Why people open restaurants with no prior experience?
Is hospitality at risk?
People love my food when I cook at home, I make the best drinks for my mates every Saturday night, I love coffee and cake. Believe it or not, these are some reasons why people decide to invest their money on Restaurants and Bars.
I have been working in hospitality for over 15 years now, after all this time there is not much I have not seen. Working in Bars & Restaurants is not an easy thing. You need to be a quick thinker, a master in small talk, the ability to stay on your feet for hours, deal with the pressure of a busy service, and everything you do make sure you do it with a smile.
Hospitality can be a very rewarding industry, nothing can beat the feeling of seeing a full restaurant working properly. Happy clients enjoying a meal with some drinks and the staff working together like a family. But hospitality can also be a very cruel path to take, the constant pressure of delivering excellence everytime, dealing wih complaints, the pay, long hours, night shifts, working weekends and bank holidays, and the list goes on.
But if there is something that is truly shaping the future of hospitality is new owners opening venues without any experience in Bars & Restaurants.
Why people think that to open a Restaurant is a easy thing to do? Why would someone with no prior experience in hospitality, decides to take this step? Since 2017 I have been working with three different owners that decided to open Restaurants in London. It has not been an easy ride, let me tell you that!
There is a pattern that always seems to be repeated when someone with no experience opens a venue.
Prior to the opening, new owners give all their attention to the design or the place. The color of the walls, how chic those bar stools will look or how many plants they can fit to make it look "natural/healthy". But what they never think is, is the back bar functional? Is the ice well big enough? Where will be the service station at the bar? They realise all this things after a week the place is up and running and bartenders start to complaint.
During the first 5-6 month, owners keep adding money and giving away meals for free to the so called "Infuencers". Most of the influencers I have come across are demanding and with very little interest in Restaurants.
After the very first year of the venue beeing open, the problem starts. "We need to make money guys", that's a classic. They run out of cash because they invested their money in a place that is badly design for a good work flow, they gave hundreds of meals for free and called it marketing and they employed more people they could afford.
Because these people never worked in the industry, they don't know how to manage it properly. They employ managers and head chefs with very little voice in running the place. And many greats employees leave the company unsatisfied and sad. This causes a high turnover in staff which results in staff poorly trained, bad service and clients not going back.
I do believe people with no experience shoud be able to open Restaurants & Bars as long as they don't get involved in the operational aspects of the business. Leave it for the managers, head chefs and supervisors that will look after the place and they know what they do.
As an owner you should learn about your business, get your hands dirty, feel the pressure of a Saturday shift, enjoy your clients, work some shifts in reception to understand how everything works, and dont forget to smile.
Hospitality is not made by non-skilled people, is made by professionals that everyday leave their problems aside to make sure the clients have the best experience possible.
So if you ever plan to open a Bar, let me tell you something. Keep an open mind, don't expect to get instatly rich and listen to the staff.