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Jun 30, 2021
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Hey guys! I will be doing weekly posts now to get myself more active with this valuable forum. I wanted to ask a question to all of the restauranteurs in this forum about their journey to an unscripted lifestyle. What were you're biggest obstacles and what is something that you would tell an aspiring restauranteurs like myself?
Also, what failures allowed you to grow?
 
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Last edited:

B.Cotter

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Apr 23, 2020
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Northern VA
Don’t open a restaurant if you’re looking for a fast lane lifestyle. Been in the industry 20 years from fine dining to fast casual, all privately owned. Every owner and chef I’ve ever met has permanently had their time tied to money. There are the outliers that have made it work where they establish a company and are able to remove themselves in some capacity but it’s very rare. The only owners I know that were fully removed from the business are the ones that amassed wealth in a different industry and opened a restaurant for fun, and whether it succeeded or failed wouldn’t have an effect on them financially. Basically they just wanted a restaurant to say “I own xyz...”

Rick Adams of UUNET owned the first restaurant I worked in... he has an X Wing from the set of Star Wars in his backyard. I remember us preparing fine dining meals to be delivered to his private jet for when he and his family traveled.
 
Jun 30, 2021
5
0
19
United States
Don’t open a restaurant if you’re looking for a fast lane lifestyle. Been in the industry 20 years from fine dining to fast casual, all privately owned. Every owner and chef I’ve ever met has permanently had their time tied to money. There are the outliers that have made it work where they establish a company and are able to remove themselves in some capacity but it’s very rare. The only owners I know that were fully removed from the business are the ones that amassed wealth in a different industry and opened a restaurant for fun, and whether it succeeded or failed wouldn’t have an effect on them financially. Basically they just wanted a restaurant to say “I own xyz...”

Rick Adams of UUNET owned the first restaurant I worked in... he has an X Wing from the set of Star Wars in his backyard. I remember us preparing fine dining meals to be delivered to his private jet for when he and his family traveled.
Thanks for the feedback brother! It sucks to hear that it's not really a fastlane option. Perhaps I should look into something similar yet not the same? Any suggestions?
 

OMJ

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Feb 2, 2020
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Thanks for the feedback brother! It sucks to hear that it's not really a fastlane option. Perhaps I should look into something similar yet not the same? Any suggestions?
You need a concept that can be franchised if you want to go fastlane.

There's different business models from McDonald's to Chick Fil A with everything in-between.

Study them & choose a path.
 
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B.Cotter

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
Apr 23, 2020
73
98
Northern VA
Thanks for the feedback brother! It sucks to hear that it's not really a fastlane option. Perhaps I should look into something similar yet not the same? Any suggestions?
I know my post sounded very negative and that restaurants can't be fastlane, but they can be. Franchise opportunities like OMJ mentioned, or if you're able to build a small food group (like the last one I was in), say of 5-15 restaurant locations and sell the company. A lot of factors would determine how much you could get for the company, but it's doable. You can make a lot of money in restaurants and potentially get your escape into the fastlane, but I believe there are easier industries in which you can make it happen. If you enjoy restaurants though, go for it.

The average restaurant profit margin is only 3-5%. Paper thin. Luckily we were operating at 20%+ but that was due to a very carefully crafted menu, sourcing, and hardcore systems & controls. I have not been back in the industry since the start of the pandemic but speaking to a lot of the people I know in the industry, things still look very bleak. And the employee "shortage" is impacting a lot of companies hard.

I now look at restaurants as the "gold rush". Everyone with money has wanted to be in the industry and have some flagship restaurant for the past 15 years. There are thousands of establishments that are started and owned by doctors, lawyers or other high paid positions just because they want to do the trendy thing. Provide some kind of service or product to restaurants. Selling shovels to miners in the gold rush. A few of the small locally owned food purveyors have absolutely exploded in the past 5-10 years just because of the sheer number of restaurants opening, at least in my area. A lot of non-chain restaurants don't want to deal with the large broadliner companies like Sysco, US Foods, PFG, etc. Just a bit of a brain dump.
 
Jun 30, 2021
5
0
19
United States
I know my post sounded very negative and that restaurants can't be fastlane, but they can be. Franchise opportunities like OMJ mentioned, or if you're able to build a small food group (like the last one I was in), say of 5-15 restaurant locations and sell the company. A lot of factors would determine how much you could get for the company, but it's doable. You can make a lot of money in restaurants and potentially get your escape into the fastlane, but I believe there are easier industries in which you can make it happen. If you enjoy restaurants though, go for it.

The average restaurant profit margin is only 3-5%. Paper thin. Luckily we were operating at 20%+ but that was due to a very carefully crafted menu, sourcing, and hardcore systems & controls. I have not been back in the industry since the start of the pandemic but speaking to a lot of the people I know in the industry, things still look very bleak. And the employee "shortage" is impacting a lot of companies hard.

I now look at restaurants as the "gold rush". Everyone with money has wanted to be in the industry and have some flagship restaurant for the past 15 years. There are thousands of establishments that are started and owned by doctors, lawyers or other high paid positions just because they want to do the trendy thing. Provide some kind of service or product to restaurants. Selling shovels to miners in the gold rush. A few of the small locally owned food purveyors have absolutely exploded in the past 5-10 years just because of the sheer number of restaurants opening, at least in my area. A lot of non-chain restaurants don't want to deal with the large broadliner companies like Sysco, US Foods, PFG, etc. Just a bit of a brain dump.
Interesting, so a need for these people is what I need to fulfill in order to enter the Fastlane. Maybe also want as well. Great! I'll look into it and research to see what I can provide for them! Thank you for the insight on the industry as of right now!
 

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