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Monthly Archives: September 2016

Tips to Start a Restaurant

For those with a passion for food, opening a restaurant is the ultimate entrepreneurial dream. Perhaps you’ve already envisioned it: You start off in a tiny space with a couple of tables and a small kitchen. Before you know it, your eatery has become a beloved local dining establishment with a line out the door every weekend.

Running a restaurant is certainly rewarding, but it’s no easy task. Like any startup venture, restaurant ownership takes a lot of hard work, unwavering dedication and a willingness to overcome the obstacles you’re sure to come up against along the way. Six industry veterans shared their tips for navigating the business and launching a successful restaurant.

In any industry, doing your due diligence before starting up is critical for success. This is especially true for the restaurant business, where simply knowing good food isn’t enough. Even if you have worked in a restaurant, there are still many legal, managerial and marketing lessons to be learned.

One area that many would-be restaurateurs overlook is local licensing and health-department regulations. Michele Stumpe, a Georgia-based attorney specializing in alcohol licensing and hospitality litigation, stressed the importance of knowing the legal policies in your restaurant’s location, especially since state (and even county) laws can vary. Aspiring restaurateurs planning a launch should factor in the time various permitting and inspection processes will take, Stumpe advised. Costanzo Astarita ran into this issue when opening his Atlanta restaurant Baraonda in December 2000.

“The first couple of months were hard,” Astarita said. “We didn’t have a liquor license, and opening when everyone was busy for the holidays proved very challenging. We scraped through until Valentine’s Day, when we received our license and got a review published in the local paper. We had a great weekend, and the restaurant finally took off.”

You might have an incredible concept, a well-trained staff and the best menu, but without a good location, your restaurant is doomed to fail. In the 30 years she’s been in business, Paola Bottero moved her Manhattan eatery three times before settling on her current location. Marco Pipolo, owner and executive chef of Marcony Ristorante in New York City has learned valuable lessons from each of the five restaurants he’s owned, but one of the most important is that location can make or break your business.

Daniel Shemtob, owner of Los Angeles-based TLT Food, got his start in the industry with his mobile restaurant called The Lime Truck. While lower inventory costs and the ability to move around mean a much lower risk when starting a food truck, location can still present an issue.

“On our first day, [my co-founder and I] were in the middle of nowhere — we didn’t have propane to cook, and the truck wouldn’t start,” said Shemtob, who recalled having to hotwire the truck and wait for someone to come help them. “Then, there are other factors, like traffic,” he added.

Getting your bearings in the restaurant industry as a first-timer can be difficult. If you don’t have any previous experience in the business yourself, it’s important to partner with or hire someone who does.

When Astarita started his restaurant, he and his partner had worked on both the food preparation and management sides of the industry, but he didn’t know much about commercial leases.

“I wish I had understood how to negotiate them when I started,” he said. “I think that any new restaurateur who is unfamiliar with commercial leases should hire a lawyer who specializes in that field.”

Tony Doyle, owner of HK Hospitality Group, has worked in restaurants since age 12 and has opened several successful restaurants, but he still had a lot to learn when he opened his first establishment.

“There were a lot of things I’d never dealt with before — employees, payroll, taxes, bank-account management, etc.,” Doyle said. “You need to get a general knowledge of the working of the business before you start. There are a lot of issues that people don’t see.”

While being consistent in food quality and service is important for success, the restaurant business is far from static.

“I have found over the years that you constantly need to be updating, renovating and evolving with the ever-changing taste of the public to be successful,” Pipolo said.

Shemtob agreed, noting that his menu is constantly changing to allow for newer, more innovative dishes. When you come up with your concept and menu, it should be flexible enough to adapt when your customers ask for something new.

According to a recent Ohio State University study, more than half of all restaurants fail within the first three years. If your venture does fail, assess what went wrong and try again, keeping those things in mind. When Highlands Restaurant Group co-owner Donal Brophy and his business partners founded their most recent restaurant, Whitehall Bar + Kitchen (New York City), they used the lessons they learned when one of their restaurants was forced to close in 2011.

“We learned so much from the closing of our restaurant, Mary Queen of Scots,” Brophy told BusinessNewsDaily. “The food must be spot-on from the beginning. The layout and flow of the space needs to work during a high-volume atmosphere. Most importantly, we learned how important it is tocommunicate well amongst the partners. It was such a tough time for all of us, but we made it through and opened Whitehall, which has been a massive success.”

