I’ve Always Wanted a Restaurant

Always Wanted a Restaurant

PDF Version          Book Proposal


Successful food expert and fanatic, Bill Stephens, “always wanted a restaurant.” How hard could it be? Restaurant ownership was a hard lesson for Bill as he turned his culinary passion to professional food service and later to consulting – a wildly successful 30-year career. Now he wants to offer readers the ultimate recipe for their own restaurant success story.

The National Restaurant Association estimates that of the 974,000 foodservice operators in the USA in 2006, seven out of ten are independent single units mostly owned by people “who always wanted a restaurant” (Restabees). A recent Ohio State University study stated that 61% of single unit restaurants fail within the first three years. Fold in this statistic, and blend in the roughly ten-to-one who’ve never tried, and it’s easy to support the belief that 20 to 30 million Restabees are out there willing to buy a book that speaks to their secret dream.

On an average day in the USA, 130 million foodservice patrons will purchase $1.4 billion in away-from-home food. Interest in and knowledge of food and wine has grown exponentially in our society as evidenced by the success of The Food Network on TV, growing newspaper food and wine sections, and the huge number of food and wine periodicals. Publishers Weekly projects over 600 million cookbooks and wine books will be sold this year. None of these books speaks to the throng of Restabees who watch “Emeril Live” and “Recipe for Success” on The Food Network. and dream of their own restaurant. Bill Stephens’, “I’ve Always Wanted A Restaurant” embraces this much larger group of “watchers” and mentors them while convincing them they should or should not follow their dream. This audience of Restabees who watches it happen is vastly larger than those who make it happen.

This audience grows geometrically as the appreciation for good food and great wine skyrockets in our society. “I’ve Always Wanted a Restaurant,” a 220 to 250-page book, is the first to speak to this audience in understandable terms about the philosophy, the lifestyle, and the knowledge required to succeed in the restaurant business. And most importantly, to answer the questions: Can I really do this? And more importantly, should I do this? And for those who answer, “Yes,” how to do this.

About the Author

Bill Stephens started My Place Restaurant in1972. His food service empire grew to include Casa Alegre Mexican Food; Barrons, a white tablecloth restaurant; three airline in-flight kitchens; three employee-feeding facilities; and a dinner train. His company was the third largest off-premise caterer in South Texas. His notable catering clients included Texas governors, presidential candidates, the family of the King of Saudi Arabia, The Prince of Wales, Pope John Paul II, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, Willie Nelson, and many others

During his three decades of active food service he wrote over 1,000 weekly food and wine columns for Harte-Hanks, Murdoch, and Hearst newspapers. His features appeared in Wine News, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, Food & Wine, Chef, and Field & Stream. He currently resides in San Antonio, Texas, and is the principal in Bill Stephens Restaurant Consultants (www.independent-restaurant-consultants.com).

I’ve Always Wanted a Restaurant

Partial Chapter Outline
Page Total – 225 to 250

Be Careful What You Ask For

Chapter 2 – Get Out of the Kitchen if You Can’t Stand the Heat – This is restaurant life.

Serve What You Like At Home

Chapter 4 – I’ve Got This Great Idea for a Restaurant – An innovative and saleable menu

Chapter 5 – Yeah, Let’s Serve That Too – The economic realities of a successful menu.

Chapter 7 – Well . . . In Theory – The TFC is the most powerful tool for profitability

You Need How Much?

Chapter 10 – I’ve Got This Great Deal for You – Looking for money in all the right places.

Stay Out of the Kitchen ‘til the Paperwork’s Done

Chapter 12 – I’ll Do That Tomorrow – Don’t spend a nickel without information systems.

Now This is Fun

Chapter 16 – Almost Better Than Sex – Designing your restaurant is very creative

Chapter 18 – I Can’t Afford It? – Sorry, You have to stay within the percentages

We’ve Just Got to Get Organized

Chapter 22 – Until You Get Paid, You’re Just Practicing – point-of-sale equipment selection


Chapter 25 – Don’t Miss Your Train – Train, train, train, and train some more.

You Look Like You Need a Drink

Chapter 28 – Alcohol and Wine Help the Bottom Line – Alcohol as a profit center

Do You Really Need Customers?

Chapter 30 – The Customer is Always – Right? – The care and feeding of customers

Chapter 31 – Gettin’ Rid of the Gotchas – The “Gotcha” is the ultimate employee weapon

Where Have All the People Gone?

Chapter 34 – Word of Mouth is Best — Right? — Wrong!

Chapter 35 – Here today, Gone Tomorrow – Even your most loyal customers get lured away

Chapter 37 – What Else Can You do? – A look at revenue enhancement with outside sales

Chapter 38 – A Forty Pound Gorilla — Mounting a low cost gorilla marketing campaign

The Dessert Course

Chapter 39 – The Good, The Bad, and The Committed – Friendly competitors can help you over the top.