5 Top Restaurateurs’ Advice for a Successful Restaurant

December 14, 2019
Jeremy Wells

The restaurant industry is extremely difficult. Big surprise there! And, if you want to know what it takes to start and operate a successful restaurant, it probably makes sense to take the advice that has walked that path before and learn from their successes and mistakes.

We’ve curated a short list of advice from some of the top restaurateurs in the world, and the information and inspiration were so good that we just had to share. I hope you find this list helpful.

1. Gordon Ramsay

“Stay on top of the game. Never, ever, take your foot off the gas, and remember, you’re only as good as your last plate.”

Gordon Ramsay

It should come as no surprise that Gordon Ramsay’s top advice is to always be learning and growing. This is great advice for any entrepreneur or business, but especially true in the ever-changing landscape of the restaurant industry.

Mr. Ramsay also does a wonderful job of surrounding himself with very, very talented people. He knows that it takes more than himself to accomplish a goal. In fact, in one of his videos, he speaks about the team behind his restaurant, the culture he’s built, and how every team member takes pride in stepping through the doors.

2. David Chang

“Never stop asking questions.”

David Chang

New York-based chef David Chang, who opened his first restaurant in 2004 at the age of 27, reminds restaurateurs and chefs that they should always be learning, seeking to work at the best places, surrounding yourself with good people, and never stop asking questions.

He also puts a lot of emphasis on reminding people that the restaurant industry is tough, and starting a restaurant is hard work. It’s not for everyone. He says that that young a chef should work at restaurants with incredibly high standards, and not to limit themselves or their expectations.

3. Thomas Keller

“Great restaurants have to be consistent. We can all cook, but consistency is really what defines greatness.”

Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller, an American chef, restaurateur, and winner of multiple James Beard awards believes that consistency is key – and I certainly agree. Having the conviction to be consistent is not a trait you find in many young restaurateurs, because it’s easy to be short-sighted and look for immediate results.

He goes on to say express that anyone can start a restaurant, some may even be “one-hit wonders,” but what’s most important is to have guests that continue to come to your restaurant, have a team that’s continually growing, and have strong relationships with your suppliers.

4. Danny Meyer

“Food and love are so inextricably linked.”

Danny Meyer

Widely considered one of the most influential and successful restaurateurs in the world, Danny Mayer says that restaurants are emotional businesses. The connection between food, love, and life, is more connected than we may believe.

He believes that it’s the unbreakable link that can cause a dissatisfied customer to leave a 14 paragraph review on Yelp. Because it’s not about the overcooked salmon, it’s because they don’t feel loved – it’s personal. It’s emotional.

5. Bobby Flay

“Be overcapitalized and overpatient. It always costs twice the amount of money you think it’ll cost, and always take twice as much time.”

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay is a popular celebrity chef, restaurateur, and tv personality. He is also the owner and executive chef of a number of restaurants from Las Vegas to New York. If anyone knows what it takes to own a successful restaurant, it’s him.

This advice is great, and it really comes back to proper planning. Many new and aspiring restaurateurs severely underestimate how much it takes to open and operate a restaurant and quickly fall into cashflow problems.

This industry isn’t for the faint-of-heart, but if you take advice from these titans of foodservice and hospitality, I’m certain you’ll begin going down the right path towards a more successful restaurant business.

Would you like more ideas, inspiration, and support from hundreds of other restaurant owners and professionals? Join our private facebook group called, “Restaurant Owners Startup + Growth” on Facebook. Click here!

Jeremy Wells

Partner at Longitude°

Jeremy is a Partner at Longitude°. He’s also the author of “Future Hospitality”, a book focused on how branding can create more impactful guest experiences. Additionally, he’s an honored member of the Boutique & Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA) Education Committee and has spoken at industry events and associations including AAHOA, Global Hospitality Summit, Hospitality Talks, and more.