Whether you’re opening a restaurant for the first-time or the fifth time, there are bound to be some hiccups.
The co-founders of the successful Chicago Boka Restaurant Group, often coined as the Boka Boys, Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, have certainly have had a lot of experience opening restaurants and are offering words of wisdom to those in the process of opening a concept.
It’s common for restaurant operators to take on more things than they can handle, instead of developing a team they trust to delegate to.
Boehm and Katz did just that and advise against it.
“We truly ran ourselves into the ground, to the point where we were close to nervous breakdowns. And what we needed to do, as we expanded — and we should have done it faster — was build our infrastructure,” said Katz to “Forbes.” “Instead, we basically hoarded our information and did not delegate properly because we just didn't have faith and trust in anyone else. When we finally did, it turned out to be the greatest thing that ever happened to us.”
Another tip the Boka Boys offered is that you should set realistic conservative goals and be ready to quickly adapt and make changes.
“It's so important that we can get numbers quickly in the restaurant business, so you can make quick behavioral changes. And having a nimble, intelligent financial department is so key to that. Our financial department is about twelve people,” said Boehm to “Forbes.” “It's so important for restaurateurs to have a realistic business model going into the opening of the restaurant, with reachable numbers. We build very conservative performance before we open up a restaurant, and we base our real estate deals on those realistic performance: if we’re going to do $30 million at a place, we consider the realistic floor, and of that floor, if you can run 6% occupancy costs, then you feel good about it, on a conservative level.”
Profit margins are already slim as a restaurant operator and as an owner, the standards you set when you open can make or break your business.
Don’t miss the other Boehm and Katz’s valuable opening tips for operators at “Forbes.”