Friday, March 20, 2020

The Perks of Being a Restaurant Owner...and the Hidden Downsides #diningout #entrepreneurship

During the current coronavirus pandemic, most restaurants across the United States are closed to dining-in customers...providing delivery, takeout, and drive-through services instead. It's definitely an uncertain time for the restaurant industry as a whole. If you're financially able, I strongly encourage you to support your favorite restaurants! Have your favorite foods delivered to your home...or maybe purchase a gift card to use later. Perhaps you've considered owning a restaurant in the future. Today, The Weekend Gourmet's correspondent shares some positive aspects of owning a restaurant. They also acknowledge the challenges of restaurant ownership -- including dealing with the impact of an ongoing national disaster. This article may contain affiliate links.

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels
Do you love watching the Food Network and consider yourself a foodie, creating new recipes in your home kitchen whenever you have the chance? If your friends are always saying your dishes are so amazing that you should open up a professional kitchen, then you might consider making a career change sometime down the road. However you need to be aware of the pros...and cons...of restaurant ownership!

Pro: Making People Happy

Food equates with happiness. Being served a meal that looks as delicious as it tastes is a recipe for pure joy. When the taste buds are alive and enjoying every bite, it’s an experience unlike any other. If you’re able to do this as a restaurateur, then you’re likely going to have repeat customers who seek that pleasurable moment again and again. When you cook quality food, and it’s well-received by the public, it’s an incredible feeling. To bring happiness to someone else is humbling and exhilarating at the same time. In a world where few things are simple, having a positive effect on someone else is truly exceptional.

Pro: Creativity

Do you like to combine ingredients in new ways? If you get a natural high from putting a fresh spin on classic dishes, then you’re going to be a standout in the restaurant industry. Being able to be creative and be recognized for it by happy customers is a major benefit of being a chef. Not all businesses seek innovation -- such as the financial sector. However, when it comes to food? The more unique and creative the dish, the more likely it is to be noticed.
There's also creativity in plating and presenting the food. A recent study even suggested that how you present a dish can make it taste better. Options for plating and presenting food vary widely, and you have the freedom to do what you prefer as the business owner. For example, use contrasting colors on a plate, add edible garnishes, or cut meat horizontally rather than vertically -- all of which help create the best look possible.

Pro: Sense of Community

As a restaurant owner, you’ll get to know other local businesses and start to feel a sense of community with them.  You can contribute to what is happening in the neighborhood and speak up about issues you see. You have a stake in the local community, and you can make a great impact on it!

Con: Physically Taxing

Unfortunately, operating a restaurant can take a toll on the body over the years. That’s surprising to hear for those who think of occupations more well known for their physical strain, such as firefighters and farmers. The physical work is especially hard on the wrists and hands. While occasional hand and wrist pain likely isn’t anything to worry about, constant hand and wrist pain, tingling, and/or numbness can signify carpal tunnel syndrome. If you worry that you have this issue, see your doctor to create a care plan. However, if your symptoms do not improve, one option is carpal tunnel surgery.
As a chef, you’ll work long hours almost every day of the week -- if not every day. Expect to enter the kitchen before the restaurant opens and stay after closing. That’s a long time to spend on your feet, so invest in good orthotics and ask your doctor about comforting foot baths. You’ll also likely get burns on the hands and arms while you’re learning different cooking techniques.

Con: Mental Drain
A restaurant is a fast-paced environment, and meeting everyone’s food preferences isn’t easy. While some customers are good about politely informing you that they need a piece of meat cooked more -- for example -- other customers can be rude and intimidating. Keeping an even tone of voice when speaking with difficult customers is the best strategy, because you don’t want to harm the reputation of your eatery. However, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and lash out in response. It feels great in the moment, but will bring stress later when you have to do damage control.
On the other hand, if you resist telling a rude customer what’s on your mind, then you risk replaying the scene in your head later...and perhaps being disappointed in yourself for what happened. Over time, a bad mood can lead to depression and even interrupt your sleep. It’s no wonder that mental health issues are high in the restaurant business.

Con: Creating Balance

Given the mental and physical strain that comes with working in the restaurant industry, it’s best to maintain a balance between your career and personal life. While it's easier said than done, minimizing the negative aspects and emphasizing the good things about owning a restaurant can make the job very fulfilling.
For example, while you cannot always shorten the workday, you can ensure that you take regular breaks. Doing so will help provide relief for your mind and your body. You can even stretch during your break so your legs don’t cramp up from standing in one place in the kitchen for long stretches. A few simple exercises can do a lot of good for the body.
If you’re not sure quite where to start with how to find balance, ask those who you know in the culinary industry how they stay motivated and happy in their work. Do they do exercises and, if so, what are they? Always see your doctor before beginning a new fitness routine to ensure it is a good fit for you.
Finally, remember why you were interested in a culinary career in the first place. Think back to the dinner parties you hosted at home and the complements you received from the guests for your tasty comfort food. Ask yourself what you can do differently to take the best care of your mind and body. After all, you plan to be a restaurateur for your career, so ensure you’re good to yourself to have the most impact possible on the industry!

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