How much am I paying for the website each month and how much does it cost to change it? We cost $39.95 per month and you can change the site as often as you like for free!
2 Do I have access to reports on what is working for my site? We include analytics along with FREE recommendations about how to drive more customers.
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4 Does my website collect email addresses of customers? M4R websites provide multiple ways to collect email addresses. It is the easiest way to market.
5 How does my website handle feedback? Can I publish good feedback? Customers can enter feedback and you can easily publish the great feedback. The bad feedback helps you improve the customer experience, but stays hidden, so it doesn't drive potential customers away.
6 How do I run an Email marketing campaign out of my website? With your new site, it is easy. The database contains all of the emails you have collected and prepares nicely formatted emails. Think of an offer or news item and send it out. It's that easy.
7 Can I use my website to print out material for the business? Your new website will generate a file for you to take to your printer for nicely formatted Feedback cards. We take the hassle out of designing your feedback cards.
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9 How well is my website going? Are my results any good? You'll soon be able to see how you rank against all of the M4R Community, so you'll know how well you are doing and also what you can do to improve!



How does my website integrate with Social Media.


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1. Never start without the big three.  No restaurant succeeds without a great chef, a great location, and a great concept. They all work together. Your location should fit your concept. Your chef, or “talent,” must fit your concept, otherwise you’ll constantly deal with the most common word in the restaurant business: Drama.

Some entrepreneurs say, “Well, location doesn’t matter because I’m going to create a destination restaurant.” In my experience, people say that when they have a bad location. It’s hard to become a destination if you don’t start with a great location.

Accessibility is everything. The more accessible you can make your restaurant, both in terms of location and in a broader sense, the greater your chances of success. Look at the most successful restaurants: They’re the most accessible in terms of location, brand, and price point. Fast casual restaurants are booming because they’re incredibly accessible on all levels.

2. Always overestimate your capital needs. Plan on having six to nine months of working capital from the start. You’ll be surprised by how quickly the expenditures add up and how much time it takes for a new place to grab hold and get legs/regular customers.

Many new restaurants see a major downswing in business after the opening’s initial excitement. That’s when capital is critical. When I started Uchi I brought clientele with me, but even so there was a gap after the first few months. We had to wait to see if the restaurant would really catch on.

A lot of restaurant owners start out with cash in reserve and start blowing it because they think the honeymoon phase will last forever. That’s why most restaurants go out of business. Never let initial success go to your head. Success is only determined years later.

3. Learn to love teaching. I often bring in people from different places, including interns from culinary schools. Paul Qui, a chef currently competing on Top Chef: Texas, is a great example. Paul came in eight years ago and asked to work for free. He’s worked through every station and now is the Executive Chef at Uchiko.

I don’t work in the kitchen much anymore but I do get to help teach people like Paul. That’s incredibly rewarding.

Doing something new is inspiring. Helping to shape the menu is inspiring. Everyone loves new dishes–the front of the house, the wait staff… once people love to come to work, you’re money.

4. Never be cheap where guests are concerned. The most important money you will spend is money that adds value to the guest.

I definitely made mistakes early on, especially when I tried to go cheap on certain things like equipment, valets, and even desserts. That was short sighted, because everything that touches a guest is important.

Determine a percentage of your revenue to put into improvements that affect the guest and constantly enhance their experience. At Uchi we don’t spend money on advertising or marketing but we run a very high level of comps. We give away gift cards and send a lot of complimentary dishes to tables.

Guests love when a dish comes out and the server says, “The chef wanted you to try this,” because that creates a real connection and makes the experience personal.

Make sure you spend as much money as possible on the guest experience. Spend money on the people already in your restaurant, because that’s the best way to generate genuinely positive word of mouth.

5. Focus on organization and systems of operation. Failing to put systems in place is one of the biggest mistakes an independent restaurant owner makes. I have an amazing partner, Daryl Kunik, and that was more of his realm.

Many restaurant owners don’t want to come off as corporate; to them, the “C” in the word “corporate” is like the Scarlet Letter. To embrace systems would be like selling out and becoming a chain.

I feel the opposite. There’s a reason chain restaurants thrive: Every one of them started as an individual restaurant. Each had a great chef, a great concept, and a great location, and they developed systems that enabled them to build guest demand, hold on to key people, and make money. Otherwise it would have been impossible to open two locations, much less 200.

Organization doesn’t kill the flow of creativity. Putting outstanding systems in place gives you the freedom to be creative.

6. Be ready to evolve, especially if you’re a chef. Many businesses are started by a craftsperson with an idea for a product. Rarely does that idea become anything unless that person partners with someone with a complementary ability, like, “You carve wooden bananas and I can sell them for you.” That’s when an idea becomes a business. I have great ideas, but without someone like Daryl, Uchi would have never succeeded.

Now as a restaurateur my focus is almost solely on people and communication. It was hard for me to say, okay, while I’ll always be a chef, I’m not going to be in my kitchen all the time. I’m going to teach and delegate instead. Once I embraced that I was able to do so much more. That was my tipping point.

Always look for people who are smarter than you. As a business owner the smartest thing you can do is partner with people who know things you don’t—and then give them a reason to care.


1. Decide on a Concept
Design a hypothetical menu and make sure its something you have knowledge and passion for. What are your price points going to be? What is socio-economic demographic who can afford these price points? Then find a neighborhood where the earning demographic can support the price points of your concept.

2. Do Some Market Research
Find out how many households per restaurant are in your eligible price point range neighborhoods. Find out how many restaurants sell the same thing within 5 miles of that neighborhood. Find out the ratio of residential housetops within 5 miles and how many businesses (large and small) within 3 miles (5 minute drive). These numbers are critical to determining whether you have a better shot at breakfast, lunch, dinner, catering, etc.

3. Go on the Fantasy Location Search
This is where you get to have fun and taste the dream a little bit. This is also where reality has a chance to rear its ugly head. Go visit commercial real estate offices in your selected neighborhoods and get tours of available properties. Don’t get too romantic about any location: You’re still weeks, if not months away from being ready to even consider signing a lease. This is purely a fact-finding mission. Then go visit local establishments and ask questions about monthly gas, power, water, sewer, and garbage franchise costs and fees. You may need to visit several places to get one that fits your conceptual model and a crazy enough owner to share with you.

4. Do Some Telemarketing for Local Service Providers
Call pest control, equipment and refrigeration service contractors, linen services, dishwasher/chemical service companies, and, most importantly, business insurance providers and city and county governmental fees & licensing departments to get monthly, quarterly, and annual costs. Then call your local bar and ask them to double your monthly tab; you’ll be needing a lot more to drink.

5. Build Your Model Restaurant
Get out the old Excel spreadsheet or your favorite college ruled legal sized writing pads — restaurants are never successful when drawn out on standard writing pads. List all your gathered information in a monthly and quarterly format and extend for one full year, then multiply the monthly number by 1.5. This will anticipate forgotten or omitted data and predict price increases in utilities and expenses throughout the year. These figures represent your fixed costs for the year.

