How To Become A Self Employed Restaurant Owner

According to 2009 research from the British Hospitality Association (BHA) there are 27,502 restaurants across the UK as well as 31,000 fast food outlets. Entering the restaurant trade is a dream for thousands of Brits keen to display their passion for cooking or their love of playing the welcoming host.

However, making a success of a cafe or restaurant can be tough. So, that’s why we’ve put together this guide to the factors to consider when thinking of becoming a self-employed restaurant owner.

Being a success involved being good at running a business, not being a good chef

Logic would suggest that if you’re a great chef, your restaurant will be successful. However, high profile restaurant failures that have hit the likes of Gordon Ramsay prove that this isn’t always the case.

Ian McKerracher, former chief executive of the National Restaurant Association, says: “People tend to go with what they enjoy rather than what there are the right resources for. Too many people say ‘I know what I like’ when it’s rather more a question of marketing and the quality of your product.”

Running a restaurant is also likely to result in hard work and long hours. You’re likely to be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and so you may find yourself at your premises for the majority of every day and night.

Deal with the regulations

When you open a restaurant there are lots of rules and regulations that you must adhere to.
Firstly, your kitchens must adhere to strict rules concerning hygiene. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is the body appointed by government responsible for all food safety standards and can provide you with more information. As the business owner, you must ensure that you and anyone else working with food at your business has the appropriate level of training and/or supervision to do their job properly.

You are also required to register your premises with the environmental health service at your local authority at least 28 days before you serve your first meals. In addition, if you’re planning to sell or supply alcohol you will need to apply for a licence.

You’ll also find that mechanical and electrical ventilation systems are compulsory and that refrigeration systems need to be digitally controlled. The building and wiring must be safe and your kitchen must be a reasonable size to cope with the restaurant.

Finally, you also need to make sure your premises have the right commercial classification. Restaurants need an A3 classification, which is often the hardest classification to obtain. Pubs and bars need an A4 classification whilst takeaways need A5 planning consent.Also, even though it is not necessarily a requirement, it is highly recommended to get a general liability insurance quote to protect your business.

Take into account all the costs

When setting up your restaurant, it’s vital that you budget carefully and take all the costs into account. Your set-up costs will often include:

• Kitchen equipment including ovens, cookers, dishwashers, storage units and fly-killers
• Furniture
• Cutlery and crockery
• Toilet facilities
• Stock
• Property costs including rent and rates
• Staff costs

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