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Old 07-18-2012, 09:58 AM   #31
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

i want to add that the costs of opening a restaurant or any business are more than just financial. for most people starting out, it's the only thing in their life. first person to work, last person to leave. an hour or two every couple days at the food wholesale/distributor before work (in a big town; in a small one, you go less often, drive longer and but run the risk of running out of stuff and throwing a lot more away), couple hours a week at the bank, going home only to sit down with reciepts a ledger and a calculator rather than relaxing.

it's not uncommon to only see your kids when you wake them up to get them to school, cause they'll be asleep when you get home. forget mother's day, father's day and valentines day (busiest days in the year). seen people get divorced because they don't have enough time for their family.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:06 AM   #32
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

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It's for his own good. On your way to work this morning take the time to see all of the closed restaurants. Every time you see one in a nice location with expensive signage etc realize that it represents a $2M hole in some peoples lives. Restaurants RUIN people. They lose years, go bankrupt, and some undoubtedly commit suicide.

Those people are normally sane people who thought that they could open a restaurant. They spent their entire lives (to that point) accumulating a nest egg and then in their colossal arrogance thought they could go into a totally foreign industry and be successful. Frequently they take blow up their families and friends on the way down. The kinds of people who should open restaurants are called restaurateurs, and they know who they are. The food industry is a career and deserves some respect. People like the OP should stay far, far away.
I agree completely. I just wanted you to spell it out.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:12 AM   #33
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

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Little harsh, no?
Seriously.

Who here knows OP well enough to have any opinion on whether or not he can be successful in the restaurant business? Let alone predict that he is going to destroy his family and kill himself because his Indian restaurant failed...

Yes, restaurants fail all the time, but it's not like it is wrong to try. What might really really suck is sitting around not trying for 20 years and then realizing it is too late to try.

Oh, and "go work in an Indian restaurant for 5 years and work every job in the place before dreaming of opening one" is miserable advice. I'm not even sure someone who did that would be likely to be a successful entrepreneur.

You don't need to be a chef to know if food tastes good. You don't need to have been a waiter to know if your staff are keeping customers happy or pissing them off. You don't have to have been a janitor know if a toilet is clean. Managing people does not require that you be an expert at their job.

As for cuisine... I agree it is hard to have an opinion without knowing the location, but I would say that price, atmosphere, service, food quality, marketing and whether or not you can sell alcohol are going to make or break the place more than cuisine will.

Last edited by jb9; 07-18-2012 at 10:13 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:23 AM   #34
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

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Seriously.

Who here knows OP well enough to have any opinion on whether or not he can be successful in the restaurant business? Let alone predict that he is going to destroy his family and kill himself because his Indian restaurant failed...

Yes, restaurants fail all the time, but it's not like it is wrong to try. What might really really suck is sitting around not trying for 20 years and then realizing it is too late to try.

Oh, and "go work in an Indian restaurant for 5 years and work every job in the place before dreaming of opening one" is miserable advice. I'm not even sure someone who did that would be likely to be a successful entrepreneur.

You don't need to be a chef to know if food tastes good. You don't need to have been a waiter to know if your staff are keeping customers happy or pissing them off. You don't have to have been a janitor know if a toilet is clean. Managing people does not require that you be an expert at their job.

As for cuisine... I agree it is hard to have an opinion without knowing the location, but I would say that price, atmosphere, service, food quality, marketing and whether or not you can sell alcohol are going to make or break the place more than cuisine will.
The OP said he had no experience. It's an actuarial fact that people with no experience fail miserably in the Restaurant business some absurd % of the time. I'm sorry that I probably called you an idiot when I called the OP an idiot. It was intended. I literally was calling every person who ever opened a restaurant with no industry experience an idiot. I meant it. I stand by it.

I don't care if it's your dream to open a quaint restaurant in a nice neighborhood 'where the food tastes good'. It's a financial sink hole. It's a vanity investment that most people don't understand is a vanity investment. Successful entrepreneurs learn a business before opening a business of any sort. They just do. If you think otherwise you're clueless. No one sane tries to come into a situation where they have no experience and attempt to successfully run it. That's a recipe for a massive disaster. I'm sure it's worked for some people. So has the lotto.

Management experience is one of the few universal things that can give you a shot at surviving in an unfamiliar business. But business acumen is basically business acumen, so there are plenty of people who just naturally get business. Those people still fail in the restaurant business in truly laughable numbers.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:33 AM   #35
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

I think there's a pretty simple way to find out. Set up a table somewhere (I'm assuming you need a license or something but do it legally) and see if you can sell your food. If you can't sell it see if you can give it away, offer free lunches to workers, sell it out of your car whatever you need to do. If you can't do that a restaurant would be a massive loss but if you succeed in selling it without a restaurant now you have a solid shot.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:36 AM   #36
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

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I'm sorry that I probably called you an idiot when I called the OP an idiot. It was intended. I literally was calling every person who ever opened a restaurant with no industry experience an idiot. I meant it. I stand by it.
I've never opened a restaurant, although certainly I may be an idiot.

