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Apr 15, 2007 07:00 AM

Your Dream of Opening a Restaurant -- Beware!

I have just finished reading a book called "Flash in the Pan":The Life and Death of an American Restaurant, Author is David Blum, ISBN: 0-671-68692-5. Only once copy in the Toronto Public Library System (if this is a serious 'dream' of yours...try the Bookstores)
What a horror story! It should be REQUIRED reading for anyone with the 'fantasy' of opening a Restaurant. Too scary for words!!

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  1. pearlD:
    Blum's book was published in 1992.
    Not that that diminishes it's well deserved intrinsic value, but certainly the novelty factor is kind'a gone by now.

    2 Replies
    1. re: RicRios

      I think losing ones shirt is never a novelty and the Restaurant business is just as bad, if not worse than the 80'/90s. In Toronto where I live the statistics on 'closings' are not for the faint of heart...that being said Toronto seems not to mind as restaurants abound.

      1. re: pearlD

        This has been said many times before but.. what the heck! here it goes again:
        Q: How do you make a small fortune in the restaurant business?
        A: You start with a big fortune.

    2. I actually get kind of annoyed when people try to stomp all over other people's dreams. There are many different kinds of eateries - some much more difficult to run and make money from than others.

      But one thing I have noticed in my life is that the first step one has to take to make one's 'dreams' and 'fantasies' come true is take a deep breath and resolve to ignore all the negative naysayers.

      2 Replies
      1. re: flourgirl

        I certainly don't mean to stomp on anyone's dreams far from it, but I do think that the competition is fierce in the restaurant business and no matter how unique your 'dream' (ie. that of filling a niche) better have BIG is a killer business ...aside from the money factor the wear/tear/stress is a HUGE factor to consider. My parents had a small family /greasy spoon business for over 40 years and small as it was there was always 'something' to worry about; believe me it took its toll..healthwise as well as the money factor.
        That being said...sometimes it's the right place at the right time.

        1. re: pearlD

          I don't think exposing someone to reality is necessarily stomping on their dreams, its trying to help keep their dream from becoming a nightmare. The reason a LOT of restaurants go under in their first year is because the owners didn't do the necessary research and have a good business plan before they opened the doors. Anything to make them stop and think before taking the plunge will help them be successful. A friend of mine once told me "You don't open a restaurant to make great food, you open it to make money. If you can make the money, then you can make the great food."

      2. Never read the book but my dad was in the restaurant/bar business for years. He worked 15 hours a day every day for years. He would take half a Sunday off every other week. It's was a lot of work and he made a decent living but probably not worth the time.