch how many items he adds to his menu. Line cooks and chefs will die on the line trying to serve 30 different items versus thriving on say 10 - 15 menu options. Separate from The Cheesecake Factory, most restaurants that serve a broad menu don't survive. Too much diversity in buying inventory that goes bad before you can serve it, plus the identity and kitchen output issues.

                       


                      As I mentioned in my previous post and as you mentioned in yours, Steven should serious consider the timing of his launch. Starting a business takes dedication and focus - so does getting married, so does starting a family, so does finishing college. And then there's just life happening. Trust me.

                       


                      I moved my family to a new city and bought a restaurant. I thought that would be all I had to focus on (which was enough) - until my wife was diagnosed with a brain condition requiring surgery out of area, followed by complications requiring 5 additional procedures. Within six months of her release from the hospital, two immediate family members and a good friend passed away within six months of each other. Between running the restaurant, keeping my children stable in school and traveling out of the area for my wife's surgeries and the funerals, created significant stress. And that's only part of the story.

                       


                      Fortunately, I had a number of years of business experience at the VP level in a high-pressure, crazy company in a cut-throat industry. I believe someone with less experience would have crumbled much sooner.

                       


                      This may be an exaggerated or unusual situation, Steven. But then again, with life, you never know. Don't set up a business if you have little room for surprises to happen.

                       


                      All the Best,

                       


                      Doug Dolan

                       

                      The Solopreneur's Guide

                       

                      http://thesologuide.com/