Never Play the Victim, Instead Develop Your Restaurant Business

Every restaurant closing or personnel change has a backstory you never read about in a magazine.

So much goes unsaid and unprinted. As an insider, I know. You may, too.

Challenges in the Restaurant Industry

I have heard a lot of talk and read a lot of texts lately about Brian Reinhart’s D Magazine article, “Dallas Dining Leaders Reflect on the End of Culinary Era – and Explain How to Start a New One.”

My clients from other cities are citing it.

The article ostensibly covers the fact that two of Dallas’s best new restaurants of 2022 did not make it to the end of 2023 as intended. One closed; the other separated from their chef.

More significantly, the article discussed challenges in the independent restaurant world in any major city: national corporate competition, high rent, and uninformed diners.

When we discussed this at my Restaurant Owners Success Club the members identified another challenge: food writers who only cover the birth or death of a restaurant, but nothing in between.

Finding Complete Restaurant Success

Viral texting about this piece came a week after I had lunch with another leading chef, who lamented the lack of education for today’s group of young chefs. “Where can they learn about all the things they really need to know about the business in order to be successful? If we don’t educate them now, who will have the chance to do great work in the future?”

This reminded me of another article, “The Restaurant Revolution Has Begun,” which appeared in the New York Times, written by Anthony Strong, chef/owner of Pasta Supply Co. in San Francisco, who figured out how to have a great business in 2024.

Until they know better, chefs focus on the plate. But that only gets them in the game – a restaurant owner has to learn a lot more to win the game.

People who take personal responsibility never play the victim. They don’t blame the market, real estate, or social media.

Many restaurateurs still lack understanding about available help. A huge network of people can solve just about any challenge that exists and can educate operators on the things they need to know but don’t know yet.

This prevents closures – or being kicked out of your own deal.

A complete restaurant success takes not just food, service, and atmosphere, but real estate, money, business, management, leadership, culture, systems, risk management, inspiration, marketing, information, and hospitality.

Not many people master all of those – and no one does at the beginning of their careers.

“The answer” involves continually gaining and building understanding of all aspects of our business. 

Providing that is what I do every day.

Freedom and flexibility guide for restaurateurs.

What’s the point of owning a successful restaurant business if you don’t have freedom?

Download Matthew Mabel's Freedom and Flexibility Guide for Restaurateurs to learn how to...

  • Step away for extended periods of time
  • Contribute to your community in a unique way
  • Spend more time with friends and family
  • Travel for weeks at a time
  • Split your residence at a vacation home for several months a year