Can You Open a Restaurant With No Money?

Diese Frage wurde kürzlich im Wall Street Journal gestellt. Und zwar in nachstehender Präzision und mit nachstehender Antwort. Für die Freunde englischer Texte ist beides eine Leseminute wert:

Q: I recently graduated from college, and want to start my own restaurant. I wasn't able to save any money while in school. What are my options for start-up money, besides building up my own personal savings?

A: Your best option is a cash infusion from friends or family, or a contribution from a wealthy or "angel" investor. Good thing you're used to homework, as you'll need to do some.

Here's what I suggest: Craft a well-written business plan that clearly explains your innovative concept while also communicating your passion, abilities and work ethic. Define your target market, your competition, your marketing strategy - and of course, your start-up costs. If you've never worked in a restaurant, now's a good time to get some experience.

Once you can clearly explain your great idea, ask your parents, family friends, neighbours or other "informal" investors for either an outright gift or a loan. If it's the latter, make sure the person putting up the money is fully aware that it could take you some time to repay. Use a service that provides documentation for peer-to-peer lending, such as Virgin Money USA in Waltham, Mass., a Virgin Group company, so that you can deduct interest payments and - if your restaurant doesn't succeed - your friendly lender can claim a capital loss.

You might also turn to any number of high-net-worth individuals - such as doctors, lawyers, professional athletes, developers or successful entrepreneurs - for backing. "There is plenty of money available for good concepts," says Howard Cannon, chief executive of Restaurant Consultants of America in Chelsea, Ala., a consulting firm that connects investors and aspiring restaurateurs. "The concept doesn't have to be sexy or complicated; it just has to be good." Angel investors typically like fast-food or casual-dining concepts that can be built into a chain; fine-dining establishments built around one chef's personality are usually deemed too risky, he says. Keep in mind, an angel who's willing to invest will likely want to exert considerable influence and demand an ownership stake.

One other suggestion: find a business partner who can bring financial resources to your eatery. But pick a partner "similar to the way you choose a husband," advises Stacy Francis, a financial adviser in New York. "Don't take the first person who comes along; make sure they're committed to the project; and make sure you like being around them."