How Much Should You Do Yourself?

October 31, 2018

Open a Restaurant

If you’re opening a restaurant without the guidance of an established franchisor, the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming. With a franchise, someone else is calling most of the shots and your actual decisions are pretty limited. When it’s just you, you’re picking everything from the logo and business cards to the paint colors and local Square D wholesale supplier or contractor.

Will you do all the online marketing? Will you invest in a high quality Exiscan enclosure to keep employees and or customers out of nasty electrical components? Where will you get your restaurant furniture? Will you play sports on the TVs, or British TV panel shows?

If you try and do it all on your own, one of two things is likely to happen:

  1. You go crazy with stress and worry.
  2. You make bad decisions.

None of us can be experts in all fields, and pulling together an entire business requires a lot of different types of expertise. It’s best to think about these things long before you get started – in your business plan/strategy phase. Ask yourself these questions?

  • What am I good at?
  • What do I have experience in?
  • What things can be affordably outsourced, even if I do have the ability to do them?
  • What things have a high cost of failure (like construction/electrical work, legal work, etc.)?
  • What things are particularly challenging to outsource? Or expensive?

If something has a high cost of failure, it’s usually a good idea to outsource it to a professional unless you’re extremely experienced and confident about your abilities. Even then, you may wish to get a consultation with an expert to give you a backup.

If you’re good at something and it’s a high-value activity (like your advertising/marketing), it’s probably best to handle it yourself. After all, marketing experts are expensive, they vary widely in quality, and nobody is going to care about your business the way you do. If you don’t have experience but the activity is tough to outsource, you may wish to hire an expert to help you learn as you go, that way you don’t have to outsource it forever.

If something can be affordably outsourced, you’re nearly always best off to go ahead and hire someone else to do it. Bookkeeping and cleaning services can generally be filed under those categories, along with retail/counter help. Always be thinking of the highest and best use of your available time.

Granted – all of this is subject to your budget. It will help you prioritize, though, and it will also help you figure out if you truly have the amount of startup capital you need to do things properly. There are some tasks you can delay or skip, but they’re few in number. Restaurants really do need to be on top of their game on opening day. One bad experience can keep people from EVER coming back. An obvious lack of preparation can leave a bad taste in your guests’ mouths, or even create legal problems in some cases.

Have you opened a restaurant? Use the comments and let us know how you decided to prioritize activities.

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