Even the best chefs need a business brain

29 March 2001
Even the best chefs need a business brain

Vision, determination and market research are the keystones for setting up your own restaurant, it emerged during the workshop hosted by chef-proprietors Alan Thompson and David Ryan.

Thompson (of the Royalist at Stow- on-the-Wold , Gloucestershire) and Ryan (of Bistro on the Beach, Bournemouth and Bistro on the Bridge, Christchurch, Dorset) both stressed how important it was to have clarity, confidence and 100% commitment to the end-product when embarking on the initial stages of going into the restaurant business.

"Whatever the aim of your venture you must have total confidence in it and not be afraid to ask people for advice," said Thompson.

"And you must always be individual - don't just copy someone else," warned Ryan.

However, as Ryan pointed out, most chefs are novice businessmen when they decide to branch out on their own, with no idea of how to draw up business plans, or of the legal requirements attached to acquiring premises and opening them as an eating establishment.

Both chefs advised seeking professional help from lawyers and accountants specialising in the industry. Similarly, they recommended using specialist estate agents and bankers when searching for premises and applying for business loans.

Emphasis was also placed on locating the right site - a process that could take up to two years - and researching where core business would be coming from.

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