6. Add Staff and Food to Determine Sales
Let’s figure, in your first year you will run high food costs (40%) and high labor costs (30%), while you figure out customer flow, proper ordering, and scheduling. So multiply your fixed costs by 2.4 and this should give you your total monthly operating expense. Yes it’s very high, but, let’s face it, you might be too for wanting to open this place! Now, divide your total monthly expenses by your average dish price point, distill that figure down to weekly and daily expenses, and this will tell you basically how many customers you will need to be a success.

7. Panic!
If this figure scares the bejesus out of you, then go back and repeat steps 1 through 6 until you find a concept and expense profile you can live with.

This is the best way to get real about the possibility of opening a place of your own. This virtual model is then whittled down to create your profits by controlling those costs and adding sales volume. The next things to think about are the role of a consultants in this process, location and design, start-up and marketing costs, and, probably the most difficult issue, funding and finance. Please feel free to drop me a message in the comment section below and ask me any questions you may have.

Chef Steven Howard is the Owner and Directing Executive Chef/Consultant of Consult the Chef, A Restaurant, Bar and Catering Consulting Company. During his 35 year career, he has held virtually every position in the culinary industry. 


Clarify your concept and put all the proposed details--from decor to dessert choices--in writing. If you can't write about them, they need more thought.


Investigate the regulatory requirements, both city and state. Prepare for a plethora of paperwork, including byzantine building codes with regulations covering everything from kitchen exhaust systems to interior finish requirements.


Find an ideal location. Do a demographic study of the surrounding area. Research the amount of foot traffic and the availability of easy parking. Then negotiate a lease you can afford.


Plan your menu early in the game. Kitchen layout and equipment purchases depend on it. Reduce your equipment costs either by purchasing used equipment or leasing new.


Find the funds. Write a detailed business plan and consider forming a small private corporation or starting a limited partnership. However much money you think you need, raise more. Many restaurant consultants blame the high rate of new restaurant failures on undercapitalization.


Allocate the available space. Remember that in addition to dining and kitchen areas you'll need room for dishwashing, storage, bathrooms and administrative work.


Plan the layout for the dining area. Remember to balance your desire for the maximum number of seats with your future customers' desire to shun tables crammed into awkward corners. Also avoid locating tables in the middle of the room like woebegone little islands. "Nestle tables--particularly two-tops--against low divider walls or other architectural features," advises restaurant owner and designer Pat Kuleto.


Keep the kitchen layout focused on efficient, safe food preparation. Ensure that there is sufficient light and ventilation, as well as enough space so that cooks, servers and dishwashers are not bumping into one another at the busiest times.


Don't neglect the graphics. From the exterior signage to the look of the menus, graphic design plays an important part in a restaurant's overall look.


Pay attention to lighting design. Focus dramatic light onto the tables to highlight the food, and complement it with glowing atmospheric light to make the customers look good.


Research and develop the menu. Taste-test the recipes repeatedly until the kitchen can achieve consistency. Remember that the food also has to look good on the plate. Plot out your menu pricing strategy. Have the final menu proofread before sending it to the printer.


Decide whether to offer full bar service. Apply for a wine and/or liquor license.


Investigate insurance needs thoroughly. Restaurants are simmering stockpots of potential accidents--from fires to floods to food poisoning and a hundred other potential horrors. The National Restaurant Association ( is an outstanding resource for insurance-related information.


Select and train the staff. Look for enthusiasm as well as experience. Allow ample training time before the restaurant opens. Remember that the person running the front of the house is as important as the person running the kitchen, and great service is as important a factor in winning customer loyalty as great food.


Set up a bookkeeping and accounting system. Establish control over the meal checks. There are dozens of scams that dishonest servers and cashiers can pull; get some expert advice on how to prevent them.


Designate a core of trusted employees to supervise storage areas carefully. Stress that they must check in all deliveries and audit the food inventory frequently.


Pass your opening inspection by a food safety specialist with your local health department, along with a plumbing inspection. You'll receive a permit to operate, which will be reviewed yearly.


Open your doors and welcome hungry diners.

Read more: How to Open a Restaurant | eHow


 Know Your Concept
Find your niche, develop your concept and stick with it. Make sure everyone understands and stays loyal to the concept. The concept should be something from your heart and soul, not what you think will be the next trendy thing.

Save Up
Have enough capital to sustain your business for a year. Bill Stenehjem, a former high school counselor who opened The Stonehome Wine Bar in Brooklyn, says, "Start-up costs are always far beyond what you imagined." A study by researchers at Ohio State University showed that up to 60% of restaurants fail within three years.

Who's Who?
If you have investors, clarify everyone's role. Are partners silent or can they decide the shape of the bathroom sink?

Don't wait until you're looking at a room full of empty tables before hiring a publicist. "It's much easier to generate buzz before an opening," says Jennifer Baum, founder of the public relations firm Bullfrog & Baum, which represents chefs such as Joel Robuchon, who has restaurants from Paris to Hong Kong, and Marcus Samuelsson, the Swede behind Manhattan’s Aquavit.

Brace Yourself
Be emotionally and physically prepared for hard labor. Michela Larson, who opened Rocca Kitchen and Bar in Boston, says that "restaurants are like babies. They take six months before they can sleep through the night."

Hire Well
Hire key positions early to foster team building. Veteran restaurateur Jeanne Cretella, who has operated restaurants including The Boathouse in Manhattan's Central Park, says hiring a staff that embodies your concept is key--from the chef down to the person who answers the phone. Carlos Suarez, who recently opened Bobo, a "bourgeois bohemian" themed restaurant in a New York brownstone, says it took him nearly a year and countless tastings to find a chef who shared his vision.

Provide Incentives
Give good employees a reason to stay--like incentive pay or bonuses. You don't want your chef to storm out in the middle of a Saturday night rush.






Step 1
Experiment with different brew recipes to find your specialty and determine what you wish to sell. Most brewers opt to sell several types of custom beer -- some light or pale varieties and some darker beers.

Step 2
Visit other brewpubs and microbreweries to see what works and what does not. Make sure you have a good understanding of the industry by reading books, trade magazines and websites.

Step 3
Scout a location for your brewpub or microbrewery and determine which you want to open. An establishment that makes and sells beer is a microbrewery; a business that makes and sells beer along with food in a restaurant is considered a brewpub. The right location will accommodate your business needs; is large enough for brewing equipment; is in a high-traffic area; and complies with zoning regulations. Buying or leasing a location that was previously used as a brewpub or microbrewery can help, because the building may include some equipment and be set up for kitchen and dining areas.

