Uncomfortable Truths for the Aspiring

Following your dreams and being your own boss might sound good on paper, but there is a fair amount of dirty work that goes on behind-the-scenes of every successful business. F&B outlets are no different. Here are three (slightly uncomfortable) things that you might want to remember as you embark on your journey.


Everything is your job and everything is your problem

When working in a large, structured company, you might have had the luxury of “taichi-ing” work that was out of your job scope, but as an F&B outlet owner, that will need to change.

Whether it is preparing ingredients, mopping the floor or taking out the trash: if it needs to be done, you need to be able to do it – especially at the early stages of your business when you don’t have the headcount.

And don’t think you’ll escape even after the business takes off! There are bound to be times when things go wrong – someone calls in sick last minute, for instance – and you need to step in to do the work yourself.


Anything and everything can go wrong

Embrace the fact that no amount of planning can prevent things from going wrong. Customer complaints will come in, appliances will break, suppliers will mess up. This doesn’t mean you should abandon the plan entirely and just “wing it”. Rather, understand that you can’t control everything, make your backup plans but be able to let go when the time arises.

A good method is to ask yourself how much the problem will matter in the long-run. For example, a demanding customer or an incompetent staff may grate at your nerves today, but not tomorrow – exploding at the person may only prolong your battle and infuriate you further. Let go, keep your eyes on the big picture and remember that no matter how frustrating and problematic the day is, life will still go on tomorrow.


You can’t eat passion

No doubt, it is important to have passion. It is important to do things with heart, and not always just for the money. But at the end of the day, you need to be able to turn a profit in order to survive.

This means you need to monitor your numbers – don’t get caught up in the excitement of decorating the outlet and purchasing the biggest and best equipment. Also, don’t get sentimental about items on the menu or a location you have “fallen in love with”. Check your budget, consider the pitfalls you might face, and cut costs in the areas that are not essential or urgent!