Some people think no one can succeed in the restaurant business. Some people think no one can succeed actively trading the markets. Some people think no one can succeed playing poker.

Many people have strong opinions about such things...

As mentioned, I don't know enough about OP's situation to say whether or not he has a good opportunity here or what the risks are to him.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:40 AM   #37
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

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I've never opened a restaurant, although certainly I may be an idiot.

Some people think no one can succeed in the restaurant business. Some people think no one can succeed actively trading the markets. Some people think no one can succeed playing poker.

Many people have strong opinions about such things...

As mentioned, I don't know enough about OP's situation to say whether or not he has a good opportunity here or what the risks are to him.
I think the message that you shouldn't commit significant amounts of money to extremely risky ventures that you have no experience in is quite good and appropriate. It's not a large jump to say to someone if you have never traded commodity futures you shouldn't drop $100k+ into a trading account to have a go at it... Seems like a pretty analogous situation to me.

No one is saying you can't pursue eventually becoming a restaurant owner, trader, whatever your heart desires but the advice to hold back on investing money that's important to you is pretty darn good advice.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:55 AM   #38
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

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the advice to hold back on investing money that's important to you is pretty darn good advice.
Sure, it is good advice.

Why do you think OP is investing money that is important to him?
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:16 AM   #39
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

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Originally Posted by jb9 View Post
You don't need to be a chef to know if food tastes good. You don't need to have been a waiter to know if your staff are keeping customers happy or pissing them off. You don't have to have been a janitor know if a toilet is clean. Managing people does not require that you be an expert at their job.

As for cuisine... I agree it is hard to have an opinion without knowing the location, but I would say that price, atmosphere, service, food quality, marketing and whether or not you can sell alcohol are going to make or break the place more than cuisine will.
Tons of people gets enamoured with the idea of starting a restuanrant. They think that because they can cook at home, they can cook at a restaurant. They think that as long as 'food, atmosphere, and location' are good, they will succeed. It looks like an straightforward business that doesn't require specialized knowledge.

But this is why so many restaurants fail. People have no idea how they should be designing their menus, how much margin they need to have on each item, how to prevent theft, how to manage an spillage, how much they can afford to pay to lease that space, what turnover they need to breakeven, where to source used equipment and for how much and which ones, etc.

It's a pretty complicated business with pretty low margins. You mess up one thing, and you can easily lose money and as a noob, you probably won't realize what thing you are actually screwing up and will probably focus on the color of the drapes to increase 'atmosphere'.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:05 PM   #40
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

One thing you could do if you want to get your feet wet with a minimal investment is go the food trailer route. A lot less overhead in getting started, you can easily move locations if yours sucks, etc...

It's illegal in some places, but could be a good idea if he was dead set on testing something out.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:37 PM   #41
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

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One thing you could do if you want to get your feet wet with a minimal investment is go the food trailer route. A lot less overhead in getting started, you can easily move locations if yours sucks, etc...

It's illegal in some places, but could be a good idea if he was dead set on testing something out.
I don't know much about food trailers. On the surface it seems like they're making a lot of money for the people who run them. This shouldn't be a shock since their overhead has to be much much lower, and they have access to the best times of the day and only those. Food trailers might be a reasonable business. I stand by my position with restaurants though. And I'm pretty sure the super successful food trailer people are usually chefs or at least experienced in the food industry.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:40 PM   #42
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

I think Peruvian fast food is the next big thing. Anyone here ever had?
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:40 PM   #43
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

fwiw if you have never worked in a restaraunt, the industry is a killer.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:41 PM   #44
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

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I've never opened a restaurant, although certainly I may be an idiot.

Some people think no one can succeed in the restaurant business. Some people think no one can succeed actively trading the markets. Some people think no one can succeed playing poker.

Many people have strong opinions about such things...

As mentioned, I don't know enough about OP's situation to say whether or not he has a good opportunity here or what the risks are to him.
The OP doesn't even know if he likes the restaurant industry. This is why he should go work in it if he's interested. Getting a job in a restaurant is the equivalent of paper trading, playing micro stakes, or any other activity that allows you to learn how to do something without risking capital.

Basically what cwar said is spot on. The problem with the restaurant business is the cash commitment required to start one. It's just a huge monstrous risk... For people who know what they're doing. It's incredibly high variance (although certainly very +EV) for people who know what they're doing. It's borderline suicidal for someone who doesn't.

I'm sorry if I'm coming across harsh... Please believe that I'd react the same way if someone told me they were going to jump off a building. Opening a restaurant is kind of like jumping off a building financially.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:42 PM   #45
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Re: Ethnic food in a small white town

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Sure, it is good advice.

Why do you think OP is investing money that is important to him?
omg stop trolling please... there is a 0.1% chance that the money required to open a restaurant wouldn't be meaningful to the OP.
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