Big Mistakes of Famous Restaurateurs & What They Learned from Them

Starting out in the restaurant business can really be tricky. A huge percentage of new restaurants do not last long after their first year, which can be disheartening for a lot of new owners who want to be successful.

We are going to be taking a look at three very famous and fantastic restaurateurs for a look at some of their mistakes when they were brand new in the business. These people have all since gone on to have very successful restaurants and careers, which goes to show you that you really can learn from your mistakes.

Phillis Engelbert

First up we have Phillis Engelbert, who co-founded and co-owns The Lunch Room. This is a critically acclaimed restaurant that has been talked about in the New York Times and Spoon University in the past. However, it had its humble beginnings like anything else.

Phillis has said that going into the business without knowing anything about restaurant equipment was, of course, a struggle. She would buy things that weren’t actually needed at that time, which ended up wasting money and space.

This is definitely a great aspect to keep in mind. Even if you think you need the perfect commercial refrigerator or other big item right away, make sure it is what you actually need for your business before spending the money.  Think first, spend later – this is honestly fantastic advice for any part of life.

Niki Nakayama

Next, we have Niki Nakayama, who is the owner of a very famous restaurant in Los Angeles called n/naka. They serve modern Japanese cuisine and offer multiple-course meals as well.

She has stated previously that looking back, her biggest mistake would be not looking into legal negotiations as closely as she should have. This would lead to issues with renting out a building for a restaurant.

A mistake like this can be catastrophic down the road if you don’t consider the repercussions. Make sure to read up on legalities before getting into any sort of agreement with anyone. Luckily for Niki, all is well and she has an incredibly successful restaurant.

Darius Williams

Last but certainly not least, we have Darius Williams. He is the very successful owner of the soul food restaurant Greens and Gravy in Atlanta, Georgia.

He says that his biggest mistake starting out was definitely not being as clear as he should have about his point of view and vision for his restaurant and the food he wanted to make. Over time, he stated that he was able to share more of that with those working with him, enabling his business to thrive and become much more successful.

This is vital because being upfront about your vision in the beginning will speed up the process of bringing together the business you imagined. Definitely an important aspect to keep in mind.

Learning from Mistakes

You are inevitably going to make mistakes when starting out a new restaurant, there really isn’t any way around it.

However, if you are patient with yourself, work hard, and think before acting, you should be well on your way to the start of a fantastic new business.