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Restaurant Success by the Numbers: A Money-Guy's Guide to Opening the Next Hot Spot Paperback – June 1, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

As definitive a perfectly planned guide as ever written . . . as essential to a restaurant's success as food.
-Food Industry News


"A must-read, not only for those thinking about opening a restaurant, but for those already in the business as well. Combining his financial and analytical expertise with his clear, casual writing style, Roger shows how to balance entrepreneurial spirit with sound business judgment. If only I'd had this book before opening my own restaurant, I would have saved myself tons of time, money, and headache!"
-Mary Canales, owner, Ici Ice Cream

From the Publisher

* A one-stop guide to opening a restaurant from a successful accountant-turned-restaurateur.
* Includes real-life stories from the author's experiences opening four different restaurants, as well as from thriving restaurateurs around the country.
* Walks readers through all logistics of opening a restaurant: creating a concept, choosing a location, designing a menu, establishing an ambiance, staffing, and turning a profit.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580086632
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580086639
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am in the process of starting a sports bar and grille. I have every book I can get my hands on in reference to this topic (including those useless "complete idiot" and "dummy" books). Although this book is geared toward restaurants (and not bars), the book is priceless and chock full of powerful information that anyone going into the restaurant and/or bar business needs to have. The nice part about this book is that it is based off of the author's personal experience and not on a pile of theoretical clap-trap as in most other "how to" books. What I like most about this book is that it goes into detail about the author's individual "case study" experience in reference to a wide variety of directly important restaurant start-up and management topics that allow the reader of the book to use in his or her own restaurant and/or bar experience. If you can only get one book on starting a restaurant (or only have time to read one, as in my case), get this one. It's the only one you really need. It cuts to the chase, gives you the information you need based on REAL experience from the author, and quickly gets down to the nitty-gritty in helping you execute and run your own successful restaurant enterprise.
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Restaurateurs depend on the fact that we all have to eat, and we choose the restaurants that provide us what we want at prices we find attractive. Simple, huh? Far from it. This handy book provides the technical and financial materials that you will need if you are actively planning, dreaming about, or wondered about opening an eatery. I urge you to read this book before you commit yourself or your money to anything specific.

Roger Fields is a CPA who has also opened successful restaurants, sold them, and closed a couple that didn't live up to expectations. His being a numbers guy is very helpful, because most restaurant people come at it from the food and aesthetic side of things. However, this is much more than a numbers book. I don't want to scare you off. The point is, you do need to think about the numbers because the better you get at them, the easier it will be to understand what you need to tweak and measure to give your major investment the best opportunity for success.

The book's 15 chapters are divided into three parts. The first part is "Dreaming for Success" and gives you the basics on evaluating your idea for the restaurant and how to see if you dream has a chance in the real world before you fork over your life's savings. The second part takes up 6 chapters and about half of the book. It is on "Developing the Details" and takes you through the down to earth factors such as menu construction, the practical side of ambiance, what you are going to provide on the table, the bar, and staffing.
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Roger Fields knows his stuff, and he presents it in a smart, readable way. I've looked at many books on starting a restaurant and this is the best I've read. I'm a business guy, so I appreciated the details on estimating income and expenses, and forecasting break-even. The book also has lots of great information on developing a concept, getting financing, building out your space, developing the menu, and marketing to customers. I do wish there was more info on how to properly staff -- how to manage shifts, account for no-shows, etc.
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I recently read an article about a number of professional people who were thinking about going into the restaurant business as a 'sea change' after watching a cooking 'reality show' that gradually eliminates the contestants as the weeks progress. Apparently, according to this article, some people do attempt opening up their own restaurant after spending some time day-dreaming about it.

Author Roger Fields was once a Certified Practicing Accountant who changed from accounting to managing restaurants and he writes about his experiences in completing that change.

In this book the author aims to bring such dreamers firmly back to reality by making some early jabs like: 'An Even Brighter Future'; 'Do the Math'; 'The Romance of it All'; 'The X Factor' and 'If Only I'd Known Then'. These sections are early flags to the wistful dreamer to read...Chapter One commences by observing: "...far too many still get into the business because of the romantic aspects..."

From here the author takes the reader through the hard yards of establishing a restaurant, focusing on such topics as: Establishing what your restaurant will provide in terms of food-a speciality restaurant, fine eating, or just a plain eating place. He then looks at other critical considerations like where you will locate, the type of clientele you hope to attract, decor of the business, setting out how many tables and layout, furniture, crockery, table settings, glassware and establishing the kitchen.

Other considerations are training the staff who will work there, security of money, prevention on theft, wastage, portion sizes, food concepts, do you need a chef? Together with other considerations to give you the competitive edge.
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