Step 4
Develop a business plan and do a feasibility analysis. Include information about your proposed business, such as business location; the types of beer you plan to sell, including ingredient specifications and suppliers; the volume of business you anticipate; and a marketing plan. The plan should include specifics about how much beer you plan to produce and sell and what level of sales will make the business profitable. Outline whether you plan to sell food and what the menu will include. The business plan must also explain how you plan to fund the business. The feasibility analysis will help you determine how solid and financially sound your business idea is.

Step 5
Get your financing in order. Consult a lawyer or financial adviser. Gather funds from investors or personal accounts and start a business account to handle expenses. Research and apply for grant money if you qualify. Opening a brewpub or microbrewery can cost as much as $25,000 to start up, at the time of publication, plus an additional investment if revenue does not meet initial goals.

Step 6
Buy beer-making equipment and ingredients. You will need brew kettles and tanks as well as other supplies -- boilers, refrigeration, and filtration equipment -- to make the beer. Develop a relationship with vendors who will supply ingredients -- such as barley, hops, yeast and flavorings -- and materials for your business. Also plan to buy items for your location, from tables and chairs to decor and dishware to glasses for your brew.
Know Your Concept
Find your niche, develop your concept and stick with it. Make sure everyone understands and stays loyal to the concept. The concept should be something from your heart and soul, not what you think will be the next trendy thing.

Step 7
Apply for a business license, insurance and any applicable alcohol-beverage-control licenses, which vary by state.

Step 8
Hire a team to support and run the business. You will need someone to handle business finances, a lawyer to oversee contracts and help with licensing, an accountant to handle taxes and staff to keep the brewpub or microbrewery running. recommends working as a bartender before opening your brewpub or microbrewery or hiring bartenders to get a feel for the business operation and clientele. If you plan to serve food, hire a professional cook or chef.

Step 9
Market your business. The best way to get people to try your brew is to get the word out about it. You may have to sell your product under cost initially with promotions such as "Happy Hour" specials that include discounted beer. Watch your sales and keep the most-bought ales in supply -- customers often choose beers that taste similar to mainstream brands. Having a product that people want and good customer service will bring customers back.

Things Needed
■Homemade brew recipe
■Brewing equipment and location
■Business license and insurance
■Alcohol Beverage Control license (varies by state)
■Suppliers for brewing materials
■Team of business associates and employees

 Start Your Own Brewery
Author:  Sal Emma
Issue: February 1997
Three industry insiders offer advice on opening and running a successful microbrewery or brewpub.

You have said it to yourself. Maybe your friends have said it to you, too. “Your beer is excellent. You should open your own brewery.”

Many have considered it. A few have even made it happen. But as the pros will tell you, there’s more to running a brewery than making good beer. Following is a glimpse of what it takes.

Bill Moore is founder, brewmaster, and a member of the board of directors of Independence Brewing in northeast Philadelphia. Moore was an avid homebrewer for 12 years before brewing professionally. He spent five years brewing at Stoudt Brewery in Adamstown, Pa., before opening his own place.

Moore understands the most important aspect of running a microbrewery: selling beer.

To Market, To Market

“Market pressure is what is driving the micro industry. The consumers, at least here on the East Coast, are getting more and more sophisticated and willing to try new things,” says Moore. “Our task is a balance of making products that are interesting enough to get attention but traditional enough to sell.

That’s the key difference between homebrewing and doing it professionally. It’s one thing to make a couple of cases in your basement and really like it. Some of your buddies might like it, too, so you are tempted to believe that the beer would sell in the open marketplace. In reality it might sell or it might not, depending on a million other factors.”

When choosing the beer to brew, Moore quickly learned that success in the beer business means giving the customer what he wants, not want you think he wants. “We made our debut in the Philly market with our Independence Ale, which was stronger, maltier, and hoppier than anything the beer-drinking public was used to. It was well balanced but very big. In fact, too big. We quickly learned that Philadelphia was one of the nation’s biggest Coors Lite markets. It did not take a lot of inspiration to realize that we overestimated the tastes of our customers and we had to tone it down a notch or two.

You have to weigh isolated requests from a few people with the kind of large-scale demand that ultimately affects your bottom line, Moore says.

One of the microbrewer’s weekly challenges is sorting out the difference between real consumer demand and fads. “Sometimes it’s not so easy,” says Moore. “For example berry beers and fruit ales are popular now, as are honey beers. But if I am going to put a berry weizen on the market, I had better be pretty sure that it is going to sell before I start making it 40 barrels at a time.

“We have five beers on the street right now: our pale ale, a lager, our Gold, a porter, and the Franklinfest, which is an Oktoberfest style. Even with that much variety, the sales guys keep coming back, reporting that the distributors want something different. We are jumping through hoops just to keep our regular stuff going, and we really can’t afford to climb on every fad that comes down the pike.”

But then again, when you think you have tapped into real demand, you have to be flexible enough in your plant to be able to get the new style out there. Constant demand has caused Moore to make porter year-round instead of seasonally.

For this reason, you need a professional brewery, run by professionals, according to Moore.

Once you get the beer itself in good shape, you still have far to go. You will have your distribution market to deal with. That’s another reason you need people in the organization who not only know the business but know the business in your market. “For example the Pennsylvania market is drastically different than the market in, say, Maryland or Jersey. In Pennsylvania beer is sold by the case, through distributors. It takes a big commitment to buy beer here. The customer wants some beer, so he walks into a distributor and has to be willing to take a chance on 24 bottles of beer. He or she is unlikely to make that commitment for an unknown or unfamiliar beer,” says Moore.

“In Jersey or Maryland you can walk into a big liquor store and buy a six-pack. In many stores you can even buy a single bottle. It’s much easier to get someone to try your beer if it only involves a few dollars and a few bottles. We don’t have that luxury in Pennsylvania.”

Finding distributors who know your area is important, he adds.

The distributors, too, can make life challenging for the brewer. They have a lot of control over the small brewery’s success. They want a good price, and some will do anything to save 50 cents on a case. And they may not accommodate your every need.

Moore wanted to produce unpasteurized beer. When he realized that distributors were not going to refrigerate it, he changed his brewing procedure to increase the beer’s shelf life.

“It’s a very competitive market and it is getting more so. The micro pioneers had only the big boys to compete with. We still have them, but we are also competing with ourselves and with big brewers masquerading as craft brewers.

“Besides that, the big micros from out West are expanding their markets into the East. You have got to be the best you can be and flexible enough to respond to a rapidly changing marketplace. You won’t have what it takes if you try to do it on the cheap or build a brewery on a shoestring,” he says.

Moore puts a $2.5 million lowball price tag on building a 30- or 40-barrel brewery. That includes production, packaging, marketing, and transportation. Moore says the $1.5 million he started with was not enough, and he has been raising capital ever since by selling private shares. To stay financially healthy, Independence plans a public offering in the near future.

