Why having a mentor when becoming a restaurant owner is crucial to your success

Kyle Cairns
Film Producer | Dynamis
29th November 2019

Collaboration is one of the most common characteristics of a successful restaurant business. They’ve learned from others’ mistakes and embraced experience.

Owning a restaurant can be a ticket to a truly rewarding and profitable career; especially when you’re sure you’ve found the right restaurant. However, there are some things to consider.

A restaurant is far less likely to fail if it avoids some of the pitfalls that come from a lack of experience or adequate expectations of what it takes to be successful. This is where having a mentor comes in.

Why choose a mentor

Becoming a restaurant owner represents a serious challenge. Managing the promotion, menu, stock and staff requirements of a restaurant can be a lot to take on for a first-time business owner.

Putting aside the issues of experience and knowledge, it can be a huge source of relief to have a confidante and source of support to draw upon in your first year. Anything that can give you the confidence you need during that crucial period will reap real rewards.

Avoiding pitfalls

There’s actually a number of common mistakes new restaurateurs make in their first year. Knowing the mistakes ahead of time can make a difference: train your staff, don’t overcomplicate your menu, don’t forget your licenses and so on.

However, as you may have already realised, some of these are easier said than done. You know to train your staff, but how? What constitutes an over complicated menu? What licenses does your premises actually need?

Having an experienced restauranteur as a mentor can help guide you through these mandatory processes. How you respond to these challenges are foundational to your business’ success in its first year; having a bit of help and a second opinion on hand can help ensure these plans are solid before you implement them.

Peace of mind

It goes without saying that managing a restaurant can be a considerable source of stress. As the owner of the business, your team will be looking to you for leadership. Ultimately, the final decision for most things will fall to you. When things go wrong, you’ll be expected to know how to proceed. That’s a lot to deal with.

Having someone to give you confidence, to hear your vented frustrations, and provide counsel when you’re feeling lost will help you through some of the more difficult situations. Additionally, they can help provide check and balance to your own decisions, leaving you more certain of your choices whilst avoiding bad ones.

Keeping your mentor on hand will allow you a private source of advice and support, leaving you in a better position to lead your team.

Growing your network

Networking is a huge part of having a growing a business in any instance. The ability to collaborate and get your business in front of other industry professionals is a solid way to quickly legitimise your brand.

However, in the case of the restaurant business, it is even more beneficial. A mentor can give you a good steer on what kind of relationships to build, and even put you in touch with their own contacts.

This is so important given how dependent restaurants are on solid produce suppliers, butchers, equipment outlets, event managers – the list goes on. Your business, more so than most, needs to be ready to operate efficiently at max capacity on any given day. Having a roster of quality contacts, you can rely upon to keep your business running is vital.

In addition, finding other emerging brands or event management companies can help you host collaborations or special events. Restaurants that can throw a good Christmas party or host a Halloween event are highly sought after.

Building these relationships can take time and a degree of trial and error; however, having a mentor can make this process all the easier. From marketing, to suppliers, and contractors you’ll be pleased to have someone to turn to when you need a job done.

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