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Apr 14, 2013 08:37 AM

Crazy to open a restaurant just so you can go to it?


Is it crazy to open a restaurant (or a copy of a restaurant) just so that it's there, in your area, and you can go to it? Would you do this if you had the money, even if you don't PROFIT from it, you just break even?

You see, I wish there was a Shanghai Bun somewhere in Bergen County and maybe NYC. Shanghai Bun in Matawan, NJ is the best authentic Cantonese restaurant aywhere ever, other than China itself, as far as I'm concerned. They have a really special, specific selection of authentic Chinese things that rarely if ever come in one restaurant together. The usual lunch fare is bowl-noodle-soups, which are amazing. On the weekends there's the unusual but still awesome BREAKFAST stuff - whoever heard of Chinese breakfast? - Youtiao, hot sesame croissant thingies, sweet and savory soybean milk. There's xiaolongbao anytime.

Basically, I've never been to a restaurant, even in NYC with this stuff. Come to think of it, I can't find a restaurant that has either bowl-noodle-soups or the hot chinese baked goods. I managed to get Youtiao once at one place in Chinatown, but it was crummy, and not fresh.

I would so be willing to put up the money to start this place up in my area (and/or NYC) just to have it there. Doesn't have to turn a profit for me, as long as it doesn't end up being a loss, and dealing with it isn't too hard - anyway, if it worked out and it was mildly profitable or just broke even I'd just sell it, but the main point is it'd be in my area.

  1. In a word, yes. But it's your money and if you've done the research and have a realistic idea of how much it takes to open and run a place and you can afford it, and you think you can get the recipes you seek and hire/poach and train and run a staff to do them for you, then why shouldn't you?

    But be sure you know what's involved before you jump in, including how hard and expensive it generally is to do this, and how difficult it is to turn a profit or even break even given the statistical failure rate of restaurants, and how difficult it will be to sell if you get tired of working 20-hour days (or paying someone exorbitantly to do so for you).

    1. believe me, if i won the lottery,
      i'd be stealing sergio from coni
      and he'd be cooking closer to my house.
      he'd be cooking for every dinner party i made (too bad for the guests that can't stand shrimp with eyes and fish with heads and bones. i'll get veggie burgers for them)

      (of course, i'd give Coni a substantial consolation fee: one large enough so that she wouldn't be left high and dry as she had to train someone else to take his place. after all, they are a family operation and the whole family deserves respect and fairness)

      1. Yep, absolutely crazy.

        I could never be sufficiently wealthy to even consider this.

        1. "...and dealing with it isn't too hard"
          My understanding of the restaurant business is if you decide to do this, it will be hard. Very hard. However, if you find someone else who also has a passion to do this and wants to take it on, and you're able to provide the seed capital and oversee it, it might be less crazy.
          Though my guess is, it will still be hard.

          1. No, it's not crazy --- it's insane. Do you realize that fully 50% of start up restaurants fail within the first year. Does that sound like a sound investment just for a lark?