Tips for Running a Restaurant Without Quitting Your Day Job

October 13, 2019


In the world we are living in, most people want to be their own bosses and start their own business. However, starting your own restaurant comes with many challenges- labor costs are rising, customers are more aware of food resources, diners demand a dining experience, and the list goes on. Not to mention that if you plan to keep your full-time job while running your restaurant, it will require a lot of time and effort.

We know it is not easy to handle both, your daily job and your own restaurant. Nevertheless, it is risky to retire and leave your full-time job for your business- particularly, if you know that 30-40% of the existing restaurants in Kuwait face closure in 2019 and 2020. Your restaurant concept might need some time to prove itself before you can afford to leave your job. Accordingly, we found it necessary to give you some tips for running a restaurant without quitting your day job.


3 Reasons Why you shouldn’t quit your full-time job to start a restaurant:

1. Having the Wrong Reason to Start the Business:

Most entrepreneurs may fail before they begin because they do not state the right reasons to start their own business. You need to think carefully about what value you could provide customers with and why they should care about your restaurant.

2. Having the Wrong Focus:

The business runs on sales, marketing, and automation. You need to focus on how you can sell your menu to your customers and how you can get your restaurant visible to potential customers. Offer meals that customers would be interesting to eat.

3. Having the Wrong Skills:

You have to develop the skills that drive your business. You should master your mindset in order to succeed. To be a successful manager of your own restaurant, you need to think differently about the way you used to when you were a team member.


Tips for running a restaurant without quitting your day job:

1. Set your goals, ideas, strengths, and interests and make the commitment:

As you plan for your new business, it is necessary to evaluate both short-term and long-term goals. And by goals, we mean that you need to construct a clear understanding to decide whether you want to keep your job on another organization as a part-time job or will quit your current job shortly after you start and develop your restaurant. This will give you an overall idea of how much time and money you must or need to invest in your new restaurant.

When you decide to run a restaurant besides your day job, you need to know that it will be hard in many ways where you need to make big sacrifices. You have to list all the commitments you will have and assign enough time for each. Sort out these commitments to know where your strengths and weaknesses are and start developing yourself to fulfill the skills and assets your business requires.


2. Define Your Target Market and Have A Clear Picture Of Your Target Audience:

In order to save a lot of time and money when promoting your restaurant, you need to have a clear understanding of your target audience and define your target market. You need to know that no restaurant concept is appropriate for everyone, and thinking so is the first step to waste costs and destroy a winning concept. Separate your audience according to their age, gender, location, dining behaviors, and income levels

You should perform a competitive analysis to check prices, target customers, marketing campaigns, marketing materials, and your competitors’ website and then make your business plan accordingly, concerning choosing a location, creating a winning menu, and hiring the right employees. You can analyze your target audience by conducting online surveys or one-to-one interviews.

Jennifer R. Glass, CEO at Business Growth Strategies International, said, “[Another] issue is knowing whether or not there is a need and can the business be successful. Only the market can really tell, and this requires lots of doing, measuring and repeating to see what happens, I often advise my clients to look at what they’re doing and only try out one new program/idea at a time in marketing their business so as to not confuse the metrics.”

According to the level of commitment, you will need to make your business successful while continuing to work full-time in your job, you should make sure that your business idea is a good one before starting your business. Your business idea may look great in your mind; however, you have to ensure that it is financially viable and customers would buy it. You have, at first, to choose the right thing to sell and to have a look at the market trends and the prices. It is advisable to hire a consultant if needed.


3. Find Out what Options You Have:

Once you have identified your target customer and developed your skills, it is time to find out what option will work for you. You can break into the restaurant business through four options:

  • Buy into a franchise
  • Buy an existing business
  • Start your own business
  • Start a pop-up restaurant


All of the above options have their pros and cons, however, to sum up, it is less risky to invest in a franchise or an existing business since you invest in proven business models. However, in many cases, starting your own restaurant or pop-up restaurant are often the most affordable option. Moreover, starting your own business gives you complete freedom to create your vision and establish your concept.

Setting up a pop-up restaurant as a side business allows you to keep costs down, limit your time investment, and keep your full-time job. Whereas buying in an existing business can mean stepping into the task of managing a working enterprise rather than having to build it from the ground.  Nevertheless, when you choose to buy into a franchise option, the brand will do all the setup for you, including labor arrangement.


4. Think of an Appropriate Restaurant Name:

As was published in Arab Times about the restaurant industry in Kuwait, “It is enough to look at the names of some restaurants to know that the owner is not a professional and when they ‘stumble’ they scream for support from the government.”

Your restaurant name is often the first thing potential customers will see or hear and that leaves the first impression on your target audience. The right name plays a role in your brand’s perception. So think of a catchy and unique name, and, most importantly, a name that tells the right story of your business.


5. Look for the Right Location:

Ensuring that your restaurant location can attract and retain a steady flow of traffic is critical to your restaurant’s success. When choosing your restaurant location, keep the following in mind:

  • Choose a location that attracts your target customer. Thee location when you are targeting students is different from that when you are targeting young professionals.
  • Consider the competing restaurant near you.
  • Choose a location where you can get a huge crowd with optimal rents. One of the single most important things for restaurant owners to consider is access and parking for customer vehicles.


6. Have A Good Marketing Plan and Spread the word:

Marketing is an essential component of your business. You need to build a solid marketing plan. Regardless of the stage of your business, if you want to maintain a position in the market you need a strong marketing strategy. Decide how you will promote your business prior to launching. The digital world today offers you many opportunities to promote your restaurant.


7. Monitor your Business:

When you are not physically at the restaurant, you will need to monitor how the business is going on. You may consider using local CCTV providers and get footage on your laptop or your smartphone, which helps you track your restaurant in real-time directly from your office. However, it might be a one-time cost; you will avoid many troubles.


8. Invest in Automation and Digitize your Restaurant’s Operation:

Running all the operations of your restaurant will restrict your time, sleep and social hours. Accordingly, try to automate most of your startup core processes.

Automate the operations you find difficulty processing. Look for solutions to digitize tasks that eat more time such as customer service, accounting, social media marketing, inventory management, ordering process. You may try Lean Restaurant Solutions. Our digital cloud-based systems will definitely streamline your restaurant’s operations, giving you full control over every process anytime and from anywhere.


9. Be Patient and Give Your Business Time to Succeed:

Your new business will take time to really build up steam; even Rome was not built in a day.

“My best tip is to give it time, so often, new business owners get frustrated when they aren’t getting results as quickly as they think they should. Businesses take time to build. Many times I’ve seen owners quit right before their breakthrough.” said McKinzie Bean, blogger, and entrepreneur at MomsMakeCents.com. “When you are getting started, commit to a certain time period where you are going to give it your all no matter what,” she added. “Maybe it is six months, a year, three years — the time period is up to you, but don’t give up too early.”

Be patient. Do not expect your business will be successful overnight. Give yourself and your business enough time. Proper management and dedication are all that you need to surely succeed with your business idea.