Everyone knows that a successful restaurant needs to serve impeccable food, but there are so many other factors that contribute to the success of your venture. If there’s one thing Bottero wishes she knew when she started out, it’s that creating a loyal following is difficult and takes time, even if your menu is top-notch.

“Customers make the place,” she told BusinessNewsDaily. “You have to earn their trust by making sure they’re taken care of and providing the best service possible. In today’s market, you also can’t succeed without social media. Good food is important, but so is good technology.”

7 Cool & Unique Businesses for Sale

Snyder’s-Lance delivery route – Marietta, Ga.

If you’re looking for a quiet, low-key business opportunity, this is the one for you. Thisfranchise opportunity requires the owner to drive a total of 25 miles per day delivering Snyder’s-Lance products to local retailers near Marietta, Ga. It’s perfect for introverts: All you need to do is load up your truck, turn on the radio, and drive along your route. Another bonus? You’ll never get hungry on the job, since Snyder’s-Lance is known for its snack foods.

Specialty holiday retail store – Shelburne, Vt.

Do you ever wish it could be Christmastime all year round? It can be for the new owner of this 26-year-old retail business. Located on a high-traffic road, the store specializes in holiday merchandise and aims to make its shopping experience a “Disney-like” attraction for customers.

Dorm appliance rental company – New England

College students who want refrigerators and microwaves in their dorm rooms don’t always have the funds to purchase new appliances. This rental company serves several southern New England schools and provides these appliances and other services to students. The new owner of this business has the opportunity to grow by expanding the product offering and network of cooperating schools.

High-end stationery and gift shop – Dallas

The listing for this Texas shop claims that it’s a market leader in the area with loyal customers, strong media contacts and excellent vendor relationships. However, the real opportunity is in taking the business online. You could develop proprietary products and launch an e-commerce and social media marketing campaign to really bring this startup to life.

Spa and aesthetics studio – Alberta, Canada

While a “spa and aesthetics studio” might sound like little more than a glorified nail salon, this hidden gem in Alberta has eight years of experience and a fully trained staff of 13 to provide massages, reflexology and other body treatments to local clientele. The listing says it’s specifically priced for a first-time business owner, and includes nearly $70,000 in inventory and state of the art equipment.

Wine and gourmet food shop – Vermont

Love food and wine? Check out this listing for a gourmet retailer in Vermont. Its unique appeal, said the owner, is that it has an urban country store feel with a cozy, personal shopping experience. After more than two decades in business, the store could use a new owner to bring a fresh perspective and new business development opportunities.

Casino, bar and bowling center – Montana

On a highway in western Montana sits this combination casino, bar and bowling center that has been in business since 1953. Both the casino and bowling facility were recently upgraded to include the latest games and equipment, and security cameras and monitoring systems are already in place for the buyer. As an added perk, the building has an 1,800-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment that the new owner can rent out for more income.

6 Great Business Ideas For Entrepreneurs

Alternative advertising

Companies are always looking for new and interesting ways to advertise, and that creates opportunities for clever entrepreneurs, like the folks behind Star Toilet Paper, which prints clients’ ads on rolls of bathroom tissue.

“Now is the perfect time to start a business focusing on unique advertising because of the push companies are making to reach a captive audience,” said Jordan Silverman, co-founder of Star Toilet Paper. “Guerilla marketing and alternate means of advertising allow [companies] to reach captive audiences in a more cost-efficient and unique manner, making [these services] the perfect niche market for startups and new businesses.”

Businesses for pets

It seems that, not unlike their masters, America’s furry friends are suffering from a bit of a weight problem. The need for weight-management services among pets creates opportunities for savvy business owners. While pampered pets used to drive pet-related businesses, today there’s a new market for pets in need of a little workout.

Ventures like the Tufts’ Veterinary Obesity Clinic, which helps pets lose weight, saw the need and pounced.

E-recycling services

Consumer demand for the newest electronics and latest gadgets has created an opportunity for entrepreneurs like Lee Lowden. Lowden started an e-recycling business that makes the process more accessible to everyday consumers.

