How To Start A Restaurant Business -9 Tips.



How to start a restaurant business

Starting and managing a restaurant is easy business, however it’s rewarding for so many reasons.

I spoke with Camille Holder-Brown, co-founder of Kale Cafe in Daytona Beach, Florida and Gladys Harrison, owner of Big Mamma’s Kitchen in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Also joining us was Jeff Dickerson, head of Clover, a technology company that powers service businesses with point of sale systems and more.

We discussed the challenges and tasty success of the restaurant business.

Kale Cafe started out of a need to earn a living.

Camille’s husband got laid off from an engineering job, they felt it was a great time to start a food business. Their business started 9 years ago.

They  would take their children to farmers’ markets, and using a Blendtec blender start making healthy drinks.

This business grew through raising $20,000 in the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, and a $10,000 donation from a local teacher.

Big Mamma’s kitchen was started out of the home of Glady’s mother, Patricia, 

Patricia loved to cook and she loved to feed people. She was in corporate America all of her life. Cooking food was therapeutic for her and she enjoyed feeding people. 

She first started out decorating cakes. Eventually, she grew her business from her home to her church and finally, demand was so strong she grew it to a full restaurant location.

Here are a few key tips for their success in starting and growing their business.

Passion is an essential ingredient to restaurant success. Yes, the food has to taste good, your marketing has to be done well and you have to hire the right staff.

However, the business can be so grueling, especially at the beginning that you’ve really gotta love what you do to see you through the hard times.

Don’t try to do everything yourself. It’s tempting to put so much on yourself, however, let the professionals do what they do best. Accounting, insurance, legal work. Not only will you be ensuring that you’re doing things right, but you can also give yourself time to focus on the things that you do best.

Don’t wait until you need a bank, to have a relationship with a banker. Start now. Be it a loan, line of credit, or other financial needs. Your bank is a great source to help you. Have a great relationship with a banker,  before you need them is important.

You’re not going to “get it right” the first time. Even through the growth of your restaurant, there’s not going to be a “perfect day”. However, you will fail forward. This means you might have 1 or 2 big challenges that you’ll have to overcome and learn how to navigate. 

This is all on the journey of the overall success in your business.

Of course as your business grows and you mature as a leader, you’ll “fail less” and start to see brighter days of customer happiness and revenue flow.

Glady’s shared with us that her success is found in working smarter. With so many demands on an owner’s time and being stretched between customers, staff, vendors and restaurant operations, it’s important that EACH day is a journey of smart decisions. 

Camille and her husband have 6 children. Gladys has a grandson. Both of these ladies expressed how building a business that could serve their families was so important to them. Jeff shared the pains of losing his wife and that now that he is raising his children alone, family is even more important to him, than ever.

Hiring the right people, who love your customers and will serve them, is critical to the success of your entire business. Hire, not for talent, but hire for aptitude and heart. You can teach someone how to properly bring a plate to a table, but you can’t teach them to smile and be kind.

Both owners raved about how technology has enabled them to massively scale their businesses. For example, inventory management is a constant struggle of business owners. However, by using Clover, they’re able to quickly see what’s sold. But it goes beyond seeing what’s sold. They’re also able to understand the pricing dynamics and see what’s PROFITABLE in their business and adjust prices and menus accordingly.

This goes back to the “worker smarter”, we mentioned earlier. For example, maybe your business should not be open on Tuesdays at 4pm. Maybe instead it show open a bit later on Tuesdays to better serve your customers who need MORE service, later.

Guessing about the key performance indicators of your business is a way to business failure. Instead, you should leverage the power of DATA to make informed decisions.

Jeff said that Clover knows that running a business has a lot of complex challenges. However, it’s software and hardware let you run your business, a lot easier, even with those challenges and complexity.

You’re in business so your business can serve you. You should not be a slave to your business. Camille echoed this sentiment. She said that at one point she didn’t feel that her business was serving her family and her needs. However, she’s now able to relax just a bit and enable the business to be an asset to her family and enable her and her husband to live the life they want.

Want to leverage the power of technology in your restaurant business? Check out Clover.


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