Restaurant Startup & Growth is a no-nonsense trade magazine about starting restaurants and making them run profitably. The MagSampler.com newsstand generally doesn’t carry trade publications, but we made an exception in this case. A great many people love to think about, read about and watch television shows about food, and it’s my guess that a lot of them fantasize about opening a restaurant of their own. So, our reasoning went, we should stock a magazine that will tell them what’s involved in making such a dream come true.
We’ve received a supply of the April issue of Restaurant Startup & Growth, which is published monthly in Parkville, Missouri. It’s nicely edited, with colorful graphics and serious attention paid to thinking up articles useful to those in the business or contemplating joining it. The articles are usually long and detailed.
The articles in this particular issue are all aimed at existing restaurant operators. There’s “Look Before You Leap,” a lengthy examination of what to consider before you decide to open a second restaurant because your first has been so successful. A piece of trenchant advice applicable to any business contemplating such an expansion: have enough capital set aside to keep the new operation running for a while, avoiding at all costs having to cut back on the successful restaurant to keep the new one going.
I liked “Rise & Shine,” a study of the factors involved in adding a breakfast operation to an existing restaurant. Authors Chris Tripoli and Emily Durham catalogue the different kinds of breakfast services available, from “breakfast on the go” operations where you buy a bagel or some other item and consume it after you leave, to sit-down settings catering to business and networking groups. They also note geographic breakfast specialties, such as rancheros in the Southwest and ham and red-eye gravy (or liver and grits!) in the South.
I was surprised to learn that IHOP only does 35% of its business between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., but that 70% of its total sales are “breakfast” items. And that Papa John’s pizza chain is testing breakfast pizzas, scrambled eggs and cheese baked on pizza dough.
There are several nitty-gritty articles in the issue, such as one on preventing and managing roof leaks, a common problem for restaurants because they often have flat roofs with many ducts and pipes penetrating them. There’s another on hand-washing hygiene, which the author feels is sometimes neglected when restaurants focus on having their kitchen staff wear disposable gloves. This issue also investigates the rash of suits against national chains by minority patrons claiming discriminatory treatment.
A nice feature of Restaurant Startup & Growth is a companion Web site that offers all sorts of guidance to restaurant operators. Some of it is free, while other services require membership.