Restaurant Series – Opening a Restaurant in Los Angeles

My main focus for the last 5 months has been our family restaurant business, Ninong’s. If you’ve been following along on Instagram or Twitter you’ll know that the wheels on this project started turning in March of 2017 when we first saw the space. 10 months later here we are, so close to finishing I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Seeing as my 2018 word for the year is BUILD I thought I’d share with you one of the business that I have built and plan to continue to build this year – Ninong’s.

The next 2 weeks of posts are going to be focused on opening a restaurant, specifically in LA county. I’m going to share with you what products we use, why we use them, how we plan our menu, tips that I’ve learned along the way, and I’m going to get as detailed as I can without boring the heck out of you guys.

So, I guess I’ll get into it with an introduction to the series. I want to start this off by explaining a few personal observations and opinions.

  1. The restaurant business is HARD. It is, hands down, THE hardest business I’ve ever ventured in. You work long hours, the industry is extremely competitive, and pricing strategy is not straight forward. That’s just the tip of the iceberg people!
  2. The restaurant business is EXCITING. Oh man, I need to tell you about the adrenaline rush you feel when you’re on the cook line or when you get an rush of people! Your 8 hour day feels like 4. It’s so exciting! I live for those moments when you feel your team in sync, the bond of trust flowing, and the orders flying out of the kitchen. There’s nothing like it!
  3. The restaurant business is BRUTAL. It’s safe to say that any customer oriented business is brutal. Everyone is a critic. And for those of us that have a thin skin 🙋🏻‍♀️ UH OH, not good. But specifically in the restaurant business, even more specifically Filipino restaurant business, there is a shift that is happening. There are pros and cons to this shift. The pros are that Filipino food is finally becoming a cuisine that people are interested in trying. Fellow Filipinos aren’t the only ones walking into Filipino establishments, other cultures are and that’s a beautiful thing! But the con to Filipino restaurants is it’s always compared to “mom’s cooking.” And let me just say, “mom’s cooking” can never be replaced with our cooking. I’ll just leave it at that. I think this might be true of other cultural restaurants.
  4. The restaurant business is PERSONAL. I think this is true not just for me (my restaurant happens to be very personal since we are family owned and operated) but for most cooks and chefs. Cooking is a very personal interaction with a customer. Everyone that cooks will cook with passion and heart, it translates into the food. No matter if you are cooking your own original recipe or recreating a recipe there is a lot of TLC that goes into cooking.

Stay tuned for the rest of this restaurant series! Regardless if you’re interested in the same industry or not I hope that you’ll be able to take some key things away to apply to your own businesses. Either that or I hope it’ll give you a glimpse of what it’s like to have to start a huge endeavor like this!


Please like & share: