Entrepreneurship As An Exit From the Restaurant Industry
Take a minute from the post shift drink at the bar around the corner and ask yourself a question a few honest questions. Please, do so and write the answers down.
- Do I like working the restaurantlife?
- Is that what you want to do for the next 10+ years?
- Does this allow me to live the lifestyle I want to live?
- What happens when I want to away around the holidays or peak season for the city/restaurant I live?
- As I get older will I be able to keep up with the physicality of the job?
Yes, is this what you want to do for the rest of your life? Did circumstance find you and the industry being married together and never had the will to leave? Is it that the idea of working 9-5 M-F is frightening? Do you feel this industry is the game of a young person? Is it too physically demanding or lacking maturity? We are not sure what the reasons are, the list is seeming endless as the questions are as well. Maybe this industry offers something that many years ago appealed to you, however now it doesn’t?
Recently, several colleagues were discussing the merits of going back to college and taking classes to get refreshed on what is going on in their fields of study. While, very good at their jobs, it appears they want a different lifestyle. Are they looking for a new opportunity? Another colleague mentioned about a business he has started and is taking it to the next level hopefully to the point where he can focus solely on the business using entrepreneurship as an exit from the restaurant industry.
This is encouraging news to hear from people that are rethinking the restaurant industry as a long-term career. It is a great industry and teaches valuable lessons on a daily basis. Long-term this is a difficult industry and demanding in many ways; physically, mentally and emotionally.
All jobs are demanding, why so much in a restaurant?
Many jobs are mentally and physically demanding, such as a mechanic or construction worker. What makes the restaurant industry different is the emotional part. Very few industries with the exception of hotels operate in a way that the restaurant business does. In hotels and restaurants you are on an island when working. No contact with the ones you love, only ideas of what is going on. In retail for example, you get a break and can meet family briefly during a holiday, plus many stores are closed on the biggest of holidays (although this is changing). Hence the heavy emotional drain on the restaurant business and hotel business. We however are not writing about the hotel business here, but the restaurant business.
It is very hard to for people in the restaurant business to maintain relationships with those not in the business due to the schedule and lack of certainty about it. It is possible to be called off from work or sent home on slow nights. It is also possible to walk in the building and only have a few tables or guests at the bar. In a high-ticket restaurant that might be all that is needed, however the average FOH employee is not working in a high-ticket restaurant. But, still, someone working in a $50+ PPA restaurant is still facing the same difficulties as someone at a chain restaurant.
Do I Still Want In?
The “in” is long-term. It is a tough question. How long can you survive in this industry? Knowing all the cons, if there a way out for you? Back to the inspiration of this article; what is the next step after the restaurant business? Is being in this industry a means to an end? Are you in this industry to allow free days during the workweek to pursue a greater cause? Does the schedule allow children to avoid going to daycare? Whatever it the answer might be, we want FOH employees to know that you never have to feel trapped in this business and there are opportunities all over to change a few things about your lifestyle, career and life.
What are these outs?
Much like a poker player, there are outs from the business, not all roads lead to a classroom or manager suit. It is possible to build and exit from the industry and have fun doing so! Some can even lead to chasing a passion or trying something new. Here are a few that we think fit the strengths of FOH employees/managers.
SALES AS AN EXIT
Sales is usually considered the classic alternative to working in a restaurant. Usually these jobs have better hours, not to mention insurance, paid vacation and a new opportunity. What type of sales? That is in the eye of the beholder. Cars, Insurance, software? They are out there, find what you are most interested in. We however, do not feel sales is the best jump out of the restaurant industry. The lead generation is difficult in the sales world, client expectations are different and can take some time to master. Unfortunately the sales world doesn’t always give a lot of time. Do not forget that the restaurant business is extremely transactional, where as selling cars or software is not. However do not let this deter one from entering the sales world.
Real Estate As an Exit
Isn’t real estate a sales job? Yes and no, real estate is a people business and being in the FOH, chances are you are a good at that. In real estate one person can lead to many sales much in the way call parties work at a restaurant. Once the word gets out you are a good buyers agent or can sell a house quickly for more money, your fate is sealed. Real estate is more about building a business and has the independence FOH employees are used to. As a bonus, it offers the flexibility of easing in and learning a little while still working, transitions can be tough. It can be a great side business/hustle for a few months/year. Commissions are generally fair, check the median price in your area and then find someone who is looking to buy/sell soon (it can even be yourself). Questions about real estate as an agent or an investor? Visit Biggerpockets or Invest Four More on the web. Want to read or listen to a book? Gary Keller, one of the founders of Keller-Williams Realty wrote an incredible book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent about building a real estate business.
BLOGGING (in its many forms) AS AN EXIT
As alluded to previously, a great way to escape the restaurant is to slowly transition out (use schedule flexibility to your advantage) by blogging and monetizing the blog. The great thing is that blogging is more than a WordPress site, blogging can be podcasting, a YouTube channel, Facebook fan page or any combination of the latter. Podcasting has re-emerged as a popular medium for getting the word out and as a bonus it doesn’t involve writing, only talking!
What About A Topic, Where to Start?
The downside to this, is yes a topic. Want to write about working in a restaurant? Probably not a good idea, one would have to remain anonymous and that is tough. Have a hobby, passion or interesting story to tell (changing lifestyle)? This is a great place to start! Finding a topic is material all on its own. It will come. Once it does, a place is needed to publish all of this information no matter what medium being used. A podcast and traditional blog are best posted to a website. We currently use Bluehost, however Hostgator has a little more flexibility and a one penny first month of hosting! Both have great tutorials on getting started and how to setup a blog. For a quick intro to podcasting and gear recommendations, Podcast Answerman has a combination of free and paid resources for starting a podcast including gear/setup.
Isn’t network marketing a pyramid scheme? Maybe yes and maybe no. Take it for what it is, network marketing is a business model that especially with 21st century technology is a fantastic way to make some extra cash or find a way out of the restaurant business or any other job that doesn’t fit life anymore. In this business, you have to opportunity to build a business that produces income, passive income. Every time someone signs up and then starts to build their business, you get paid! This post in not going into detail about the model, but there are hundreds of companies out there distributing their product through independent consultants.
One example of a network marketing product is essential oils. These oils are a great alternative to some medicines, energy drinks and even air fresheners. Oils are popular with people looking for a more natural lifestyle or health/wellness. An example of a independent consultant’s site is Getting Oily. This person has setup an automated way to grow a business and discuss the ways oils benefit everyday life. There are thousands of products out there, as with blogging, find one that is interesting and give it a shot, joining these companies can cost very little.
These businesses can be built only putting in 3-5 hours a week and are perfect for those that are used to talking with people and making conversation. It is worth taking a look into and teaches the skills needed to be a success as an entrepreneur while having a product to sell.
Be An Entrepreneur and Exit The Restaurant Industry!
Many of the above ideas have an underlying theme: entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship can take on many different forms. The principles are generally the same, the process changes. Being in the restaurant industry as a manager, bartender, server or host offers many of the skills needed to be a success! Remember to surround yourself with people that think similarly and think out loud with them to build something special!
Want to start the exit?
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