The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting Your Own Restaurant

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780028641683
  • Publisher: Alpha Books
  • Publication date: 11/1/1901
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Howard Cannon is the author of four books; including, his most recognized books to date, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting Your Own Restaurant© (2001) and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting a Restaurant© - second edition (2005), published world-wide by Penguin Group (USA), Penguin Group (Canada), Penguin Books (England), Penguin Ireland, Penguin Group (Australia), Penguin Books (India), Penguin Group (New Zealand), Penguin Books (South Africa), Alpha Books, Pearson Books, and Pearson Education. His books are cataloged in the Library of Congress of the United States and can be found in bookstores; such as, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, Wal-Mart, Amazon, and other fine retailers, libraries, and educational institutions in more than 76 countries around the globe. Howard Cannon has given hundreds of seminars, keynote speeches, and interviews and has been published in countless magazines, newspapers, blogs and websites worldwide — having been featured on such highly-regarded television, radio, and print mediums as Anderson Cooper, The Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, Fox News, CBS Studios, MSNBC, Canadian Public Radio, My Foodservice News, QSR Magazine, The Independent Restaurateur, Bar & Nightclub Magazine, Pizza Today, and others. Cannon has provided content for an astonishing number of local, regional, national and international print publications, as well. His social media impact reaches far and wide; as he has tens of thousands of followers on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, and has had more than 150,000 people view his YouTube seminars pertaining to restaurants and bars. Howard Cannon is the CEO and Founder of Restaurant Expert Witness and Restaurant Operations Institute, Inc. Since 1987, his experience in state and federal court cases pertaining to restaurant, bar, food and beverage related matters, with both Plaintiffs and Defendants, is unmatched; as he has had clients and projects in every state of the United States, as well as, Canada, Mexico, England, France, Asia, India, Australia, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Philippines — covering nearly every type and style of restaurant and bar - from fast food to fine dining, and encompassing nearly every imaginable food and beverage available around the globe. Restaurant Expert Witness, Howard Cannon can be reached at 800.300.5764 or
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Table of Contents


1. Table for One: Is This for Me?

Why a Restaurant? There Are No “Typical” Days. Wanted: Management Skills. The Great Money and Time Questions. Preliminary Start-Up Costs. Ask Questions. A Story About Service and Risk.

2. Everybody Eats: The State of the Industry.

Some Recent History. An Abundance of Opportunity. Strategies for Success. Restaurant Industry Challenges. If You Are Great, You Will Succeed.

3. Choosing Your Restaurant.

Start from Scratch or Buy an Existing Business? Going It Alone Versus Franchising. Research Is Your Friend: Determining Your Concept. The Concept Design Team. The Concept Decision. The Core Menu Concept. What Type of Service Will You Offer? Who Are You? Picking a Name.

4. Is This Legal?

Business Structure. Uncle Sam's Rules. Local Laws. A Typical Legal Process for Building a Restaurant. Other Agencies. You Have Your Permits, Now What? Your Legal Name.


5. The Plan Is to Plan.

Why Build a Business Plan? Who Reads the Plan? The Basic Business Plan Components. The Financial Plan. Your Business Plan Is a Living Document.

6. Choosing the Right Site.

What Makes a Site Work? How Do You Know Whether the Site Is Right? What Should I Pay? Let's Make a Deal.

7. Shake the Money Tree.

The Three Stages to Financing Your Restaurant. How Do You Get Money? Finding Cash by Looking. Knowledge Is Your Friend.

8. The Preopening Calendar.

The Organizational System. One Year Before Opening. Eight Months Before Opening. Six Months Before Opening. Five Months Before Opening. Four Months Before Opening. Three Months Before Opening. Two Months Before Opening. Thirty Days Before Opening. The Final Two Weeks Before Opening. The Night Before Opening.


9. Whoever Gets the Best People Wins: It's _a People Game.

Determining Your Staffing Needs. How to Find Good Employees. Determining Whether They Are Right. Finish the Job Right.

