Being a good cook, or loving food, or having your mama's recipe book, are not enough. The restaurant industry eats people like this as an amuse. So, if the call of the stove haunts your dreams, let me suggest that you prepare for that calling, rather than simply working very, very hard at losing all the money you ever had (and then some).
Not understanding how to cost out a menu, navigate permits and licenses, manage employees (and their records), or develop a realistic budget with benchmarks and fail-safes are just a few of the millions of things a potential restaurant owner needs to be a pro at before considering entering this business. Even if an owner has the funds to hire someone else to do a lot of this for them, how can the owner be sure that their hired help is capable or competent if they can't ask the right questions or check their work?
Western New York is home to a great number of restaurants, some very successful, others only modestly so, while many tread water. The industry is terribly demanding, without question. But there is also a lot of opportunity here if you know what you're doing--typically reasonable rents and a public that loves to dine out are just two of the reasons why so many people chose to try their luck at opening a dining establishment here. And as a dining public, we are fortunate to have such an excellent collection of independent restaurants to choose from. In order for this aspect of our economy to flourish, it is important that the resources new and potential restaurant owners require be available.
Fortunately, Buffalo State College has seen the need and is filling it. The college's Small Business Development Center, Department of Hospitality & Tourism and the Research Foundation have come together to offer a six month-long "boot camp" for potential and existing restaurant owners. The class begins with a two week program at Buff State's own dining establishment, Campus House (pictured). This is followed by bi-monthly Monday sessions, to be held on site at the area's most successful restaurants. Called the Restaurant Institute, this program "is committed to developing professional knowledge, skills and relationships in a very innovative way."
As a person who has seen many extremely smart, talented, good-hearted, well-intentioned people lose their shirts, strain their family relationships, and compromise their health in the restaurant business, I strongly suggest that interested hopefuls mark their calendars for the program's Open House on Saturday, October 2nd from 9:30a.m. - 11a.m. Reservations can be made by contacting Sue McCartney via telephone (716) 878-4030 or email.