How to Become a Restaurateur – an Exciting Career in Restaurant Management

BU MMH—How to Become a Restaurateur

If you are into food and beverage and you are dedicated to turning that passion into an exciting career, is opening a restaurant an ambition that you want to pursue? Indeed, being a restaurateur can be an exciting and rewarding career. While you are making a profit from running the business, you get to host your guests, meet new people every day, and you can be your own boss! 

However, as a restaurateur, you will also face many challenges—from funding your business and controlling the budget, to building a team and serving customers. Thus, having the right skills, knowledge, and experience become necessary. Here’s how you can prepare yourself for a successful career in restaurant management.

What Does a Restaurateur Do?

Before learning about what it takes to become a restaurateur, it’s important to first understand the role. Owning and managing a restaurant involves a breadth of responsibilities. 

First and foremost, even before the business is up and running, you need to prepare to take on a range of crucial tasks from putting together a business plan, picking a location to hiring staff, and financing the starting capital. When managing the restaurant, you will work in a fast-paced environment overseeing all the moving parts, including the front and back of house operations, inventories, staff training, payroll, and more. All in all, as a restaurateur, you are the key person ensuring the profitability of the restaurant business and maintaining customer and employee satisfaction.

The Requirements for a Successful Restaurateur 

Now that you have learned more about the role and responsibilities of a restaurateur, you might understand why your passion is not the only ingredient of a thriving restaurant business. The restaurant industry is a highly competitive field; in fact, 60% of restaurants fail within the first year

With that being said, if you want to be a competent restaurateur who is able to execute all the duties involved in the job and run a successful business, you need to equip yourself with enriching hands-on experience and knowledge in hospitality.    

Field Experience 

To prepare yourself for the complex role of a restaurateur, building your practical experience is one of the most effective ways. According to research conducted by the National Restaurant Association, 80% of restaurant owners and 90% of restaurant managers started their industry careers in entry-level positions.  

Before jumping into running a restaurant by yourself, you may want to have at least a few years of hands-on experience in food services. You can start your restaurant career and accrue operational knowledge by working in a variety of positions such as a host/hostess, server, food runner, bartender, cook, and assistant restaurant manager. 

The frontline experience earned from these positions can help you understand restaurant employees’ day-to-day duties and look at restaurant management from diverse perspectives. You also gain a more holistic view of how a restaurant functions. As a result, when you become a restaurateur, you know how to support your staff and coordinate the work among departments.

Education in Hospitality Management

In addition to first-hand experience in the food services industry, formal education in hospitality or business can help aspiring restaurateurs increase their competencies in restaurant management and entrepreneurship. Even though a college degree is not required to open or manage a restaurant, a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree in hospitality management empowers you to examine your restaurant business more comprehensively. 

Here are some of the most impactful areas of expertise you can attain through a degree program:

  • Hospitality or restaurant operation:

Leverage technical knowledge to improve the efficiency of the management systems including the theoretical principles and operational tactics and tools. 

  • Entrepreneurship and innovation:

Use design thinking and creative problem-solving to address industry changes. Learn the process of building a business plan for a hospitality startup.

  • Accounting & financial management:

Understand business profitability and financial performance with the ability to analyze financial reports such as the income statement and the statement of cash flow.

  • Branding and marketing:

Improve restaurant business revenue and build customer loyalty through strategic marketing.

  • Business analytics:

Apply fundamental mathematical and statistical concepts to analyze data and make informed business decisions.

Many universities develop hospitality-focused programs to cultivate future restaurateurs. Boston University School of Hospitality Administration’s Master of Management in Hospitality degree, for example, provides a robust curriculum that instills fundamental business and management principles, as well as advanced concepts in finance, marketing, and leadership. 

To support your ambition of becoming a restaurateur who can ignite innovation in the hospitality industry, BU’s MMH program also offers concentrations in Restaurant Management & Experiences and Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Take Your Next Step 

Owning and managing a restaurant means your need to wear multiple hats and take full responsibility for everything related to the operation of your restaurant. Challenging as it may be, you can achieve your dream of becoming a successful restaurateur with proper preparation, including working in the field and pursuing formal education in hospitality. 

Start your path to success with Boston University’s one-year master’s degree in Hospitality Management! Contact us to learn more today.