Moore’s firm learned the hard way that saving money up front often costs you much more later. The lesson came in the form of his bottling line. “The bottling line is a very important and, unfortunately, a very expensive part of the micro’s equipment list,” says Moore. “We made the mistake, like other micros, of buying a used line that did not live up to our expectations. We bought it through the back pages of one of the trade journals, and it did not come with any support or expertise. We got what we paid for — a bottling line, nothing more.”

Buying the bottling line was a bad move because the employees at Independence lack knowledge, and the dealer does not provide enough support, Moore says.

Independence is tearing out the used line and replacing it with new equipment that comes with customer service support. “I would advise anyone who is serious about this business to choose equipment and suppliers very carefully. You want some accountability to go with the equipment,” he says.

Also keep in mind the size and layout of your building. Independence served as a warehouse and steel fabrication plant before the brewers moved in. They have high ceilings and 35,000 square feet to grow into. “If you are successful, you are going to grow and you need to have space. If your building is just right or if it feels too small when you open, you are probably heading for trouble,” Moore says.
Moore’s approach is to build breweries bigger. “It’s not going to be worth it to you to build anything under a 10-barrel capacity, even in a brewpub. You won’t save much by building smaller, and the cost of production is significantly higher when you build small. Making 10 barrels instead of four or five will cost you literally pennies more. It always costs more to expand, rather than starting off with the capacity you need to go the distance.”

The bottom line is that if you are seriously considering the option, you have to be willing to admit that operating a brewery is a business. To keep a business successful, you have to be willing to raise enough money, buy the right gear, get the right building, hire the right people, and sell the right beer.  “If you have unlimited cash on hand and you do not have to work for a living, make anything you want, any way you want. But if you want to make money at it, you have got to be willing to do whatever it takes to keep the beer selling,” Moore says.   

A Model Brewpub

If you have never visited the Heartland Brewery on Union Square in New York City’s Flatiron district, put it on your schedule. It is one of New York’s friendliest and most comfortable places to eat, drink, have a cigar, or just hang out.

And that’s no accident. Jon Bloostein has gone to great lengths to make his place as comfortable as it can be. He is detail oriented, and it shows.

Heartland is decorated with handsome murals depicting scenes of agricultural tranquillity on America’s plains. It’s heavy in brick, dark wood, and comfortable lighting.

Bloostein is proud of his creation and feels he has successfully created the space he intended when construction began in late 1994.

“I was in the acquisitions and mergers business, a career that promises years of white-collar frustration for those unlucky enough to pursue it. I spent a lot of time on the West Coast and seemed to always end up hanging out in a brewpub, no matter what town I was visiting,” says Bloostein.

“I realized that New York City did not have anything quite like the West Coast brewpub, and I decided to build one. We had a few brewpubs, but they were going belly up as rent escalated. I had some experience in retail and was dumb enough to think that selling beer would be no different from selling anything else.”

As it turned out, it was his financial expertise and his investigative ability that he relied on more than his retail experience when starting the project. “I know how to find out about businesses,” he says. “So I knew which vendors and suppliers to encourage and which to avoid. My biggest challenge was in construction details. I do not know anything about construction, so I could never be sure if I was getting what I needed or if I was being taken for a ride.”

Bloostein’s instincts and a little luck got him through the details of construction and his vision kept the crews focused on the task at hand.

“I think a lot of people think a brewpub is a brewery with a restaurant. Some see it as a restaurant with a brewery. In fact it is neither. A true brewpub is a hybrid, a unique place with a unique feel.

“You have to be different, unique. Especially in a competitive market like New York, where the consumer has hundreds — if not thousands — of choices,” he says.

Bloostein is quick to point out that good beer in a brewpub goes without saying. But you have to be as dedicated to quality in the kitchen, if not more so, according to Bloostein. “The nice thing about beer is that the first glass out of the serving tank, under normal circumstances, will taste pretty much like the last glass, no matter how many were drawn in between. The kitchen runs under a different set of rules. If you make 1,000 hamburgers, they represent 1,000 opportunities to screw up. If you overcook it or undercook it or put bad lettuce on it, the customer will be unhappy. That’s why you have to be really careful about who you put in the kitchen. The lion’s share of your payroll costs will be in the kitchen, anyway. So be sure to spend that money wisely,” he says.

Bloostein admits there is no way to know if the person you hire is right until you have worked with him or her for some time. “I thought I opened with a terrific staff. Of 85 employees, only five have been here since we opened. The brewer is one of them — I was very fortunate there. Plus you have to make sure you have enough of the right people, too. I never dreamt it would take 85 people to staff this place,” he says.

Bloostein says opening a brewpub is like every other business in one important way: You can’t do it without enough capital. “It’s hard to say what a brewpub will cost without looking at the individual situation. Every town and location will be different. The important thing to realize is that it will cost significantly more than just the price of the brewhouse. I mean, some folks think that because you can buy a brewhouse for $200,000 you should budget for $300,000 and be covered. It doesn’t work like that. Not if you are going to do it right. We spent $25,000 on our sound system alone. Our computer system cost thousands. This business is replete with hidden and soft costs that will haunt you if you don’t plan to deal with them up front.

“Probably the biggest surprise I’ve had to deal with and continue to deal with is spending an incredible amount of time on non-business activities: dealing with lawyers, architects, designers, trademarking, advertising, repairmen. The list goes on. But they don’t bother you at night, when you will have plenty of time to drink,” Bloostein says with a laugh.

Teaching Brewing Enterprise

As president of the American Brewers Guild, Bruce Winner has regular opportunities to commune with professional brewers who serve the guild as regular and guest instructors at craft-brewing industry seminars and courses. Winner, too, does his share of instructing would-be brewery operators.

“I think the first piece of advice I give everyone is to either hire experts in the field or become an expert yourself. Everyone has his or her own special skills, but not everyone can run a brewery. And there are many fine homebrewers who have what it takes to become professionals, but most will need training and professional assistance to go pro,” Winner says.

Winner says everyone brings a unique set of skills and experience to the brewery operation, but they may not be the skills needed to ensure success. “The micro is a combination of two basic operations: making good beer and selling it. If you do not understand sales and marketing in today’s intensely competitive beer market, the best-made beer in the world will not move. Conversely, if you know how to market beer but the beer’s no good, you will also find success elusive.”

As you might expect, Winner is a big advocate of education as a means of preparation. “Education means more than just attending seminars. Read as much as you can on the subject, and interview operators of successful breweries to find out what makes their operations profitable,” he says.

And echoing the words of Moore and Bloostein, he warns against going in with insufficient capital. “Always get more money than you think you need. It’s a tough situation, because sometimes it’s hard to estimate how much you will need. But if you do enough homework and write a good business plan, you will be able to come close,” he says.

Like his colleagues inside the brewery, Winner agrees that successful brewery entrepreneurs understand and admit that selling beer — in a micro or in a brewpub — is a business and should be viewed as such.

