Restaurant server taking phone order

Oh, the thought of walking through the floor, refolding a napkin that is out of place as you smile at a happy couple. Or, walking through the kitchen at 7:00 on a Friday night and feeling like your team is performing a perfectly orchestrated dance.

Each day, the thought of how to become a restaurant owner begins to slip from appearing in your dreams to transforming into a closer reality.

The question is, how do you become restaurant owner? Well, we all know that unlike our dreams, becoming a restaurant owner does not happen overnight.

Opening a restaurant is tempting, I mean who wouldn’t want to be around food all day? And, get to watch people smile, and ensure they are taken care of? The thing about it is, becoming a restaurant owner is challenging, and owning your own business creates its fair share of new issues each and every day.

It’s a serious business, and it’s not for the weak. Think you’re ready for it? Here’s a list of the top five things you should know if you’re wondering how to become a restaurant owner:

1. The concept is key.

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Although that debate is never ending (I’m team egg if you’re wondering) when it comes to becoming a restaurant owner, the concept always comes first. Just like when you go on job interviews before you can get into the nitty gritty of the job and your responsibilities, you’ve got to know exactly who you are and where your passions lie. Think deep here, just as you do about yourself. To become a restaurant owner is kind of like growing another limb, it’s something that will be with you forever. Think about what is missing in your area, and what you can do the best. Decide early on what your concept will be and how it is unique and different from anything else. And, even more importantly, do one thing well, not multiple things okay. Keep your focus!

2. Experience can make or break a new restaurant.

I’m sure if you landed on this article you’ve got some background in the industry. Lucky for you, if you have industry experience, that is one less thing you need to do before you become a restaurant owner! Being a restaurant is a lot more glamorous in the movies than it is in real life, and it’s important to know exactly what your day to day life will be like. You will soon be taking on a spectrum of new responsibilities, and it’s best to be as educated and prepared as possible.

Top view of group of friends raising a toast post lunch. High angle view of happy men and women celebrating at home with red wine. Close up shot of friends toasting glasses of red wine in a party.

3. Build branding that breaks the mold.

Everyone is talking about “cool brands” these days. But, branding is not just for marketers, it’s for people, places, and restaurants. Consumers today are good at discerning between advertising “fluff” and distractions when looking for dining options. When you’re thinking of becoming a restaurant owner, picture how you want your restaurant represented to the public, and what will catch their eye. In 2017, your brand at its core starts with forming restaurant marketing strategies. Be sure that you develop a user-friendly and searchable website, and do some research where your target audience “hangs out” online. Becoming a restaurant owner can sometimes feel like you’re running a covert mission at first, as you uncover the secrets of what your future diners crave.

4. Don’t forget that a restaurant is a BUSINESS.

This is the worst part for most of us. You’re most likely in this for the passion, for the finesse, to fill hungry tummies. Let’s face it, who is in it to sit in the back office behind a computer screen? Yea, no one… But, it is one of the most important parts of becoming a restaurant owner. If the math does not balance, the plates won’t either. From financing a restaurant to purchasing a restaurant POS, to creating a plan, there are a bunch of ways you can tackle it. The most important part of this plan is your staff and understanding restaurant labor laws is also integral to your plan.

5. And… serve really good food.

OK, this sounds like a no-brainer, but come on, we’ve all eaten bad food at a restaurant. You don’t want to be that restaurant, and with rising competition, you won’t succeed if you are that restaurant. If your restaurant concept is your “yin” this is your “yang.” This all begins with the restaurant staff you hire. If you’re reading this and you’re not a chef, well, you’ll need to hire some great ones. And, you can’t let a good meal die on the pass, so again, you’ll need a dream team in you FOH as well. See where I’m going here? All of these things are interlaced.

Sound Off: What would you add to this list?

Hannah can be found riding the slopes of New Hampshire by winter and riding the waves of Rhode Island by summer. In order to satisfy a constant sweet tooth, you can find her bouncing between Ellie's Bakery and Pastiche, both in Providence, RI.