There’s no question about it: A hopping restaurant can be a big money-maker. You’ve heard of bakeries rolling in dough? Try opening a restaurant with a markup of 300 percent to 400 percent on the food you buy. This can be a pretty lucrative deal. But restaurants are also – to put it one way – one of the biggest headaches in business, given the size of the average investment and the number of hassles that come your way.
While new restaurants can be well-financed businesses backed by investors or corporations – a fancy new eatery in a fancy new hotel, for example – the average restaurant is still a basic mom and pop dream come true. Someone in the family loves to cook and has two or three killer recipes they’ve been using for years to thrill their kids or guests at their home. They start dreaming big and one day take the plunge. But the headaches – remember them. There are endless regulations from health departments to building inspectors to the local fire department that ensure public safety and guarantee owners of a small, under-funded restaurant goes home each day with a migraine. Start-up costs are considerable. Then you have to hire a staff of dishwashers and waiters, many of whom might be taking those positions as their first job. Reliability is key to serving consistently good food to customers, but it isn’t always the case with a team of waitresses just out of high school. So what’s to do? (If you are having trouble finding out what to do, try a new software package that helps in this department.) Well, there are many other business models you can use that put your culinary skills to work without the 3,000 headaches of owning a sit-down restaurant.
Especially in the age of the Internet, new business models are finding their way to the fore all the time. While brick-and-mortar eateries rely on customers walking in the door, there are many other options to choose from, especially today.
Of course, don’t be dismayed if you are old-school. Revenue models haven’t changed much and online businesses make use of the same economic formulas that your grandparents used back in the day. Buying wholesale, taking advantage of scaled purchasing (buying in bulk at better rates), direct purchasing and other tricks of the trade are still in vogue. Affordable American Containers tells you right up front how to advantage their deals from buying direct to buying in bulk to purchasing factory seconds. They want to stay in business the same as you do, so selling factory seconds makes more sense than tossing out the slightly-flawed products. Money is money, after all.
So, here are some options for monetizing your culinary expertise even if you have no intention of setting up shop on Main Street and living the life of a beleaguered restaurant owner:
Food trucks are all the rage for many reasons. They fit the U.S. fast-paced culture by bringing food right to the customer, but they represent a restaurant business without chairs, tables, floor space, silverware, dishes, waiters and waitresses, and many other brick and mortar problems. Yes, they still get inspected by the health department, but you can drive to a scenic location or to a music festival and make a living. Works for many.
YouTube Your Way to Fame
If you love to cook, you can try your hand at putting your talents in front of a camera. You can either teach cooking or share recipes without having to leave your own kitchen. You can also work from home with the satisfaction that you are helping many other people eat well, enjoy what they prepare, save money by cooking at home, etc. If you become popular enough, you can monetize your efforts in many ways with everything from selling logo-emblazoned aprons to writing a cookbook.
Speaking of cookbooks, one of the most deceivingly difficult books to write and produce is a cookbook. This is a matter of creating exacting steps to creation, but also creating a consistent theme that resonates with the public. Who needs another bread cookbook, am I right? Well, if you find just the right angle, another bread cookbook would be widely appreciated. Finding a niche is where it’s at.
What if you ran a food truck, but the food truck never moved. That’s right. Coffee, ice cream, hamburgers and many other foods are cooked in a restaurant without seating, with food passed through a serving window to the customers outside. Well, the sky’s the limit. Yes, you probably want to go with quickly prepared (or pre-prepared) fare, because customers don’t want to stand for 20 minutes while their meal is being made … but you can still do away with dishes, cutlery, waiters, and tables if you simply serve through a window to customers waiting nearby.