Most agree the salad days of the craft-brewing business are over. Still, Winner firmly believes the industry is growing with new opportunity. “I think the brewpub industry has a good five or 10 years of strong growth left. Demand is increasing as people all over America are being exposed to a huge variety of unique and full-flavored beers. And some of America’s largest cities have no brewpubs, or only one or two.

“If I had to choose one (venue — microbrewery or brewpub) over the other, in today’s market I would look more closely at the brewpub option. It’s less risky, in general, because your initial outlay is less. Plus it’s a cash business. You serve the beer and the customer pays for it, unlike the micro end where you have to bill for product and wait 60 or 90 days for payment,” he says.

Of course, the brewpub is a restaurant and the restaurant business is notoriously risky. “If you do not know anything about the restaurant business, either don’t build a brewpub or get a partner who knows the restaurant business very well,” Winner says.

 No one can guarantee success. But if you are realistic about the project, find enough capital, understand your market, educate yourself, and surround yourself with experts, you will give yourself the best chance of success in a relatively hostile business environment.



Well, I've been a licensed nanobrewery for about a year and a half now and it occurred to me the other day that I've learned a few things that might of interest to other folks. So off the top of my head, here goes...

1. Go bigger. Unless you've got way way too much spare time get at least a 1 bbl brewhouse. If you don't need a ladder, the brew house should be bigger. Having built your own rig helps when things inevitably go wrong, and is an advantage.

2. Fermentor size matters. This is your chokepoint for production. You'll need as many gallons as you can effectively temperature control.

3. Love your yeast. Effective yeast harvesting is a must (and easier with larger batches and regular brewing). And you'll get way more than you need. I get around 2 gallons of settled slurry from a batch. Washing every once in a while is good too and its a good idea to learn how to chemically/acid cleanse slurry too. I'm now using a 5g ale pail to harvest yeast and hold starters. Learn everything you can about yeast. Super important.

4. Its not as hard as everyone who gives you unsolicited opinions will try and lead you to believe. The legal stuff is manageable. Really. Production just takes more time, more (bigger) gear and a dedication to regular production. Calendaring really helps.

5. Learn everything you can about fermenting. Yeast nutrients. Temperature is critical. Pitching rates. Sanitation. Everything. Adding hops to beer in a 90 minute boil is fun, but then there's two weeks that need as much attention to avoid having to dump what could be $400-500 worth of beer down the drain.

6. Its a business, it needs to act and look like one. Learn accounting and do it yourself so you personally understand what's financially happening with your brewery. This pays off in spades. Among other benefits, you can get a tax deduction for your office, back yard (if you host a party), utilities, garage, etc. Beyond this, all your gear is deductible and depreciable, expenses for "professional development" ie. beer = "style samples and comparative tasting" expense, beer festival tickets = "market research", dinner and a beer at a bar you sell your beer to then becomes "travel and entertainment: meals" expense. Seriously.

7. Talk to everyone in the brewing business that you can. Pro brewers are (with extremely few exceptions) really really happy to help. For most of them, you're doing the "pure" version of professional brewing and not having to deal with health plans, payroll and insurance, etc. and they throw a lot of love. Vinnie from Russian River recently told me "We've all been there." Be respectful, don't name your stuff similar to anyone elses (in the area or out of it). Chances are good that you'll be able to piggy back their grain shipments and end up paying $0.72 a pound for malt and delivery will cost around $2.00 for a 55 bag, and picking up their overstock hops is a possibility too. Speaking of hops, hops in 11 lb bags from distributors are about $14/lb now and less at the end of the year when people are blowing out last year's crop.

8. Confidence. There's a reluctance to step out and take nanobrew to a bar and try and sell your beer-child. Its a personal thing that most people, outside artists and creative professionals, don't have a lot of experience with (myself included) and the prospect of rejection can cause you to undersell your self and your beer. Trust in your brew - it tastes better than 99% of what's out there. If it didn't we would be homebrewing.

9. Sales. This is the new part. Figure on spending at least as much time marketing and selling your beer as you do making it. Start local, find a publican with some love for the local and use that for momentum. I was "underground" for over a year selling to chefs, caterers and other folks which helped create a buzz and gave me time to get my act together (and recipes, my IPA is the 9th variation of the original recipe) before going and getting some bars to give me a tap. Personally meet the managers and bartenders and be available by cell. Tell the story of your beer and why you're doing this and offer to answer any questions. Make it clear that you may not be able to make enough beer to keep their pipeline full and tell them they need a plan B for the tap if you run out of inventory. Make this clear at the start to avoid problems down the road. Worst thing you can do is be spotty with delivering product.

10. Sanke kegs are a must. Buy used ones, and take the valve apart and clean them and put them back together. Repeat. This is like training to field strip and clean your M-16. Once you get used to them, they're way better than corneys (in my opinion) and no bars are going to pour from corneys.

11. Charge more money per keg. You are limited production, hand crafted artisan brewery. Charge for it. Find the distributor's price for the most expensive similar sized keg in your area and add $10.00.

12. Naturally carbonate in the kegs. Helps with keeping the beer fresh, it a good story and point of differentiation and easer than than force carbing in bulk and transferring under counter pressure. Also forces you to delay release of the beer and gives it some conditioning time so you're not releasing green beer.

13. Love. There's a ton of love out there for nanobrew. I just went to my first beer fest after being "underground" for the last year and a half. We had a line 6-8 people deep for the duration of the event. We got a shout out from the band. TONS of "hell yeah" comments about garage brewing. Can't say enough about the reception we got. Makes toiling in my garage alone at 1am for two years putting this together all worthwhile.

That's about all I can think of for now. Finally - if you're thinking about making the transition, its very doable and there's a lot of love for it these days. I mostly started because I could take the baby monitor to the garage and tinker around while my daughter slept and then it sort went haywire (well, it was that or World of Warcraft as a hobby, and you can't drink World of Warcraft) Go for it. Gotta run.



First Steps -- Background Homework
Network: Talk to as many people as you can -- brewing professionals, business owners, distributors, consultants. Keep your ears open.

Education: Several institutions offer courses on how to open up a brewpub or microbrewery. One, the American Brewers Guild (ABG) in Davis, California, offers a course called "How to Open a Brewpub." I was fortunate enough to take that course at the IBS "Boston Brew-In" conference in 1996; it is being offered three times throughout 1998 in classrooms located in Colorado, Georgia, and Washington, D.C. The course provides a detailed look at what it will take to make a go of it, including equipment, finances, capital, site assessment, and more.

Plenty of books have been written on the subject as well. The Institute for Brewing Studies (IBS), for example, publishes a book that is particularly helpful in providing a good working understanding of all the logistics involved in opening a complex business (Brewery Planner [Brewers Publications, Boulder, Colorado, 1996]). The annual Brewers' Market Guide (published by BrewingTechniques) offers articles on brewery start-up, financing, forecasts, and business planning and management as well as exhaustive, detailed listings of suppliers of products and services for commercial breweries.

