CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America Advises Those Who Want to Own a Restaurant to Learn the Business
Restaurant Consultants of America CEO Howard Cannon advises the would-be restaurant owner to learn the business thoroughly, stating, "What you don’t know can hurt you… Learning is a required part of this job. Spend the necessary time gaining the required technical skills and absorbing as much information as you can about the industry."
Cannon adds, "Learning is a required part of this job. Spend the necessary time gaining the required technical skills and absorbing as much information as you can about the industry. Then you can be comfortable knowing that you have approached your decision to enter this arena armed with a knowledge base and current information.”
The prospective restaurant owner should conduct personal research on the restaurant industry, read trade magazines and books, attend industry seminars, get information from food and beverage distributors and suppliers, take industry-specific and general business classes, work in a restaurant that is similar in concept to his or her desired concept, learn about the competition's customers, conduct a feasibility study before buying or building a restaurant, seek guidance from reputable lawyers, accountants, and restaurant industry experts, and join local associations to network with other business owners and restaurant operators.
A well-conceived and thought-out business plan is essential to making a business work and is a key ingredient to determining the restaurant’s success or failure. Cannon says, "People don’t go into business planning to fail. However, plenty of people go into business failing to plan." A business plan takes time, effort, analytical ability, and commitment. Writing a business plan will help with the process of thinking through ideas and refining areas of concern, as well as areas of strength, quickly and easily without the large cost of making a mistake later on. The plan is meant to be a working document, which means that it is subject to change as circumstances change. But it should still be solid enough to be used as a guide to business success and a refocusing tool when needed.
Howard Cannon is a highly recognized restaurant expert witness, consultant, analyst, and speaker. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Restaurant© - found in 76 countries around the globe. Mr. Cannon is the CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America and Restaurant Expert Witness, and can be reached at 800-300-5764 or via the web at RestaurantConsultantsOfAmerica.com or RestaurantExpertWitness.com.