Wife suggested I open a restaurant...

Okay, so here’s my quick story. I’m in IT and make a very decent income. I quit my job a few weeks ago due to it being a hellish place to work. My new gig is in Dallas (we moved to Nashville FROM Dallas), and the wife isn’t keen on moving again. She actually finally bit on the idea of my pizza joint.

I know better, I know better, and I REALLY know better. If I’m lucky enough to bring in 300k and make the 43k that someone recently posted about, that’s almost a 50% pay cut and no benes. She’d have to go back to work to augment my pay and bring home the benefits.

I’d love to say I’m not remotely considering it, but I am… I’d fund it out of my 401k (draining it), sell the house and find something to rent. Yeah, it’d mean betting my “place in this world” for the dream of working way too many hours for way too little pay.

So, talk me down please.

What I have found is that … When you’re right, you’re wrong and when you’re wrong, well there’so hope. :lol:


If it is in your heart man, you have to follow it. Having said that. Don’t touch the 401(k) and think about a home equity rather then selling the house. The housing market is weak, and interest rates are low!

Open the pizzeria…But don’t piss away all your assets.
There are deals out there. they just need to be found and negotiated.
I got into my first place with only $7000.00 out of my own pocket.
Keep your house and your 401K.
good luck brah!

The house has no equity… we moved here last year. We MIGHT be able to pay the real estate commissions from the proceeds of the sale, but that’s it. I don’t want to open a joint in Nashville, so having a house here makes no sense.

Well I dont want to be the only negative , But I am your prime example of what your talking about. Sold my business where I was making a good salary working 40 hrs aweek. To this place no money a 1 yr 4months and not making a penny. Learned alot 105 hrs a week and no life to start this wonderful biz…Every1 that works winds up quitting so im stuck…My wife promotes 2wice a week doorhanging, I direct mail every 2 months, I put adds 2wice a month in the local paper and Im still in the red… Not saying u will go trough the same. But it can happen dont use your assets …have something to fall back on. :oops:

start small and smart, ie, be able to build on what you start and not be reinventing yourself on the next move,

Don’t let the doom and gloom crowd get you down. A well run restaurant can make you a nice living. With a good population base, good product and service and a good marketing plan you will do fine. If you enjoy the work it is a fine way to earn a living. You need to enjoy the work though and you need to be good with people, both customers and employees otherwise you will not like it.

The advice about using your 401K money, however, is right on. Don’t do it.

In a large market, I would not spend time worrying about the competition and whether there is an unfilled niche. Competition in places where is a lot of choice is like a race with a bear. You do not have to be faster than the bear, just faster than the next guy. Create a good product, be clear about what you are doing and why it is different and tell that story. Get a GOOD LOCATION! Don’t be suckered by low rent. It is low for a reason. If you buy a failed store be SURE you understand why it failed and are confident that that cause does not apply to you.

One other thing to check is to find out which assets in your state are subject to the claims of creditors. Failure and lawsuits are always a distinct possibility in this industry. Florida is probably the most debtor-friendly state with Texas a close second. Other states are not so protective of debtors. So make sure you do not expose your protected assets and consult an attorney.

you should do it, preferably find something that will fit for you and you can be excited about, something new, different to the market
from your posts, you are intellectually ahead of most of us
I think you know what to do and how to do it

just be prepared that some of those “boxes of feather” are heavier than “boxes of feathers”, be ready to put out the additional efforts…

good thing about pizza business, you can make a go of it just about anywhere

good luck and stay in touch,

Whos to say you wont make double your previous salary…?..on the contrary if it doesnt work then you have nothin.
Being new into owning my own i can tell you the the first couple weeks i thought i made a huge mistake…While we were grossing 8,000 a week it is tough to get on your feet and still make money. Money goes easier than it comes. If you want it i believe you can reach it.
If some way you can gross 18,000 a week you might work alot of hours but you can also take home 175,000. after paying your own benes you can still drive a mazerati and live in a big house…

PS. even though you might work many hours you still work for yourself

300k is not a high grossing place…you can do double

where do you want to open ?


I know 300k isn’t high grossing, but you see, I want to open it WHERE I want to open it… it’s a small (tiny) college (private) town. I want dine-in/carry-out. There’s already a crappy Pizza Hut and a small Domino’s.

I’m stubborn in that I want to open what I want to open, serve what I want to serve, and do it as I want to do it. That’s a HUGE recipe for failure. I just don’t think it’s prudent for me to open the place with my mindset rather than the mindset of “do what the customers want, when they want, and how they want”.

You gotta decide what your goal is. If it is to open under your terms and conform the market to your model, then you might run into a few hitches in the path.

If the goal is to open with your vision with an eye toward adjusting it to what the marketplace “values” and “demands” and “buys”, then you have a better chance of making a living and some financial stability. No vision/plan leads to failure . . . no flexibility/sensibility to market pressures & demands also leads to failure.

The way I sleep at night is thinking of it as having to be a fusion of who youare, what your business brand is, and how you decide to meet the needs of the paying customers. The balance of the three decides how people perceive you and experience your establishment as they decide where to pony up the money they spent several hours of their very lives, usually away from loved ones and families, to earn.

I refuse to eat anchovies…they are on my menu
I refuse to eat ricotta cheese…it is all over my menu
I refuse to drink diet coke with lime…but its in my soda fridge

I can keep going if youd like…my point is with that mindset i cant see anything working unless you have the best pizza ever…To stay in business you have to put yourself in the buyers shoes…They are the ones that are gonna pay your rent, which in turn means that when your good customers which happen to be really annoying ask you to swap garlic knots with their dinner bread, you do it.
“you must adapt to survive in the pizza business”

"I’m stubborn in that I want to open what I want to open, serve what I want to serve, and do it as I want to do it. That’s a HUGE recipe for failure. I just don’t think it’s prudent for me to open the place with my mindset rather than the mindset of “do what the customers want, when they want, and how they want”.

…the alternative may be a Dominos, Pizza Hut or the like…

Chris Bianco’s pizzeria is not exactly the Harvard School of Business model, and he’s doing OK

if you follow your heart, it is a bigger risk than buying a piece of the corporate system, financially anyway
make good pizza, they will come, and maybe you can have it both ways…

good luck whatever you decide to do,
knowing we will probably be here discussing out trials, errors, and what we plan to do next,

I have opened my store using this exact model. I want a pizza that the toppings go all the way to the edge. I want a pizza that has top quailty ingredients. I want a pizza that the toppings are under the cheese. I don’t want to serve donairs so I don’t. I don’t want to sevre 5 kinds of pasta so I don’t. I don’t want to have the hassle of a deep fryer so I don’t. I have been in business for 3 years and have paid 80% of my startup loan back and have no one to answer to but myself and the customers that like the way I am doing things.

When people ask me why I don’t do something a different way the answer is because I want to do it this way. Now that doesn’t mean that i am closed minded about things it just means that I don’t do things I don’t want to do.