Half of Americans have worked in a restaurant at some point, and a healthy portion dream of opening their own joints. (The number of eateries in the U.S. will soon top 1 million.) Dependable mortality rates are hard to find – a recent study found that 60% of new restaurants close within five years – but by all accounts, this is clearly one tough business.
Tom Morales, established Nashville restaurateur and owner of TomKats, a movie-set catering company, knows the tricks – and traps – of the trade. Morales has owned and operated three restaurants – The Loveless Café, Saffire Restaurant, and The Southern Steak & Oyster (opened last summer) – that today collectively generate about $25 million in annual revenue. “Everybody likes to cook,” says Morales, 58. “It’s a creative and emotional experience, but it doesn’t necessarily translate into business.”
For those who don’t have 30 years of hard-won restaurant experience under their belts, here are seven mistakes Morales urges everyone to avoid. Continue reading . . .