If you think the industry has ever been dead, think again! Restaurants and bars operate regardless of whether or not the economy is in great shape. The growth rate would be lower, of course, when the economy is down. In 2009, the restaurant industry still grew by 2.5% despite the collapse. Everybody needs to eat and drink, and so the industry continues to prosper. The real challenge isn’t entering or leaving the industry – but thriving in it. 90% of restaurants fail within their first year! What is that 10% doing that the great majority of restaurant owners are not doing? What does it take to be one of the success stories in this industry?
The Bar Gene
We’re talking about the first time owner who wants this so badly, but has yet to dip their feet in the restaurant pool. They dream of being their own boss and owning their own place. It’s a deep-seeded need that becomes a reality in one way or another from hard work and sheer willpower. These are the people who have the “bar gene.” You have to realize that owning a restaurant is no different from operating a small business. If you come into it with the right mentality, experience, capital, and the capacity to handle constant stress on a daily basis, then you have the first bits of what you need to begin. For starters, a great restaurant/bar idea and concept you can reasonably implement is necessary. Prior restaurant experience is extremely valuable, as well as a knack for organization within a team. Being able to manage the back & front of the house is key. You can be a people pleaser, but that only gets you so far and at a price. At the end of the night, it’s your establishment, your financial responsibilities and your dream. The restaurant industry is tough and fast-paced. The hours are long, the pay is low and the employee turnover is through the roof when compared with any other industry. If you’re the type of person who likes to be in control, then you’ll love being your own boss and owning a restaurant or bar.
And If You Don’t Have it?
There are also the folks who get into the industry without this supposed love and fervor for owning a restaurant or bar. Even though they’re not the perfect “bar gene” addition to the foodservice industry, these types of people can still thrive and do well within the industry. They aren’t doomed to fail or anything like that! They may get into it for different reasons, but they definitely still have the capacity to succeed. Because they do not have the “Bar chromosome” or the inherent love for what they’re doing, the long hours can quickly burn them out.
The Joblessness Effect
For those of you who have never been unemployed – you are the lucky ones. It’s eye-opening at the very least to go from having a steady income to having none at all. You start to get creative with your ideas for how to get back into the workforce. You gather ideas of what you’re good at and what you’re bad at. It’s not uncommon for people to think that they could open up a restaurant or bar, simply because they love food or know a thing or two about drinking. Sitting at a bar often doesn’t qualify you to actually work behind it, though. For some, just that belief is enough to jump in the industry. You may not have started out thinking that they were going to own a bar or restaurant, but you learn to live with your circumstances as you have with your joblessness. You may not consider just how complicated it is to run a fully operational food-service establishment, but you pick it up as you go along. Even if it wasn’t your dream to begin with, it’s extremely rewarding for those who dedicate themselves to putting in the long hours.
We coined this phrase in our Bar & Restaurant Brokerage division with a certain type of Buyer. The horrific events of terrorism led many to reevaluate their lives and careers. We were inundated with people from every walk of life who realized that their careers (and their money) could be fleeting. These folks decided that the restaurant industry, with its relative stability in the marketplace, was a good place to start fresh after the horrific tragedy.
There are those of you who were born to own a restaurant you have the chromosome. There are those of you who fell into this industry because of prior financial circumstances. Both can succeed and flourish in our industry. Either way, if you’re looking to buy a restaurant or bar, there will always be a place for you to do so and people will always need a place to eat and drink in good times and bad times.
What was your experience like getting into the industry? Post a comment below and tell us about it!