Information Resources
American Brewers Guild
   1107 Kennedy Pl., Suite 3
   Davis, CA 95616
   Tel. 1-800-636-1331or 916/753-0497
   Fax 916/753-0176
Offer a full brewer training program and frequent short courses on brewpub start-ups; publish a book, How to Open a Brewpub or Microbrewery.
Institute for Brewing Studies
   P.O. Box 1679
   Boulder, CO 80306-1679
   Tel. 303/447-0816
   Fax 303/447-2825
A valuable source of state and regional information about the brewing industry: market statistics, published twice a year; an annual resource guide (The Brewers Resource Directory); a book (The Brewery Planner); and a report on industry statistics (Industry Revealed).

National Restaurant Association    Research Director
   1200 17th St., N.W.
   Washington, D.C. 20036-3097
   Tel. 202/331-5900
Excellent resource for restaurant information; the Restaurant Industry Operations report is analogous to the Industry Revealed report offered by the IBS (includes regional demographic information and detailed statistics culled from surveys of member restaurants).

   Joint venture of The Real Beer Page
   and The Celebrator Beer News
Weekly subscription-based electronic newsletter offering news and updates from all aspects of the brewing industry.

The Brewers' Market Guide    BrewingTechniques
   P.O. Box 3222
   Eugene, OR 97403
   Tel. 1-800-427-2993 or 541/687-2993
   Fax 541/687-8534
Includes articles on brewery start-up, financing, marketing, and business management, as well as detailed listings of suppliers and their products or services, trade associations and organizations, and publications.

BrewPub Magazine
   Niche Publications
   216 F St., Suite 160 Davis,
   CA 95616
   Tel. 916/758-4596
   Fax 916/758-7477
A magazine specifically for the brewpub industry. Sponsor an annual brewpub conference (see the ad on page 85).

The Professional Brewers Page
   Published by Real Beer Inc.
Site includes the Brewers' Market Guide Online (fully searchable data base of suppliers), state-by-state legal profiles, and a host of other professional brewing services.
Research: Once you have some background understanding of what it takes to run a brewpub, do some homework on the industry as a whole. Several organizations compile statistics on the brewing industry (see the box, "Information Resources," right, for some suggestions). One thing you will learn is that overall U.S. consumption of malt beverages has been stagnant for the past 10 years, and microbrews hold only about 2% of the market. What does this bode for the industry? Is the pie going to get any bigger? If it doesn't, micros are going to have to take more of the majors' piece of it. Are you on the front or the back side of a bell curve? Are you riding the wave or just sucking suds?

Plenty of people apparently feel there's room for growth. The number of new brewpubs and microbreweries in the United States is still on the upswing. One hundred and seventy brewpubs and 60 microbreweries opened in 1997, while 40 brewpubs and 23 microbreweries closed. But optimism is not always enough, and, as with any business venture, failure is always a possibility. Brewpubs currently have a one-in-eight failure rate nationally (microbreweries are one in seven), though this is still much better than restaurants as a whole.

Bear in mind, however, that national, regional, and local markets perform differently. How healthy is the market in your region? Does your area have room for another microbrewery or brewpub? Many local distributors have this information available if you can convince them to part with it. State and Federal alcohol departments also keep statistics on consumption trends.

Location, Location, Location
As a brewer, you might be inclined to wax on about the brewery you'd have. But if you want to start a brewpub, remember one thing: A brewpub is first and foremost a restaurant. Yes, it has a brewery attached to it, but it is still a restaurant first and a brewery second. That means that the three most important rules of a successful restaurant apply here as well: 1) location, 2) location, and 3) location. I know this sounds painfully familiar, but I'm actually talking about three different concepts. When you're done looking at all three sides of location, you'll have what's technically referred to as a statistical market survey area, or SMSA, for your proposed business.

Location rule #1: Are you located in the right geographic area? You need people to buy your beer. Transporting your beer to them, or luring them to you, costs money. Try to locate your business near populated or popular areas. Many states have census bureaus that collect population data, and most city chambers of commerce have this information. Take an area map and mark target rings at 5-mile intervals from your proposed location. See what the population is at 5-, 10-, 15-, and 20-mile radii (the 5- and 10-mile radii are the most critical). Certain population minimums are recommended for brewpubs and breweries depending on the brewery's expected production output. The American Brewers Guild, for example, uses a guideline of 150,000 people in a 15-mile radius. The recommendations aren't etched in stone, of course, but you would not want to put a 15-bbl brewery system into a brewpub that was trying to service an SMSA of only 20,000 people.

Location rule #2: Are you located in the right demographic area? Not only should your location meet certain population requirements, but that population has to be within the right age group and income level. A low-income retirement community would not likely support a rocking brewpub selling $3.50 pints of beer, but even a small city could probably support several brewpubs if it was made up of predominantly middle-income professionals between 30- and 50-years-old.

Location rule #3: Does your location have the right exposure and access? Everyone hopes that their brewpub will be a destination -- "If you brew it, they will come." This dream may come true in some cases if you spend lots of your profits on marketing. Throw enough money at a problem and you can fix most anything. But while you're in the planning stages, you might as well be smart.

If you met rules #1 and #2, find a location that is easy for your clientele to find. Do a traffic survey during peak times, like lunch and rush hour. Are you on a well-traveled route? Is there a traffic light or intersection near your storefront that would make traffic stop for a minute?

Then there's access. You'll want plenty of well-lit parking. After all, most of your business will be done at night. A good test for any potential location is to ask yourself whether it is an area in which single women will travel unescorted at night. If not, reject the location. If you're lucky enough to start from scratch and buy land, make sure it has more than enough room for a parking lot. If not and you plan to locate in a city, do a parking survey of how many spaces are available within 300 feet of each entrance. Of these spaces, how many will be in demand for other businesses? Do these other businesses operate during the same hours as you? Are handicap spaces available? Are any parking garages nearby? Alternately, is public transportation or taxi service available within walking distance?

The box, "Site Assessment Survey," provides some important site characteristics compiled from studies of successful brewpubs.

Identify Your Potential Clientele
Once you have identified your market from your demographic surveys of the SMSA, it will further help to break it down into smaller, more readily identifiable segments to determine your prospective customers' frequenting habits. Consider, for example, whether -- and how many -- customers will come from the following segments: working professionals, shoppers, convention-goers, students, sports crowds, older couples, tourists, bar flies, arts crowds, families, beer enthusiasts, moviegoers, downtown residents, county residents, and special events participants. Chart or graph these segments to determine when they would be likely to frequent your establishment during lunch, dinner, happy hour, late night, weekends, and holidays.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) offers a lot of information in this area (see "Information Resources," page 76). Contact them for assistance if needed. This information will help paint a picture of whether you have chosen the right area to locate your brewpub and will help you in your sales projections (more on that later).

