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College Graduates as Restaurant Entrepreneurs

Restaurant business is huge. The National Restaurant Association predicted $580 billion in sales for the industry in 2010. Quite often, I hear hospitality students telling me they plan to open their own restaurants upon graduation. My questions to these students are: what they have done to prepare themselves for a career in restaurants and how ready they are in managing their own business at the time when they graduate. Managing a restaurant is not as easy as it seems.

Nayeli Rodriguez at Newsweek suggested an entrepreneur needs to make seven decisions before opening a restaurant. I agree. Building on Nayeli’s discussion, I suggest students to check the following questions:


• Do I know everything about restaurant operations? Can I manage the back as well as the front of a restaurant?
• Do I have a solid business plan? How do I make a profit for the business?
• Do I have a great marketing plan? What brand do I want to create?
• Do I select the “right” location based on demographics and economics? A place I “love” may not work.
• Do I have a “clear and simple” menu? Menu dictates the product and service a restaurant provides. How good am I in menu engineering?
• Do I have a plan for inventory control? Fresh food and the intangible component of the restaurant business make inventory control more difficult.
• Can I find the “right staff” who can sell?

If opening a restaurant is a student’s ambition, I will suggest the student to take an entrepreneurship minor and start working in a restaurant as much as they can. Students need to know it would be a long learning process for them before they are ready to run their own business. They not only need to learn how to manage the back and front of a restaurant. They also need to find out if they really enjoy every aspect of the restaurant business and operations. As owners, they will very likely “live” with their restaurants for a long time, at least during the first couple years.

So, are you ready? If you are a restaurant owner, what suggestions would you make to those future restaurant entrepreneurs?

References:
Picture was downloaded from TalentRevolution via: http://tinyurl.com/linchikwok09232010P  

Comments

  1. Glad to know the new tool - should give it a try =)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This article hits home with me as I am a SU student who is primarily interested in the Restaurant Industry. I know that this is the industry that I belong in, I have the passion, experience, and the determination. I can respond positively to the questions highlighted above.

    I chose SU because I wanted a school with a name that would open doors, but now, FROM MY PERSPECTIVE alone, the school of opportunity for me has hindered my opportunities, and eliminated the easy route to my future. I feel as though I will no longer be able to take advantage of alumni connections in the Hospitality Industry in the next few years as I look for internships. I often ask myself, will my education be questioned?

    If I was in HR and interviewing potential interns, and had to choose between an SU graduate and a Cornell graduate, and that was the only difference between the two interviewees, the reputation of the schools would play a part in my decision. Would other's actually in HR currently agree with me, or is this merely a drama I am creating for myself?

    Now it's my turn to make a decision, I have to decide if I should stay as a major in the Hospitality program and pursue a minor in Entrepreneurship or if I should Major in Entrepreneurship and minor in Hospitality. Which would take me further? Would the number 7 ranked Whitman School of Management carry me further than having a minor in my own home school department? What will others in the Restaurant industry, and stakeholders value more? Regardless, I see the material in both classes in Whitman and Human Ecology paralleling each other. For instance, we learn about mission statements and business plans in both. The Hospitality version merely uses industry examples versus myself applying the Whitman lectures to my interests. Therefore I am beginning to wonder, does the title of school and major really matter in my situation?

    Any advice for me??

    (Human resources)

    ReplyDelete
  3. While the Hospitality Management Department remains as it is until 2014, the Dean is leading us to move forward to two directions --- Food Studies and Sport Event Management. Such changes will not affect students who are already in the program. Incoming students who are interested in restaurant operations may choose to focus on food studies or event management. As we are all going through this process together, I will keep you and other students posted with the updates.

    You have made a great addition to the program. We want you and every HPM students to succeed at SU and in your future career.

    ReplyDelete

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