Q: Is this a bad time to start up a new restaurant with a slow economy?
Slow economies have traditionally been very good for quick service restaurants. Eating out is usually the last part of the budget that a family sacrifices on. They do however change where they are eating out. Restaurants that offer exceptional value benefit from the increased consideration of value in the decision making process of a family or individual.
More important to the potential success of a restaurant than the national economy, is your local economy. While the national news bombards us with doom and gloom messages of recession and job loss, the unemployment rate is still relatively low, and particular cities have economies that are thriving. An example would be my city, Wichita, KS. Our economy is driven by the aircraft manufacturing industry. Local aircraft manufacturers have booming business right now, and it radiates through our economy, which is very strong.
Regardless of the general economic picture in our country, there is opportunity to make money out there in the restaurant business. The industry will grow this year, as it always does.
There are restaurants that won't make it through the year. There always are. They will blame the economy, cheap customers, thieving employees, greedy vendors, gas prices, and everything else you can imagine, except themselves. You can't base your opportunity on the experience of others. We all have our own individual challenges within our businesses. You have to evaluate your situation seperate from anyone else and determine if there is still opporunity there for you, and whether or not the risk is worth it.