10 years ago when I decided to open my own bar in Tokyo, I was chatting excitedly to a good friend of mine who was running an extremely successful Italian restaurant at the time. I was ranting on non-stop about all the great ideas I had: craft beers on tap, good loud music, wholesome hearty food, vegan options etc., etc.
The whole time she just sat there smiling politely. When I finally stopped to take a breath she asked, “How much will the toothpicks cost?” Not exactly the response I was looking for. “Why do you ask about such a trivial thing?” I replied, probably a bit too defensively. “Well you’re spending too much of your time day-dreaming about what you’re going to do when you open, you have no idea of your costs; your place will not survive the first year if you don’t know your numbers!” To say it left me deflated would be an understatement. I nearly cried!! Of course she was 100% correct.
Sitting down and writing up a good, thorough business plan, studying how you will spend every-single-penny is not exciting. Not even a little bit. However, it is absolutely vital if you want to give yourself a chance of success. Although no-one knows the exact number around 65%of new restaurants close down within the first year.
Don’t become another sad statistic. Be an outlier. Know the cost of your toothpicks!!