Online pawn shops

Pawn shops’ stars are rising, thanks in part to some positive exposure from reality TV. Entrepreneurs see there’s a lot of room in this growing and changing market.

Outsourced human resources solutions

In a down economy, it’s the back office that often gets cut first. Companies that have had to cut back on human resources spending are turning to outside firms to keep things running smoothly.

Scott DiGiammarino took advantage of this opportunity by foundingReel Potential, a company that edits Hollywood movie clips into videos meant to inspire and engage business leaders and employees.

Products for Baby Boomers

As baby boomers age, there is a market for businesses that allow older people to continue enjoying leisure activities in spite of changing physical conditions. A recent New York Times article, for example, noted the increasing popularity of three-wheeled motorcycles among Boomers.

One entrepreneur created a product aimed at helping aging surfers continue to ride the waves.

Your Dream Business Ideas

Starting a business takes, before anything else, a great idea.

Inspiration is everywhere, all around us just waiting to be articulated. Sometimes, that inspiration comes from looking at existing businesses and thinking about how they succeeded where others might have failed. New and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn a lot from other companies, especially those who saw a unique need and filled it with an innovative product or clever service.

If you need some serious inspiration for your business ideas, then check out these stories. They profile companies in industries from food and travel to art and music, and everything in between. You may even find some to be quite out of the box, exactly the way you need to think to create a truly successful company.

For when you’re searching for holiday gifts for your clients and co-workers, shopping for the perfect birthday present for your boss, or just looking for business inspiration, here are five companies with unique business models that can help. From mobile gift cards to personalized sweet treats, these businesses put a whole new spin on gift giving.

Now more than ever, the best food often comes from tiny carts, stands and trucks. These 10 food trucks from around the country are serving up so much more than just mobile meals — entrepreneurs can learn a lot from their creativity and innovation, too.

These companies don’t just give children and young adults something fun to do after school or when school’s out for the summer. They also help them learn valuable skills, develop their creativity, improve their health and further their education in other ways — keeping parents everywhere happy, too.

The legal cannabis industry is rapidly growing as more states adopt both medicinal and recreational cannabis laws. An industry research group projects that cannabis will be worth more than $20 billion in less than 5 years, meaning now is the time to get in on the ground floor of this fledgling business.

Back-to-school season isn’t always easy, but there are plenty of businesses out there that can help make starting a new school year a lot less stressful for students, parents and teachers.

From facilitating new ways to display art in your home or office, to giving artists new mediums to showcase and sell their work, these businesses put the “art” in “startup.”

Whether you’re looking for products or want to start a business that brings it back to basics, you need to check out these inspiring all-natural businesses.

Beyond record labels, major streaming services, equipment retailers and concert venues, there are a lot of ways business and music intersect, and these music businesses are really changing the game.

From virtual-reality sports platforms and game-footage analysis to family-friendly youth sports programs, these six businesses put a whole new spin on sports, helping coaches, athletes and families do what they love. (Read more)

Fortunately for all you vegans out there, more and more stores and brands are dedicated to this animal- and eco-friendly lifestyle, covering everything from food and cosmetics to clothes and accessories.

While many organizations do their part by increasing recycling efforts, sourcing local materials and using energy-efficient equipment, some have taken their eco-friendly efforts to the next level by basing their entire business models on these principles.

Ready to use some of your hard-earned vacation time? Don’t book your flight just yet. Check out these cool travel businesses first to make your next vacation even less stressful — and more memorable!.

From afterlife preparations to unique burial methods and memorials, there are more businesses related to death than you might expect, including these seven totally killer businesses that will probably give you the heebie-jeebies.

Successful businesses all have one thing in common: They solve a problem for their customers. But some problems are less pleasant than others, and some are downright disgusting.

From the weird (bacon-flavored envelopes) to the inspiring (a food truck that gives back to the community), here are seven unique food and beverage businesses you probably didn’t know existed.

These breakup-inspired businesses know what it’s like to get dumped and are taking advantage of it. But don’t worry, unlike your ex, they’re not really taking advantage of you.

Whether they’re making use of a critter’s natural behaviors or pampering your pet to the fullest, these 10 companies have your four-legged friends in mind.

While most companies simply run Halloween-themed promotions during October, these eight startups have built their businesses entirely on the season of spirits.