Both a doctor and a lawyer by trade, Win Froelich doesn’t think he’ll ever retire. Win got into restaurants because he and his wife were looking to start the next professional chapter of their lives together. “We were looking for an investment,” recalls Win, “and explored multiple options that would allow us to work together.” Win and his wife found what they were looking for with Bungalow Sports Grill, a two-site operation in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia.
From their initial decision, Win has learned a lot. “I’ve been in this industry almost 4 years now, and it’s been a great experience. The restaurant industry is very dynamic and many people consider opening their own eatery. But like any business, there are important things to know going in, and I share those when I meet people looking to make the same move we did years ago.”
Advice Win shares for first-time restaurant owners includes:
- Know your motivation. The first thing I’d ask someone getting into restaurants is ‘what’s your motivation?’ I’ve talked to many restaurateurs who just want to be able to eat and drink at their own establishment, and I’m not sure that’s a recipe for success. Your restaurant is a business, and you should expect to make a profit. Approaching this business from that angle is helpful.
- Be prepared to manage many moving parts. When I practiced medicine, I had to manage the X ray department, the lab, the pathology department, nurses and the pharmacy. If you’re the doctor taking care of the patient, you have to make sure that everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing, when they are supposed to be doing it, the way it’s supposed to be done. It’s the same with running a restaurant. You have your servers, your cooks, your vendors and many other players, and you’re ultimately the one who’ll coordinate them so that your customers have a good experience.
- The partners you choose are important. While certain systems, like a payroll system or a POS system, may not seem important to customers, they can impact my ability to deliver a positive customer experience by making it easy for me to process transactions without error.
- Focus on your operations and outsource the rest. It can be difficult to outsource the things that don’t bring value because it can take time to find partners you trust, but ultimately, in a restaurant, you should be focusing on the core of your business. There are many other functions that are part of the job, but are outside of the core. Identify what’s taking your time, and if you can, find a reliable partner to do the work for you.
- Keep an eye on your business. In restaurants, it’s more difficult to get visibility into your costs than in other industries. Your product is made up of multiple raw materials, and the price of those materials change on a daily basis. To truly manage your business, you need technology that can provide visibility into those costs, and not every system will give you what you need.
Running a restaurant is a people-centric business, and my wife and I are enjoying that. Plus, the skills associated with running a restaurant are transferrable and something we can do for many years to come.
Bungalow Sports Bar and Grill
For more info on how the leading restaurant POS system can can improve the customer experience, please download this free white paper.