Know Your Competition
Once you've found a reasonable area for a brewpub, it's time to assess the competition. Before you can determine how your business is going to succeed, you have to look at what others in the same line of work have done in the same area.

First, identify your competitors within your SMSA (remember the three rules of location?). Brewpub competition includes other brewpubs, nonbrewing restaurants, and bars. Find out who's offering good beer and how it's selling. The Yellow Pages, dining guides, and local newspapers are a good place to start. To locate breweries, check The Real Beer Page on the internet (, the Brewers Resource Directory (1), or your state alcohol department for listings.

Once you have a complete listing, narrow it down to only those businesses that would be close to your profile. It doesn't make sense to survey your local McDonald's if you're opening a brewpub unless they have McBeer on the menu. Make up a survey list of everything about a restaurant that would affect business. Parking, exterior and interior appearance, seating capacity, hours of operation, menu, pricing, and service all factor into who goes where. Longevity is a strong sign of success, particularly in the high-turnover restaurant industry. If a restaurant has been operating for over five years, pay close attention to what they are doing and what contributes to their success. Is it value for the dollar, a theme, superior service, menu, entertainment, or something else? You can't argue with success.

Learning as much as possible about your competitors will also tell you a lot about your own future clientele. If your profile is close to theirs, adding a brewery could give you the upper hand, provided your area is not already saturated with brewpubs.

Project the Bottom Line
Sales volume projections: Here's where we start getting really serious and put all this information to work. If you think you understand your market, think you have found the right location, and know all about your competitors, you can start formulating sales volume projections. These sales volume numbers can determine whether sufficient business exists to support your proposed operation and how large that operation should be. From your competitive analysis you should be able to determine how many seats your SMSA can support. Do not overestimate this just because you love beer. Go with the statistics. Building a 200-seat brewpub in an area that would only support 50 seats will be deadly. By the same token, building a 50-seat brewpub in an area that will support 200 can be frustrating as well.

There is no simple formula for success. If you did your homework thoroughly and correctly, however, you will be making educated guesses rather than just throwing darts.

The NRA offers the following formula for quickly calculating revenues:

Turns X Seats X Average Check = Revenues
*The NRA does not yet offer statistics on brewpubs, but it's safe to assume that your profit margin will be higher the more of your own beer you sell. The American Brewers Guild suggests the following percentages as guidelines: Food should represent 60% of gross sales, house beer should be 30%, and other sellable items such as souvenirs, bar goods, and so forth should be 10%.
"Turns" refers to how many times the seating capacity is rolled over for a particular seating period (lunch, dinner, happy hour, and so forth). This is where the crystal ball comes in, along with the information from your competitive analysis. "Seats" is obvious, but if the lounge is used for seating during lunch but not for dinner the number may vary. "Average check" should be estimated from your detailed competitive analysis. Separate the food check from the beverage check; the profit margins are much different for each of these two categories.* Lunch and dinner checks will vary, so run the formula for both. You'll want to start with an average week during an average season. From here you can calculate an average month's revenues (see the box, "Calculation of Revenues," for an example). This will represent "monthly gross sales," the first line of any pro forma statement (pro forma statements are discussed later in the article).

Cost projections: Before you can estimate profitability, you need to figure out the cost of doing business. Estimating "cost of sales" should not be crystal ball work. Use statistics from the NRA for some rough guidelines; these are safe averages, organized by region and style of restaurant. In their reports you will find average costs for food and beverages plus operating expenses such as wages, utilities, entertainment, marketing, and more. In addition, many brewery equipment manufacturers offer potential clients formulation sheets describing the general costs of brewing an average beer. If you request a quotation for their equipment you can get their copy. The box, "Is Beer Liquid Gold?," gives some guidelines on calculating the profit margin on your beer. You can manipulate all of these averages based on your particular situation. Will your menu be up-scale or pub food? Will you have a full bar or serve only your own beers?

You'll probably want to take one further step and try to gauge how much it's all going to cost you. After all, the amount of profit that you get to take home will depend greatly on how big your bills are.

The building. Other important factors are your occupancy and equipment costs. Will you be renting, and if so, is the rent comparable to your competitors' costs? Are you planning to own your own building? Either way, try to keep this expense between 5% and 7% of gross sales. That should give you some kind of budget based on your sales projection to shop around with.

When you find a location for which you're willing to negotiate, consider hiring a broker to represent you. If you don't stick to your guns and negotiate for a reasonable rate, you may easily get taken. Furthermore, brokers can be real estate hound dogs for you, saving you time. Give them the parameters of what you're looking for and let them have at it. Many will do it free of charge.

The brewery. Then there's the other half of this equation -- how big should the brewery be? The brewery can be the single most expensive part of the brewpub. Estimating the correct size is crucial to an efficient operation. Many brewery equipment manufacturers will tell you they have a "rule of thumb" to go by that ranges from 7�10 bbl maximum annual production per seat.

So let's say your sales volume projections have led you to plan a 200-seat brewpub:

200 seats X 7 bbl/seat = 1,400 bbl per year
If you have a 7-bbl brewery, you will be brewing 285 times in 52 weeks, or 5.49 times per week. Now remember, that figure represents the maximum consumption capacity. That means that if you have the perfect location, great marketing, and brew fantastic beer, life will be great and you might sell 7 bbl per seat. Being a conservative businessman myself, I like to use 5 bbl as a yardstick.

The number of brews per week and your brewing style and cycle will determine how many fermentors and serving tanks you will need, as well as what you need in the way of brewery personnel. If you are not a brewer and cannot figure this out, find someone who can immediately. Tanks can be expensive.

You also have to decide whether to buy new or used equipment. Cost differences between the two can be sizable. Some people have managed to set up functional breweries for $10,000 (or less!), but their operation looks like an overgrown home brewery. If you are going to brew professionally, be serious about the quality of your equipment. You are only as good as the tools that you work with. If you are a competent brewer, mechanically inclined, and you know what you are doing, used equipment can be a good alternative. Just remember, buyer beware.

Buying new equipment has its benefits despite the higher cost. Some manufacturers have great support programs (some, of course, only say they do). If you are not too experienced in professional brewing, this route can save you a lot of beer as well as your reputation. Nothing's worse than opening a new brewpub and serving off-flavored beer. Remember: You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make it a good one.

The restaurant. Furniture, fixtures, and restaurant equipment costs must also be detailed and priced out. Be conservative and don't go crazy. If you are not a public company and do not have several million dollars to put into a place, you have to set your priorities. Open first, expand and grow later.

