Common Mistakes Plaguing Restaurateurs and How To Avoid Them
1. Be prepared with answers.
Before meeting with your lawyer, know that you will be put on the spot. Know your intentions of why you want to enter the industry and have a business plan ready to go. Meet with professionals early on so that mistakes don’t have to be reversed; that can get expensive.
2. Be realistic.
Have an understanding of the finances that you are going to need in order to open your business and be realistic in your ventures. Understand that you don’t have to know everything to succeed; instead, you have to be hungry to learn.
3. Have a "doomsday strategy"
Talk to your landlord when you sign your lease and make sure to settle a “good guy” clause. This allows you to give notice to your landlord and get out of your personal guarantee and close the business if things aren’t going to plan. Closing doesn’t always mean failure because everything should be taken as a learning experience.
4. Identify how much money you need to raise by hiring someone who understands how to write a business plan front to back.
Start there. Then add about 50% to that. Helbraun emphasizes that from experience, in order to see profits, businesses need at least 50% more finances than they first anticipated. It is better to get more funds than you need because asking for more money halfway through looks unprofessional.
5. The longer the lease the better.
If you can manage, get a longer lease. If things don’t pan out, you can sell it easier because nobody wants to pick up a short lease and negotiate with a landlord when he/she has leverage.