New restaurant conundrum

Joined Mar 3, 2016
So, I've joined a new venture as manager, and I was hired basically due to my vast experience and ability to open new venues.
The owners have no experience in restaurant, but have a successful business in food court outlets.
We are in a very prime tourism strip with many other great restaurants and we're not directly competing menu wise - everyone on the strip wants ALL the restaurant venues to be open and working well.
The owners are reluctantly willing to accept that start up costs money, but understandably want to minimise that, which is a strength of mine.
The problem is they want to open next week and I've implored them not to. The place is just not where I want it to be, not ready for even a soft open. The chef hasn't even come in to set up his brand new kitchen, there is no food, the menu hasn't been tested, I'm very sure there isn't enough plates or "specialty" service plates, there is no POS, no kitchen printer and the list goes on.

I know what I'm going to do, but what would you say?
Joined Sep 9, 2012
Tell them that if they insist on opening then they are setting everyone up for failure and you won't be attached. They won't be able to pay your salary anyway. If the lack of food, a functional kitchen, an ordering system and any other number of things don't concern them, that's a huge issue. Jump ship if they don't budge.
Joined May 5, 2010
If the investors have food court experience they should understand all of your concerns.

What bothers me is they have no other restaurant experience, which, in and of itself, is a big problem.

It is very imperative that you sit down with them and explain all that you have told us here.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Cronker, Most people don't understand the complexities of opening a new restaurant. They think everything just happens and falls into place. Of course you should sit down and tell them how wrong they are. The one and only thing that would save anyone from a bad opening is being in a tourist area. If a tourist gets a bad meal in the past they probably aren't going to come back anyway. In todays world with Yelp and other sites like it, bad reviews can mount up in the beginning that could make tourists not even try it. With other proven restaurants being within a stones throw why take the chance. I have done openings and you never leave anything to chance. In many cases the front of the house tends to think they have all their ducks in a row after a few days. Then a busy Friday or Saturday comes along and the sh-t hits the fan. I can't believe how many managers leave the front of the house to manage it's self. When I managed restaurants I walk the floor all night working with the hostess, seating and stopping at tables talking with customers. The FOH manager should also be stopping by the front line making sure orders are picked up on time and offering help with delivering plates if necessary. When you have a new crew training takes time, doesn't happen overnight. To answer your question. If an owner hires me to open a restaurant, it's done under my instruction. If they want to do it their way they don't need me.....Good luck.........ChefBillyB
Joined Oct 31, 2012
Posts like this confirm my belief in the insanity of some people. Given the situation you describe, how can anyone in their right mind think they are ready to open?  I'm with the others. Either they listen to you or you walk.  One of the phrases I have come to hate in the restaurant business is some variation of  "I know it's not right but we'll make it work".  No, we won't. If we know it's not right, we fix it. Then it works.

Otherwise, we don't do it.  The customers suffer, the employees suffer and the bottom line suffers. 

This is like being on a road trip with a flat tire. You don't keep driving. 
Joined Mar 3, 2016
Thanks for all the supporting thoughts.
I always schedule myself as part of the floor team, as a .5 (as I call it). I never assign myself to a section, because I'm always going to be needed to put out fires, but I seat guests, run meals, clear tables when a waitron is busy, make coffees, process checks, answer the phone during service, run the pass and wash dishes where needed.
I purposely don't have an office.
I genuinely want these people to do well in this venture, and I want to be part of the success, and after a brief phone call last night, I believe they might be coming around to my thinking. I've found out, and the reason the chef hasn't come in to get the kitchen ready is that he feels they are low balling him $$$ wise. The opening now seems impossible which is a very good thing in my opinion.
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