Chef “Jack”

“I want to open my own restaurant one day…”, the beginner cook tells his peers.

Well, if it were only that easy. If you want to become an independent restauranteur, having passion is a must if going into the venture.

It’s because the restaurant business itself is one of the hardest businesses to operate because of the vast amount of variables that you have to account for. Plus, you’re dealing with products that have a short shelf life. Not only business savvy knowledge is needed to succeed, you also have to always fight against time. Food will always go bad. If you’re not able to sell it, you lose money as it goes in the trash. More on those details later.

Becoming a solo chef restauranteur, you’re not only a chef that cooks, you need to play a ton of roles in the kitchen and know a little bit of every aspect in the kitchen making you the “Jack of all trades”.

Here are the different duties of the chef/solo restauranteur:

  • Cook – obviously.
  • General Manager – manage, train, motivate, the entire restaurant staff (kitchen and front staff).
  • Plumber – in a kitchen clogs happen. When pipes back up during a Friday night dinner rush, you better know what to do otherwise you and your crew are cooking in ankle deep sewage – which is a food safety hazard by the way. You can call the plumber, but you need to know about your own kitchen plumbing to explain to the plumber what’s going on.
  • Accountant – as a business owner, you need to know your numbers to make sure the restaurant is profitable. You can always hire an accountant, but you still need to understand the numbers to make important financial decisions.
  • Mechanic – your kitchen equipment aren’t indestructible so you need to know how to troubleshoot them when they go down.
  • Negotiator – dealing with purveyors, you will need to be able to negotiate on prices to keep your food costs as low as possible.
  • Salesperson – you need to sell your food. This may come naturally if you’re heart is in the food.
  • Engineer – you must be able to engineer various systems and processes for your restaurant to make it run efficient.
  • And more – this is all just the tip of the iceberg.

If your aspirations is to become restauranteur and/or chef, be prepared to become a “Jack of all trades” beyond the duties relative to cooking. The only way you may avoid this is to have an excess amount of capital to hire and delegate these jobs, but even that is a tall order.

“Not only must you master your own technique, you must also understand your¬†opponent’s technique to be able to defend against it…”¬†– Kung Fu Proverb