One of the most fascinating experiences I have in writing this site is the opportunity to learn how others within the food industry run their operations. From large, well-known kitchens, like those of Le Bernardin or Dahlia Lounge, to smaller kitchens like Momofuku Ko or Portland’s Scratch, I’m always interested how the wheels of each restaurant turn – hiring employees, developing menus, creating environments that appeal to consumers. Though I talk about the daily activities of running a food service business in my book, two recent articles also had me thinking about the logistics of restaurant ownership as well.
From the New York Times, author Barbara Taylor recently discussed the enormous undertaking of building and growing a food service business. She discusses a few of the difficulties she battled during her years as co-owner of a Southern coffee chain, including the bevy of hidden details that accompany the every day activity of a culinary business.
San Francisco critic Michael Bauer took a look back at his choices for top ten restaurant over the last two decades. Starting with his first list in 1993, Bauer examined just how many of his picks were still in business, talking briefly about the effects of the ebb and flow of the economy over the years. Surprisingly, 63% of the critic’s faves remain in operation.
Needless to say, with an average lifespan of five years or less, running your own food service business is not an undertaking to be taken lightly.