10. Managing Your Risks.

What's the Worst That Could Happen? The Four Biggest Risk Factors.

11. Basic Accounting: It's More Than Just _Counting the Beans.

Cash-Control Systems. The Power of Restaurant-Based In-Unit Accounting. The Books: Simplify Your Accounting. The Three Most Important Financial Statements. Taxes Can Be Taxing: What You Need to Know. Forms of Payment.

12. Purchasing: It's More Than Buying a Can of Corn.

Choosing the Vendors. Negotiating the Particulars: Wheeling and Dealing. Building Your Purchasing System. Determining How Much to Order. Receiving the Order.

13. Restaurant Marketing 101.

A Tactical Approach. Marketing Rules for a Start-Up Restaurant. Use Your Brain. The Cost of Marketing. Have a Great Grand Opening. Three Long-Term Marketing Questions. Marketing Tips to Consider. The Performance Analysis.


14. Get It Right on the Back End: The Back of the House.

Equipment Needs. Paper or Plastic? The Ware and Tear. Eight Ways to Raise the Bar. Check It Out. The Food Manual. Back of House Organization.

15. Upfront Effort: Setting Up for Service.

The Dining Room. Go with the Flow. Your Service System Guide. Other Stations.

16. Dinner at Your House: Treating Customers Like Guests.

Are You a People Person? Do You Pass the Ho-Hum Test? The Seven Basic Characteristics of Hospitality. The Four Critical Components to Better Hospitality. Hospitality Scorecards. Do-or-Die Hospitality Points of Contact. One Priceless Question to Save Your Business.

17. Operational Execution, Part 1: Quality.

Quality Doesn't Just Happen. Understanding and Dealing with Food Contamination. FIFO: First In, First Out. Hold Times. Bar Safety and Quality. Shelf Life. Product Consistency.

18. Operational Execution, Part 2: Service That Sells.

Service and Hospitality Are Different. Concept Execution Takes Dedication. Speed of Service: Move It or Lose It. Accuracy Is Right. The Register Relationship. Analyzing Service Performance. The Art of Shift Management.

19. Clean Is Your Only Choice.

How Important Is Cleanliness? Find a Clean Freak. Clean as You Go. Never Give Up, Never Ever Give Up.


20. Retaining the People You Have.

Do These People Like You? Where Turnover Originates. When the Boss Gets Fired. The First Twenty-One Days Are Critical. The Role of Development. Simplified Leadership. When Discipline Is Necessary. Positive Feedback.

21. The Art and Science of Sales Building.

Competition Lives. Manage It Up, Not Down. The Crucial Roles of Hospitality, Quality, Service, and Cleanliness. To Build Sales, Focus on Sales. Ideas for Increasing Sales. Suggestive Selling Campaigns. Price Increase Decisions. Restaurant Sales Growth: What Does It Say?

22. A Restaurant Named Profit: Hit the Numbers.

Beware the Dumb Decision. The Sales Coin Has Two Sides. The Consistent Path to Profit. Controlling the Big Two Costs. Beyond the Big Two: Control Other Spending.

23. Double Your Pleasure.

Crossroads. Expansion. Concepts for Quicker Growth. Copy the Blueprint.

24. Restaurant Checklists, Forms, and Guidelines.

Opening Checklist. Operating the Restaurant. Employment Applications. Reference Check Form. Comment Card. Closing Checklist. The Daily Business Review. Shift Schedule. Interview Guide. Secret Shopper Form. Income Statement. Product Inventory and Usage Sheet. Restaurant Site Analysis Worksheet. Invoice Register. Operational Audit Action Plan Form. A Simple Cash Flow Form. Competitor's Scorecard. Deposit Verification Log. One Final Checklist.


Appendix A: Additional Reference Materials.

Appendix B: Restaurant Associations.

Appendix C: Glossary.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2003

    This is the book every restaurant owner needs

    I highly recommend this book to any one who has a restaurant or is considering opening one in the future. Great Read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2002

    Great Read!

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone thinking about opening a restaurant.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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