With over 20-years working in the hospitality industry, Frances Rechichi has worked in multiple roles, from catering to restaurateur to a business owner. Several years ago, France and his business partner David Amar ventured into wholesale with their first business, Pizzaioli’s.
After demand for their gluten-free pizza bases took off the pair decided to venture beyond pizza and launched a company that could feed the gap in the gluten-free market. The Food Crafters opened its doors in July of this year, joining the market with a range of delicious gluten-free cookies.
Rechichi is often asked for his advice on starting a business in the hospitality game and he is always quick to stress how tough it can be to get a break in this competitive industry.
“It involves long hours, little profit and is a very hard industry to scale. The industry requires little time for rest, and when you are simultaneously running a business the stress can intensify,”
“Not to be a negative Nancy but I’ve probably helped people make a wiser business decision by steering them away from hospitality. Not all took my advice and I have seen millions of dollars wasted as the owner sits at a table drinking wine with guests, having no clue that the service was falling apart right in front of his eyes.”
The small business owner suggests in order to survive in hospitality you need to wear many hats.
“In one day you can go from being the marketing manager to financial controller, to head of HR operations. It is easy to feel yourself spinning out of control and if you are learning the industry as you go, the finer details can easily be lost.”
According to Rechichi the key to success is to become a “master of your industry”
“The fantasy of owning and operating a business can really be kicked in the teeth with reality,” he exclaims. His best advice to anyone hoping to open a small business in hospitality is to get some experience in the local industry first.
Food Crafters cacao cookies are one of their most popular products
Rechichi’s five tips that will get you flying solo:
Knowledge is your currency
Investment in knowledge is more important than money. Learning the tricks of the trade is an invaluable experience every business owner has to master. Better to learn from someone else, than learn the hard way in your own business where it can cost you thousands.
Don’t underestimate your network
Having connections within the industry will serve you well when you decide to venture into your own business. The restaurant game provided my business partner David and I with a foot in the door when launching our first wholesale business venture, Pizzaioli’s. It allowed us to not only tap into the gluten-free market but establish the right connections with suppliers who could stock Pizzaioli’s gluten-free pizza bases.
Our organically formed network of contacts removed the need for cold calling and allowed us to rapidly increase the company sales.
Passion is paramount
The majority of folk who start in this industry venture in with little regard to the strain hospitality can have on not only your bank account but your soul. It is an all or nothing industry, and if you do not have a passion or drive for your business, there is little chance to success. Owning a small business is tough and if you don’t love what you do, the daily grind will eventually take its toll. By starting as an employee you can ensure the industry is right for you.
A business owner needs to lead
Staffing can be your greatest burden but employees are also your greatest assets. Understanding how to navigate the HR for your business is crucial. Creating great work environments can actually be a very difficult task. I have worked with some employers in the past that were fantastic at team morale. They let the staff do whatever they wanted and having no idea about expectations they were taken for a ride and the work never got done. If the owner had experience in the industry beforehand, they would have understood how to maximize the workload of the employee and still keep a good work environment at the same time.
Creating systems can become an easy task when you’re a master of your trade. I’ve set up multiple front of house operations. Understanding where a bar should go, or POS system should be placed is really important for workflow. Learning from different companies you start to see patterns that just work in good operations. This knowledge can then be applied to your business and assist you in developing a system that runs seamlessly, saving you time and money.
Rechichi says while hospitality is definitely not a path for everyone he tells KBB “if you have the right experience, passion and drive behind your business, the stars are the limit.”