The following insights were offered by Colicchio in conjunction with an event hosted by American Express OPEN:
1. If you're starting a restaurant and you are not a chef and have to hire one, remember that an ability to cook is only part of it. You need someone who understands the business of running a kitchen — they must be able to manage food costs and labor costs.
2. Going from 1 to 2 restaurants is the hardest step – you're doubling your business. Don't underestimate it.
3. Hire people you trust, and don’t micromanage them.
4. Eat at your restaurant regularly – you will see things completely differently from the dining room table than you will in the kitchen.
5. When financing a restaurant, keep in mind you can lease almost all your kitchen equipment. It will keep capital costs down.
6. Make sure you're not undercapitalized – have at least two months of payroll in the bank.
7. It's important to have some sort of mission statement and to make sure the staff understands and follows it.
8. Training is something that never ends – new employees are always coming through, and it's good for everyone on staff to be reminded of what the business stands for and what's most important.
The following insights were offered by Moulton in conjunction with an event hosted by American Express OPEN:
1. Get good training, whether it is on the job or in cooking school, and continually hone your skills.
2. Be willing to do anything, and work any hours for any pay.
3. Apprentice yourself to great chefs (if you tell them what I said in #2, you will not have a problem).
4. Travel if you can, and try all the local food wherever you go. If you cannot afford to travel, eat out at authentic ethnic restaurants in your town, or cook from a variety of international cookbooks.
5. Read everything you can about food, all the food and travel magazines, food sections of newspapers, blogs, books about food and the science of cooking, as well as cookbooks.
6. Take a class in food writing and recipe writing.
7. Network – make friends in the industry and help them. If you do, they will help you, too. Also remember to be a friend to a colleague when they are going through good times AND bad times. Join culinary groups and be an active member. Be nice to everyone you work with and come in contact with from the lowest person on the totem pole to the highest person. You never know where they might land.
8. Figure out what you do best (for me, it is teaching, doing cooking demos, whether on television or for a live audience), and do a lot of it.
9. Figure out your brand (mine is to be the gal who helps the harried home cook get a healthy quick dinner on the table during the work week), and do anything you can to advertise it.
10. Hire a really good publicist and/or agent. You will need help in spreading your message.