7 Smart Restaurant Moves for Women Owners

According to reports from the National Restaurant Association, more than 50 percent of restaurants are now owned by women. As more women enter the restaurant industry as owners, they have a distinct set of challenges that their male counterparts don’t face. Women restaurant owners also have some distinct advantages, from funding sources to the ability to connect with employees on a genuine and authentic basis. In an industry with a high failure rate, here are seven smart moves female restaurant owners can make both before opening day and afterwards, to ensure a successful restaurant business for years to come.

1) Make Sure Owning a Restaurant Is Right for You

The first thing any women who is thinking of opening a restaurant should do is be clear on why she wants to. Owning a restaurant is often a fun daydream for people who like to cook or who are unhappy in their day job. For those that do take the leap into ownership, the reality is often more than they can handle. Owning a restaurant requires a lot of work. The daily grind can be wearing on a person, if they aren’t prepared. This is one of the reasons that three out four restaurants close within the first three years.

It becomes too much for one person to handle. As flexible and nimble as most working women are, running a restaurant requires wearing many hats from chef, to bookkeeper, to HR director to janitor. Everyone is looking to you as the owner, to solve the many problems that come up each day. You want to make sure that you are up for the challenge of being a female entrepreneur in a high stress business.

2) Hone Your Business Skills

Many people want to start their own restaurant because they love cooking and/or they love entertaining. Owning a restaurant is way more than both of those things. It is first and foremost a business, which needs to make a profit. Restaurant finances can be complex. There are many rules and regulations that need to be followed, taxes that have to be paid, insurance premiums required, etc. Therefore, any women who want to open a restaurant should have a basic grasp of cash flow, profit and loss statements and other financial tools that will help them make sound business decisions.

If you don’t already have these skills, there are many online courses or adult education community classes that can help prepare you to be a business owner.

3) Know How to Handle Conflict

Women in leadership roles have distinct advantages over their male counterparts. They are often more empathetic and nurturing with their employees, building a family-like atmosphere. This is all good, until hard decisions have to be made like cutting positions or firing someone who has a poor performance record. Women are conditioned by society to be soft and nurturing and when they do exert power they are labeled as bossy or unreasonable or worse. Women restaurant owners need to find a balance between their natural empathy for others and doing what is best for their business. They also need to be uncomfortable not pleasing all people all the time. For example, if you fire an employee, they probably aren’t going to like you anymore. A good leader knows this and doesn’t let that knowledge interfere with running their business. Like financial skills, there are lots of resources for developing your inner leader. Contrary to popular belief, leadership is not always a natural characteristic that one is either born with or without. It is a talent that can be cultivated and grown over time.

Read More

The Balance Small Business. “7 Smart Restaurant Moves for Women Owners.” Mealey, Lorri, 23 June 2017. <https://www.thebalancesmb.com/smart-moves-for-women-restaurant-owners-4143135>.

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