So what’s it really like to own a restaurant? You often hear the downside of being a restaurant owner but there are many unlikely perks that may surprise you. Depending on the type of restaurant you own, the list can vary widely. Here are a few of my top picks but there are many, many more.
- Access to better quality produce – this one surprises a lot of people but restaurant suppliers often get first dibs on the produce coming in which means you get the best quality.
- Raiding the cooler for groceries for home – this one is more handy than you could ever imagine. Especially when feeding a family. It’s like having a grocery store at your fingertips right when you are too tired to go to the grocery store.
- Product samples – prepare to get schmoozed. Sales reps from wine companies, coffee companies, and everything else you buy are going to want your business. This means trials and samples. Who doesn’t want free wine?
- Being hosted – many vendors love to take you out to thank you for your patronage. You may get concert tickets, hockey tickets, golf tournament entries and more.
- Gift Card Trade – other businesses often want prizes and awards for their staff (or themselves) and you can trade your product for theirs. Movie passes, other restaurants, spas, hair salons, even golf passes – reach out to other owners and managers and you will be surprised how many are thrilled to trade.
- Tax Write-offs – of course you are aware of the usual costs but check into writing off groceries, restaurant “research” or “tours” for competitive reasons or ideas, and of course your car for all of your running around. You can likely write off entertainment for frequent clients and staff too.
- Loyalty program perks – many of your expenses can be paid by credit card and if you pick a good card you can get cash back, travel miles or other perks. These can add up quick so ask every single vendor if they take credit card. Some vendors also run incentives to buy “x” and receive “y”. Always fun to get the “y”.
- Street cred – this one is kind of odd to mention but it is fun being able to tell people you own a restaurant and, as long as they love the restaurant, you can get some valuable street cred. It makes for good conversations (everyone has an opinion on restaurants) and it’s kind of nice to own a business people can relate to – much more so than an IT Programming company.
- Costco Rebates – this gets its own spot on the list. Their Executive Membership gives you a percentage back of your yearly spend you can spend in their store. It typically comes right before Christmas.