Many new restaurants see a major downswing in business after the opening’s initial excitement. When I started Uchi I brought clientele with me, but even so there was a gap after the first few months. Paul Qui, a chef currently competing on Top Chef: Texas, is a great example.We had to wait to see if the restaurant would really catch on. Paul came in eight years ago and asked to work for free.Otherwise it would have been impossible to open two locations, much less 200.6. Many businesses are started by a craftsperson with an idea for a product.
Fast casual restaurants are booming because they’re incredibly accessible on all levels.2. Plan on having six to nine months of working capital from the start.
You’ll be surprised by how quickly the expenditures add up and how much time it takes for a new place to grab hold and get legs/regular customers. I often bring in people from different places, including interns from culinary schools.
A lot of restaurant owners start out with cash in reserve and start blowing it because they think the honeymoon phase will last forever. He’s worked through every station and now is the Executive Chef at Uchiko.
I definitely made mistakes early on, especially when I tried to go cheap on certain things like equipment, valets, and even desserts.
I have great ideas, but without someone like Daryl, Uchi would have never succeeded.
Now as a restaurateur my focus is almost solely on people and communication.It’s hard to become a destination if you don’t start with a great location. The more accessible you can make your restaurant, both in terms of location and in a broader sense, the greater your chances of success.Look at the most successful restaurants: They’re the most accessible in terms of location, brand, and price point.CALM BEFORE THE STORM: Uchiko is one of two wildly popular sushi restaurants (the other is called Uchi) in Austin, Texas started by Chef Tyson Cole.Rumor is, the wait is always an hour to get into either one.At Uchi we don’t spend money on advertising or marketing but we run a very high level of comps.We give away gift cards and send a lot of complimentary dishes to tables.5. Failing to put systems in place is one of the biggest mistakes an independent restaurant owner makes.It was hard for me to say, okay, while I’ll always be a chef, I’m not going to be in my kitchen all the time. Once I embraced that I was able to do so much more. Accommodate your investors, and keep explanations of your product simple and direct, using terms that everyone can understand.He quit one job after he was told he couldn’t make sushi because he was white; he was rehired two days later but told he had to work in the back where guests couldn’t see him. Your chef, or “talent,” must fit your concept, otherwise you’ll constantly deal with the most common word in the restaurant business: Drama.He was also fired for giving a guest a free dessert; he was rehired when the manager found out the guest was Denzel Washington.1. No restaurant succeeds without a great chef, a great location, and a great concept. Some entrepreneurs say, “Well, location doesn’t matter because I’m going to create a destination restaurant.” In my experience, people say that when they have a bad location.