On last week’s episode of the Business is ART podcast on the TrueChat Network, my guest was Jeff Tsao of Fukuryu Ramen. Jeff has two restaurants – one in Melbourne, Australia and one in Columbus, Ohio. 2 businesses half-a-world apart.
One of my favorite things to say is “If you are going in to business for yourself, DON’T go in to the restaurant business!”
Let Me Explain
I should qualify that statement. What I mean to say is that I will never go in to the restaurant business – for a variety of reasons:
- The hours are long and hard
- When everyone else is enjoying time with their families, you are spending time away from yours
- The employee pool tends to be more transient
- The public is fickle
- You have to be very detail oriented in terms of quality, food preparation, food storage and inventory control
If you have not worked in this industry before, unless you really don’t care about making money, you should not open a restaurant – at least not a single store private labeled restaurant. A franchise restaurant may be an entirely different story.
Otherwise, just because you enjoy working in the kitchen, consider yourself a foodie, and your family and friends love your cooking does not mean you can be successful running a restaurant. It is just not the same.
You Gotta Love It
If you are someone like Jeff, who literally grew up in the food industry and has culinary training, it’s a perfect fit. But even that is not enough. You have to really love it, and that is one of the main points Jeff made on the show:
Love what you do.
If you don’t love it, it makes no sense to open a business in it, whatever “it” is. For example, I hate painting. Walls, ceiling, exterior, trim – you name it – I hate painting it. Would it make sense for me to open a painting business?
Do Your Homework and Be Honest with Yourself
So if you are thinking of starting or buying a business, there is a lot of homework you have to do first. You have to be completely honest with yourself in your due diligence and in answering questions such as the following:
- Can I tolerate the less sexy tasks that come with running a business like this?
- How much of my time will be required and can I make that much time available?
- Will my family be involved or kept at arms distance from the business?
- Will I take on a partner(s) or fly solo?
- Do I have the financial runway to get to the grand opening and beyond?
But whatever you do, as Jeff and his family have learned over the years, be flexible. Change when necessary and lead change when you can. That doesn’t necessarily mean you change your vision, although it might. But you definitely need to change your strategy, plans and tactics because the world around you constantly changes.
Listen to the podcast in its entirety by clicking here. It’s absolutely free and you just might learn a thing or two.