Starting a first-of-its-kind restaurant?

by DellDoesntCare. Posted on Sep 09, 2020    2    16

I live in relatively small town (50k people) and while there is tons of pizza places and kebab shops, there is not a single Mexican restaurant.

What I want to do is start a small Mexican place that would only serve as a kitchen for delivery. I want to hire a chef, make a menu of approx 10 items and build an ordering website. I would deliver the food myself to cut the costs so there would be just two people working there (I and the chef).

The thing is, I don’t have any experience running a business like this. I would cover the whole marketing aspect but I would need to rely on the chef to do a good job on his side.

I did some numbers and I would need to do at least 10 orders a day (about $15 each, mind you I’m not located in the US) in order to stay afloat and pay the chef. I would not be making any money at this point. I believe this is a very conservative number and I could easily do twice the orders once the business takes on.

People in my circles have casually mentioned (without me asking) that they would enjoy a Mexican food so there is that but I’m also thinking about doing a simple micro site where people can put in their email address to be informed once the restaurant opens.

What do you think about this? Any restaurant owners that started their journey this way? I would love to hear your experience.

Thank you!


kippypapa 1

Everyone who eats real Mexican food loves it. Here in CA, it's replaced burgers and fries as our #1 meal. People from outside of CA who move here didn't grow up with it and therefore aren't really into it as much. You're gonna have to understand your market's familiarity with the food and if they'll like it. That's going to be the biggest challenge. I've had Mexican in Korea, France, Italy, India and it's pretty bad (Korea was ok). If you don't have a real Mexican chef, it's just gonna suck and it will fail. If your audience can't eat spicy, it will fail because to taste good, it's gotta have some spice to it.

  DellDoesntCare 1

That’s an interesting take and I agree. Thank you for sharing.

walston10 1

As a Texan who has left texas for a few poor choices,

a) depending where you live be careful of spicy it can be different

b) pending your country the groceries might be tough

c) people might not know the difference from a fajita and taco...if you have to think about a menu you're already overwhelmed

idk your situation, if it was me I would consider starting with a taco truck and see how people react to that. My wife did have a foreign exchange student from Sweden who for the first time had Mexican food in Texas and was absolutely obsessed.

  DellDoesntCare 1

Thank you for feedback

hatchetcoffee 1

Don’t forget, with any level of success you are going to get multiple orders at once. This will make for a poor customer experience if it takes too long to get the food. I’d push this concept to include ready to eat food only. For example, what if you only did burritos. You could have 100 of them prepped and ready. Then you’d also need some kind of delivery schedule were people are preordering for a certain delivery time rather than ordering when they are hungry. Office orders could be a good start. Partner with a business that employs a lot of people in one location so you could deliver larger orders at once. Anyway- fun idea just needs to be pushed to solve some of the logistical problems with a delivery based restaurant.

  DellDoesntCare 1

Thank you for great ideas. I was thinking about only focusing on burritos and some bowls that would essentially use the same ingredients just served in a different way. I’m thinking about partnering with a restaurant so your comment just assured me this is the right way to go. I will think about setting certain delivery times, sounds like a good idea.

AnonJian 1

This is not an unusual situation. What is different these days is the concept of the pop-up market experiment.

let's talk about popups... - YouTube is a current fave.

But the point I want to make with this is the business principle of Supply and Demand as well as the high failure rate of restaurants -- which doesn't change if you use fancy words like ghost kitchen or popup restaurant.

Everybody fixates on supply and finds very little of interest studying demand.

I consider restaurateurs batshit crazy. The reason is 99% dream about the sit-down. Only about one percent figure they should start with a food truck to, for instance, map market viability and scout locations. The assumption is "it's the only one -- everybody's gotta eat."

Well yeah, but mostly batshit crazy to think there isn't a better assumption than everybody who wants mexican will travel any distance to chow down. There is a optimal location taking into account the market for mexican in most any city that large, and at least one or two general locations leading to failure. Location. Location. Location. It doesn't mean people walking ... yea ... nailed it.

This thing where there isn't any supply and so a sustainable demand must assuredly be unmet is fallacious. The conservative estimate can't be made upon the unknown.

Fifteen mexican restaurants may have failed over the last twenty years. Bet on fifteen wantrepreneurs all seeing the same 'opportunity' then starting a mexican restaurant over the next twenty months. Murphy's law of business startups.

LavenderAutist 1

Delivery costs gas.

Food truck is probably better.

People can come to your food truck and you can move it around.


That also crossed my mind but food truck is quite expensive to begin with.

98shlaw 1

minimum of 10 orders x $15? How many hours is the chef working? and how much will you be paying the chef a day? I'd say you need at least 20 orders?

You'll need to look into liability insurance in case someone gets food poison. You'll also need business car insurance etc.

  DellDoesntCare 1

In my calculations I was giving the chef an average salary. I would definitely inform him about my plan so that he knows what he is getting into. Once it took off I would definitely raise the wage. In a sense I would like him to be a co owner.

Thank you for the information, I will look into it.

Platetraining 2

You need a licensed kitchen, equipment etc. And I'm positive you haven't factored that or rent or utilities into your overly simplified cost analysis.

Do you know how to cost your menu? Do you have cold storage etc sorted out? Pest control factored in?

Partnering with a restaurant isn't going to be easy either, they're trusting you not to get them shut down or interfere with their operation. If you're an unknown quantity that may be a hard sell.

Not trying to put you off, but I think you need to look at a few more things while figuring out your plan.

  DellDoesntCare 1

Thank you for your comment. I appreciate the honesty. I suppose most of what you said could be resolved when partnering with a restaurant but as you said, it might not be that easy. I would need a chef I can rely on. I priced the items similarly to competition. You’re right though, so far this is just a brainstorming and I need to put more thought into it.


Partnering with a restaurant. Reading your response feels delusional. Entrepreneurship isn't about dreaming. It's about doing.

Really rethink if you truly understand the sacrifice and the likelihood of success. That partnering restaurants thing would be a red flag for me if I was ask to invest or work with your organization. It stands out as very unlikely and pie in the sky. Good luck

Platetraining 1

Ok. So if you want to make a small fortune in hospitality then start with a large one...

If you want I'll dm you how to cost out a menu item. It's practical advice and will help you figure out if there's a future in this for you.

A food truck is actually pretty cheap, even refitting a caravan would work. There are other options (I'm happy to give you one) but I hope you're starting to get the idea.

I'm a chef with 15 years in the game, not USA based but some things are universal.

calemedia 3

Profit margins are very slim on food so keep that in mind