The Pro Forma Statement
When you really feel you're ready to go out and drum up some support (read: cash) to fulfill your dream, you'll need to write up a business plan and plug all your estimates into a pro forma statement. I could write a book on pro forma statements, but many have already beat me to it. Consult bookstores, the NRA, or your CPA to help set this up. The pro forma statement should be very detailed and leave no room for error. It includes income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets. It takes your estimated gross sales revenues and applies to it all associated costs, expenses, taxes, fees, depreciation, and amortization.

Your pro forma has to be accurate -- not to mention realistic. Too good, and no one will believe you. Too bad, and no one will listen to you. Take a banker or two out to lunch sometime to consult with them on what they would be looking for from a pro forma statement. You can save yourself time and money if you can get it right the first time.

What's left over after calculating your pro forma statement may not be much, but it is profit (you hope). This statement will determine whether you should continue to pursue your dream. Remember all that beer and money you dreamed about while scribbling on a napkin? This is why we started this whole crazy idea. Make no mistake about it -- there is money in beer. Just ask Anheuser-Busch. You take some grain (only the second cheapest thing to water) and make a product for which people are willing to pay as much as $5 a pint. Not bad.

Don't Short Change Your Goals
The feasibility analysis is all about paying your dues. It should not and cannot be cut short. Many people are jumping into this field trying to "catch the wave" because it's trendy or it looks fun and easy. You need to do sound research before diving in. And you must be willing to walk away from it. If, after doing all your homework, you discover that you can't afford to open the brewpub, don't take out a loan on the house just to make it possible. Take a deep breath, order yourself a beer, and thank your lucky stars you did a feasibility study before you put yourself into financial jeopardy.

Starting any business is serious business. It usually takes lots of money, most of which will have to be borrowed. The better you do your homework, the more assured you can be that you will be capable of returning that investment with profit and a little extra beer. To get from dreams to reality takes dedication, perseverance, planning, and homework. Good luck.


1.Clarify the concept and theme that you want your restaurant to project. Put all the proposed details -- from decor to dessert choices -- in writing. If you can't write about them, then they probably need more thought.




Investigate the regulatory requirements, both city and state. Prepare for a plethora of paperwork, including byzantine building codes with regulations covering everything from kitchen exhaust systems to interior finish requirements.


Find an ideal location. Do a demographic study of the surrounding area. Research the amount of foot traffic and the availability of easy parking. Then negotiate a lease you can afford.


2.Research and develop your menu early in the game. Conduct proper studies on the cuisine that would work for the demographic in the area, and which would fit in with the concept of your restaurant. Taste-test the recipes repeatedly until the kitchen can achieve consistency. Remember that the food also has to look good on the plate. Plot out your menu-pricing strategy. Have the final menu proofread before sending it to the printer.
3.The kitchen layout and equipment purchases would depend on the menu that you plan to serve. Reduce your equipment costs either by purchasing used equipment or leasing new ones.

Find the funds. Take all of the research that you have conducted and write a detailed business plan. Research on all the costs that would come with the opening of a restaurant -- from the site, to equipment, to labor -- and list them all in the business plan. Consider forming a small private corporation or starting limited partnership. Keep in mind that you should raise an amount larger than the capital that you think you need, in order to provide a buffer for unforeseen costs. Many restaurant consultants blame the high rate of new restaurant failures on undercapitalization.


2.Allocate the available space. Remember that in addition to dining and kitchen areas, you'll need room for dishwashing, storage, bathrooms and administrative work. Map out the layout clearly, so as to not miss out on space for important functions.
3.Plan the layout for the dining area. Remember to balance your desire for the maximum number of seats with your future customers' desire to shun tables crammed into awkward corners. Also, avoid locating tables in the middle of the room like woebegone little islands. Keep the layout balanced and pleasing, and give each table sufficient personal space.

•Keep the kitchen layout focused on efficient, safe food preparation. Ensure that there is sufficient light and ventilation, as well as enough space so that cooks, servers and dishwashers are not bumping into one another at the busiest times.


2.Work on the details and decor for the restaurant.
3.Don't neglect the graphics. From the exterior signage to the look of the menus, graphic design plays an important part in a restaurant's overall look.

•Pay attention to lighting design. Focus dramatic light onto the tables to highlight the food, and complement it with glowing atmospheric light to make customers look good.

Investigate insurance needs thoroughly. Start planning for insurance early and ask them for advice about how to properly cover your restaurant business. Restaurants are simmering stockpots of potential accidents-from fires to floods to food poisoning and a hundred other potential horrors.


2.Select and train the staff. Look for enthusiasm as well as experience. Allow ample training time before the restaurant opens. Remember that the person running the front of the house is as important as the person running the kitchen, and great service is as important a factor in winning customer loyalty as great food.
3.Designate a core of trusted employees to supervise storage areas carefully. Stress that they must check in all deliveries and audit the food inventory frequently.

Set up a bookkeeping and accounting system. Establish control over the meal checks. There are dozens of scams that dishonest servers and cashiers can pull; get some expert advice on how to prevent them.

Pass your opening inspection by a food safety specialist with your local health department, along with a plumbing inspection. You'll receive a permit to operate, which will be reviewed yearly.

Open your doors and welcome hungry diners.



As part of the process, we incorporate data from several certification bodies to inform our ratings system; each one brings something to the table that we're looking for. Here are the certifications, and what each one actually certifies:

1. Slow Food Snail of Approval

A Slow Food Snail denotes local and sustainable ingredients, but doesn't account for overall nutrition. So with this certification alone, you could find chicken that's free-range and local but still deep-fried.

2. Certified Green Restaurants

Certified Green restaurants must have a full-scale recycling program, be Styrofoam-free and tally up points for things like consuming less energy and being water-efficient. Though points are also given for sustainable food, the emphasis is primarily on environmental impact unrelated to actual food sourcing.

3. Animal Welfare Approved

Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) thoroughly ensures that the dairy, meat and/or eggs at a restaurant came from animals that lived happy lives; they must be pastured, free-range and raised on family farms. However, one major part of the meal -- produce -- is not approved under this certification.

4. SPE

SPE, or Sanitas Per Escam, Latin for "health through food," is focused on the nutritional content and sourcing of ingredients. SPE consultants revamp chefs' dishes to become healthier and lower-calorie without losing flavor. Unfortunately, there are very few SPE Certified restaurants (only three in New York City, for instance). This system also advocates minimizing butter and cream, so some well-known chefs who cook with these ingredients have been resistant to spring for this particular certification.

5. Gluten-Free Food Service

The Gluten-Free check mark means that the restaurant's management has worked with a consultant to safely produce gluten-free food. That means no contamination can occur. While this is assuring for people with Celiac disease, with only this certification, a gluten-free pizza could still have hormone-laden meat on top.

6. Heart-Check Meal Certification

The American Heart Association heads up this effort, which gives a seal to individual dishes with fewer than 700 calories and reduced saturated fats, trans fats, sodium and cholesterol. Still, neither food sourcing nor quality are measured. Subway restaurants were the first to serve these "heart-healthy meals."

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