You like the business aspect of owning a restaurant. Many people who enjoy cooking think they should open their own restaurant. Unfortunately what they don’t realize is that a restaurant is more than just slinging hash and serving customers. It involves bookkeeping, accounting, marketing, sales, human resources- often times all done by the same person- the restaurant owner. If you gravitate toward a business career- you like crunching numbers, you like keeping books, interacting with sales people as well as customers- then a job as a restaurant owner may be your calling. As your business grows, you may be able to outsource some of these duties, but you should always know what’s going on with every part of your restaurant.
You are a generally patient person. Unlike the stories you might see on Food Network, most restaurant owners don’t become millionaire celebrities. If you open a new restaurant with the thought that it will make you rich, think again. Success comes with perseverance, which starts with patience. One of the reasons so many restaurants close within the first couple of years of opening is that people get tired of working long hours and not seeing immediate results. Ask any successful restaurateur what their early years of business were like, and most likely it will sound something like 80 hour work weeks, no holidays, no vacation. Building a new business into something solid and long lasting takes time.
You are self-motivated. No one is going to care about your restaurant as much as you do. That’s why it’s important that you put your heart and soul into it, in order to stay motivated when problems arise or business is slow. Not all people are cut out to be their own boss. It’s often a lot harder to motivate yourself, than if you had someone else telling you what to do. Of course, many people thrive on being in charge, which is what makes opening their own restaurant an ideal career move.
You don’t mind long hours. A restaurant owner is a jack-of-all-trades, and when problems arise you have to deal with them. Even if it’s on a day off or during a vacation (if you are lucky enough to get a vacation). Therefore, it’s important that your family be okay with your long hours as well. This can be hard with a spouse and children. Are you comfortable missing your kid’s sports games or dance recitals because the ice machine is broken and the sous chef called in sick? Before you open a new restaurant, consider the impact it will have on your family. Of course, as the boss, you can always bring your kids to work, and many family-operated restaurants stay open for decades.
You are a people person. A restaurant falls into the hospitality category. If you don’t like to interact with the public, this may not be the ideal field for you. As the owner, you represent your business 24/7, even when you aren’t in the restaurant. Therefore it’s important that you be pleasant and cordial to people. You will also have to deal with upset customers from time to time, and knowing how to handle their complaints effectively is also important for your restaurant’s reputation.