Can you run a restaurant by yourself?

The short answer is no.

The slightly longer answer is that you don’t want to.

Ultimately, it is probably possible to run your restaurant by yourself, but it likely won’t be sustainable for long. Running a restaurant is hard work. If you haven’t tried it yet, then you might think that if you just have a strong work ethic and hold strong under pressure, you’ll be fine. And maybe you will, for a while.

Many people also seem to think that the only thing holding them back from dreams of successfully running a restaurant is capital – financial backing. That can get you in the door (literally) but isn’t enough to keep you going, even if you have a fantastic, low-cost idea.

  1. Long Hours

Running your restaurant takes more time than just being available during your open hours. You’ll need to come in early to get things running, clean, prepare food and dishes. You’ll need to stay late to clean up, re-stock, wash dishes, and set up for the next day. If you serve all three meals, you’ll find yourself in the restaurant before dawn and not leaving until well after dark. Every day. Do you want to devote far longer-than-average days to your restaurant?

  1. Meal-Time Rush

Once you have a steady stream of patrons coming in to eat or order food, can you sustain the operations by yourself during peak meal-time rush without extending waiting times past what might be considered reasonable?

  1. Front-Of-House

The duties required here are greeting patrons, seating people, taking orders, and serving food.

  1. Back-Of-House

Washing dishes, cooking, and plating food are all activities that occur in the kitchens. These are things customers don’t usually see, but often take more time and effort.

  1. Office Work

You’ll also need to make time for ordering, working with suppliers, handling finances and more. 

  1. Equipment Maintenance

If an oven or fridge breaks down, you’ll not only need to budget money for maintenance, but also time for fixing what you can.

  1. Food Inventory

You’ll need to keep track of what food is used and in what quantities so you can know what to order and when. You don’t want an excess of food that will be wasted, but you don’t want to run out and turn customers away, either.

  1. Menus and Publicity

If you want to create official menus, posters, flyers or advertisements, you will need to make time for design and printing.

  1. Phones

Taking phone calls takes time. Even if it’s a simple question about when you open or whether you have gluten-free options, every few minutes adds up. It also involves being interrupted while you’re working.

  1. Cost of Business

Last but not least, you do need money to operate your restaurant. You’ll have to carefully keep track of your expenses and revenue to make sure you’re keeping the restaurant profitable.

This list isn’t exhaustive; there are even more things to do and keep track of than are represented here. There are things you can automate with technologies to some extent (like your phone, which we can help with!), but for many things you’ll just need more people to help out. Either way, it won’t take long before you’ll need assistance running your restaurant!