The survival rate of new restaurants is slim to none nowadays, and just about anything from poor food, to sloppy service, to ill-favored decor can be the kiss of death. BUT there are precautions you can take to improve the odds, so do your homework and read up on some tips straight from the experts.

Have A Plan

“It’s way more romantic to think you can open a restaurant by the seat of your pants, but in reality, planning goes a long way. A business plan takes a ton of guesswork out of the startup process.”

Michael Curcio of Pyrogrill and Ray Sidhom of Four Food Studio


Stick to the Recipe

“A lot of restaurant owners or managers will deal with each task individually. Thinking through processes and standardizing is the key to saving time and resources. Write it down, and refer to the steps until it’s natural. This applies most to staff situations too. There is nothing worse than attempting to manage a bunch of individuals trying to do the same thing, each in their own way.”

David Koji of DineAbility


Be A Team Player

“Be willing to do the jobs of other people at your restaurant. Spend a few hours a week welcoming customers or working the reservation desk. Fill in for a server in an emergency. Show your staff you’re part of the team.”

Scott Maitland of Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery


Trust Your Employees

“Early on I realized that I had to hire people smarter and more qualified than I was in a number of different fields, and I had to let go of a lot of decision-making. I can’t tell you how hard that is. But if you’ve imprinted your values on the people around you, you can dare to trust them to make the right moves.”

Howard Schultz of Starbucks


Trust Yourself

“When creating or shaping your restaurant, think about what would attract you as a customer. Be honest with yourself – would you choose your restaurant over the competition? Until you can say “yes,” keep adjusting according to your own personal dialogue.”

Danny Abrams of The Mermaid Inn


Like Danny Said, Be Honest

“Sometimes these things that you care about so much, you look at them and go, “It’s just not working.” You’ve got to be honest with yourself. If you hear a pattern of things, especially early on, about things not working, you have to look at that and make a decision as to whether or not you should stick with it.”

Tom Colicchio of Craft Restaurants


Keep Your Enemies Close

“You have to know who you are up against. The best thing is to make sure you create a unique niche in the industry before you go forward.”

Steele Platt of Yard House


Learn How To Handle Stress

“Stress as a restaurant owner will never subside, don’t kid yourself! Learn some mechanisms to handle stress – create a strategy to stay on top of your mental and physical health.”

Damien Scoditti of Brio Downtown


Patience Really is a Virtue

“You can’t learn everything in a year or two. You have to learn the basics. It’s amazing how little people know!”

Wolfgang Puck of Cut


Laugh A Little

“Especially when dealing with customer complaints or more stressful issues at your restaurant. Knowing how to smile and not take things too seriously keeps a positive vibe. The customer avoids a tense situation, and you deflect some of the pressure from yourself.”

Nicholas Lander, Restaurant Correspondent for the Financial Times


Celebrate the Successes

“As chefs, we are our own worst critics, and we criticize ourselves to death. We don’t often champion our successes so sometimes we have to take a step back, have a glass of champagne and say, ‘look at what we’ve done.'”

Thomas Keller of French Laundry


Stay Hungry

“Hungry means to try to learn more, always try to work hard, try to understand more from others, don’t be afraid to ask questions, make mistakes and learn from your mistakes.”

Nobu Matsuhisa of Nobu

Know any other restaurant success tips? Let us know @gosirvo.