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    Run A Successful Business - 4 Lessons I Learned From Chris Parke

    When Chris set out to start “The Extreme Chefs” the was sure that the time was right. Prior to this time, Chris had worked in the service industry under several chefs to support his backcountry snowboarding career, but his encounter with a high-end rental company changed it all. It isn't everyday you meet such dynamically accomplished professionals, so when I met Chris Parke the co-founder of “The Extreme Chefs” I knew I had to seize the opportunity to learn from the best. I was in the process of starting my own business, but I knew running a successful eatery comes with years of experience and I was not ready to wait that long.

    1. James: Why is the success rate of restaurant businesses not as high as it should be?


    Chris: If you dream of a successful restaurant business, you should know a few things before starting off. This is an industry riddled with failures and you don’t want to fail before you start. It has been reported that one in every three restaurants does not last twelve months and if a restaurant finally succeeds they often struggle. This is partly because the capital cost of setting up a restaurant is enormous, and bankers are always reluctant to provide the much-needed credit facility. In my experience, these 4 keys will be helpful.

    2. Location and accessibility


    Location is crucial in this business. It is essential you site your restaurant close to offices and residential neighborhood. This will increase patronage and your monthly turnover. In my cases, I provide “The Extreme Chefs” services and having a website where people can find me and the type of services we offer were crucial to the success of my business. The world is now remotely connected, and it is possible to offer services outside your main location, but you must create a platform where you can easily be contacted.

    3. Documentation


    Setting up a restaurant is not same as a grocery store because there is an overhead monitoring unit to ensure safety and high-quality hygiene. This implies that you will need a permit for occupancy, sanitation, fire safety and quality assurance not to forget insurance policy for the liability of your workforce. If you delay plan to putting these in place you might experience a delay in opening your restaurant. My advice to startups is to first consider using a space that was once a restaurant rather than incurring additional expense and approvals that comes with reconstructing a space into a restaurant.

    4. Equipment


    Doesn't come cheap. Think of starting with a used equipment rather than buying new ones. However, if you are kin on having the new equipment it is better you look for deals with flexible payment options that allows you to make a payment towards the equipment monthly or quarterly. After purchasing the equipment, you need to be smart with how you handle the variable cost of installation and other needed fittings. I have come to realize that most people are able to manage their capital cost but when it comes to variable cost like labor they incur up to 25% of their expenses. How do I go about this, I go for laborers that a colleague has worked with and I renegotiate the price based on what he or she was offered

    5. Food

    This accounts for one-third of your cost so be prudent. You should try to avoid waste because old bread can be used as croutons. Apart from saving cost on the food you need to invest in chefs that can keep your customers coming again and again. In my line of business “The Extreme Chefs”, which of course now incorporates extreme ingredients (cricket popcorn, sea urchin dip, and squid ink martinis or champagne floats), extreme services (smoking ice displays, fire eater-style entertainment or even just sourcing your favorite celebs decor) we invest a lot into our dishes. If the food is good they will keep coming and bring their friends and family.

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