Keith Santangelo is the co-owner of Bourbon Street Bar & Grille in New York, NY. We interviewed him for our upcoming book, Restaurant Owners Uncorked Part II, coming in March. Here said this when I asked him to share his general advice for people interested in owning an independent restaurant…
“If I could give people advice it would be that it seems a lot scarier than it is. And it’s a risk. But a lot of things come with risk. This is something that people are really passionate about. I love the mom-and-pop restaurants, I love independents. Corporations are great too, but what really makes this industry special in my opinion is the individual owners. It’s getting harder for people like that to operate. But it is possible. And I do believe the industry will see it through. I believe people have a lot of fortitude. To me, nothing will ever replace that independent restaurant that really nails it as far as an experience for people going out and having hospitality and dinner and celebrating things together. If you really love those sort of things it can make it all worth it. There are a lot of things that are scary and that are challenges. But the one thing I’ll say to people is, ‘It’s possible. You can do it. Get in there and work. Learn as much as you can.’ If you find the right opportunity, it really can work. A lot of those statistics of the failures include people that have really never worked in the restaurant industry before and maybe have no idea what they’re doing. If you feel like you have a good idea of what you’re doing – I say go for it. Follow the right advice and take the right precautions, but this is a great industry and it can use more creative, genuinely hospitable people to open more places. I really believe that.”
Lots more commentary like this in the book, as well as the back stories of all of the twenty-one owners we interviewed for it. In the mean time, if you like this type of content and haven’t read the original Restaurant Owners Uncorked, it’s here on Amazon.
The Schedulefly CrewWes, Tyler, Wil, Charles and Hank