The Tampa Tribune’s food writer since 2005, Jeff Houck covers the way people live through their food. He also hosts the Table Conversations food podcast and believes that everything crunchy is good.
Most Recent Entries
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- Giving Thanks For Alternatives To Thanksgiving [Turkey, Shmurkey.]
- Taking A Bite Of The Pillsbury Bake-Off [Fear And Baking In Las Vegas]
- Sea Urchin Crostini, Tiger Beef Salad And Faked Alaska [This Week’s Weekend Eats]
- A Way To Eat Kale For People Who Hate Kale [Chef John Besh Cooks From The Heart]
- The Sip: 3 Daughters Brewing Comes To Live [Pumpkin Tap, Carmel Cafe Cocktails, Great Sips]
- Remembering Marcella Hazan [The Most Important Ingredient]
- Elevage Pops-Up, Offers Taste Of Epicurean Hotel [Duck Duck Goose Burger Blows Minds]
- Where To Eat Outdoors Now That It’s Not 1,000 Degrees [East Hillsborough Edition]
- James Villas’ New Book ‘Southern Fried’ Should Be Battered, Eaten [Everything Crunchy Is Good]
- Prepping For A Pop-Up [Chad Johnson Turns SideBern’s Into Elevage For One Week]
- Putting The Wine [And Other Drinkables] Into The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
- FishHawk Loses Park Square Cellar [Mary And Shawn Sarkisian Get Their Lives Back]
- The Poor Porker Branches Out With New Ventures, Locations [Lakelandia Meets Portlandia]
- Chad Johnson Plans Elevage ‘Pop-Up’ At SideBern’s [Preview Flavors Of Epicurean Hotel]
‘Should I Open A Restaurant?’ [Answering That Other Questions You Might Be Asking Yourself]
Posted Jun 21, 2013 by Jeff Houck
Updated Jun 21, 2013 at 04:32 PM
A Facebook friend the other day threw out the following question.
“Should I open a restaurant?”
It’s a common question for food lovers.
You know how it goes.
You go to a restaurant. You have a great meal. You drink a perfectly blended cocktail.
The restaurant has tasteful décor. The servers are polite and efficient. The throng of customers with whom you had to fight to get a table appear more than willing to part with gobs of money in exchange for hospitality.
“I could do this,” you think. “All these people would come to my place. They would give me their money.”
It’s a dicey business. Smarter people than you have lost big bucks trying to feed the general public.
Before you take the plunge, ask yourself if these situations apply.
If you think the easiest way to make $2 million in the restaurant industry is to spend $3 million, you might want to open a restaurant.
If you enjoy the flop sweat that comes from calling friends to beg for investment money and then calling again to ask for a little bit more and then calling a third time because you kind of, sort of went over budget, you might want to open a restaurant.
If you thrive on the creativity it takes to name your eatery, only to be told that the handle you have chosen means, “Dirty Maggot House” in French, you might want to open a restaurant.
If you are convinced that you have found the perfect location despite the fact it was featured on an episode of “Celebrity Ghost Stories,” you might want to open a restaurant.
If working 100 hours a week seems like the start of a relaxing paid vacation, you might want to open a restaurant.
If you long for the free-flowing exchange of ideas on Yelp with people who shouldn’t possess an open mouth much less a set of faulty taste buds, you might want to open a restaurant.
If you’ve always wanted to be on “Food Network,” even if it means having Robert Irvine walk through your door with a camera crew, you might want to open a restaurant.
If you enjoy seeing the name of your restaurant in the news because your seafood monger pranked you with a cod-like doppelganger instead of actual grouper, you might want to open a restaurant.
If you think a good night of entertainment includes watching your bartender on the security camera make change for a $10 bill with three twenties and two fifties, you might want to open a restaurant.
If you crave the adrenaline rush that comes from seeing your chef quit on a busy night because “Mr. Mushroom” is back in town, you might want to open a restaurant.
If you embrace and welcome microbial-level inspections by health officials who write citations like a cannon shooting confetti, you might want to open a restaurant.
If you can look at a plate of steak, a baked potato and a side of asparagus and enjoy thinking, “I made 75 cents off that dish,” you might want to open a restaurant.
If you like working on your feet all day, agreeing with customers who are wrong, using your house as collateral, filling in as the dishwasher/chef/prep cook/janitor, making sure the staff doesn’t steal everything that isn’t nailed down, dealing with frivolous lawsuits and maybe – just maybe – making a slim profit within the first two years, you might want to open a restaurant.
If you do, I wish you the best of luck. I’ll be first in line waiting for a table.
I’ll be the guy ordering the grouper. I think.