Dear Abby via LinkedIn

I recently answered a question on LinkedIn. I’d like to share the answer with you. Are you Old enough to remember dear Abby?

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Dear Abby,

I’m thinking of starting a restaurant. Any advice?

Frog reply:

As everyone says planning is crucial.

Our best startups know EVERY aspect of their plan. This is bigger than planning a wedding. – am or pm side of road or destination? Square footage ? how many employees per shift.? How many table turns? Most profitable menu items? advertising and marketing plans? Have domains and social media going. Will landlord pay for buildout? My best advice is learn on the dime from others and study what they do well and what they don’t.

LI appears to show you are fairly new to field. Get all the experience you can plus play in a commissary and doing catering or Farmer’s Markets in meantime to “scratch that itch.” There are also foodtrucks you can rent pop up style to test a day or two. But before that start compiling a strong library of food photos for social media. Start a FB and Instagram (free) and work on creating a cult following. Work with local 5013C not for profits and offer free catering (they provide ingredients). Pick groups who would never be able to afford catering so you’re not sinking your own potential market. Then exchange for photo ops and press opportunities. You can build a great portfolio and marketing library.

When you’re closer give me a call and I’ll help play Devil’s Advocate. There is a group called SCORE who provides free mentoring and get as much as you can. They are retired CEOs with a lot of experience

But returning to that marriage euphemism – don’t let anyone talk you into eloping. The more successful entrepreneurs are experienced and well thought out risk takers who are over capitalized.

Money, money, money to quote the ABBA song. My serial entrepreneurs budget for 6 month build out time Then there’s marketing and salaries food and wine budget. Now is the time to look at your personal credit and clean it up. If it’s clean then open your corp and let it percolate; get your Duns and massage it.

We are renegades in the industry as we cater to startups from a purely entrepreneurial side. I will gently turn away business if people are not ready. It is not unusual for members of our team to get me to speak with a potential start up. For us, it’s not about profit on every single client but also hoping that clients are going to be successful.

Relax. Have fun. Startup is a blast.