Getting ready to open a new restaurant (or any business) can be overwhelming. There are so many different aspects to consider, and you’ll probably be juggling a lot of balls right up until launch, from creating a menu, marketing your concept, hiring staff and negotiating with suppliers. But perhaps you’re thinking of tackling all of this with a good friend? Starting a business with a friend adds a whole new level of complexity to the mix (as well as a lot of fun) so read on for our top 5 tips for starting a foodservice business with your mate…
Consider: Is this the right friend?:
Starting a business with a friend is arguably a bit like getting married. Before jumping in the deep end ask yourself whether you’re in it ‘for better or worse’. Launching a business will change the whole dynamic of your relationship. Make sure you know your relationship is strong enough to manage the stress and uncertainty that is inevitably coming your way.
Work together first:
Just like when people say before you move in with your partner you should travel together first, when you launch a business with a friend you should work together first. You will learn a lot about each other’s professional strengths and weaknesses. If you’ve never worked together, deciphering what you know about your friend’s skills from a social context into a business one is a difficult task.
Create clear roles from the start:
Get smart about how you divide your responsibilities. Not everyone can be the ‘boss’. Assess where your strengths lie and assign your roles according to them. Don’t be afraid to have upfront discussions about potentially tricky subjects like salary, title, and job descriptions. Be honest and clear with one another now, then trust each other’s judgement down the line without question.
Do you have an exit strategy:
This may seem ridiculous because you aren’t going to be thinking about failing when you are excited about the launch of your business but there can’t be many friendships that survive a business going under. Having a clear exit strategy if one of you wants out, or the business fails will make things a lot easier. In the end, your friendship is more important than your profit.
You and your friend probably have a lot in common, that’s why your friends. But make sure the people you hire are different: from different backgrounds, with different interests and skills. They will give your restaurant fresh ideas and perspectives that the two of you may not have ever thought of on your own.
Speaking of which, a lot of your business ideas are going to be thought up outside of work hours, over beers, dinners, family catch ups. This is great, but make sure you include your team members as soon as possible so they don’t feel left out.
Launching a restaurant with your mate can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. Post-shift beers will be even sweeter when you are sharing them with your business partner and friend. Consider these tips and you’ll be well on your way to foodservice success (and we look forward to seeing what you come up with!).