Entrepreneurial Advice: How Many Restaurants is Too Many?


HollyHowardDear Holly,

I’m not a business owner here in Brooklyn, but I’m considering opening a restaurant in the next year or two. 

My question to you is how many restaurants are enough in Brooklyn?  I feel like every time I turn around there’s another one opening, and I’m afraid I coming into a market that’s over saturated.  I don’t come from a restaurant background, but it seems to me that food businesses are really taking off. 

What’s your advice while I’m considering this new venture?


 More than Enough? 


Dear More,

Keeping up with the number of restaurants that start and close in Brooklyn during a year can be difficult to comprehend.  And, if you’re in the market to open a restaurant, you need to be aware of this uncertainty.  There has certainly been a huge boom in restaurants over the last 10 years.

Not only that, but keep in mind that the cost of doing business in Brooklyn has also increased dramatically.  As I mentioned last week in my column, your rent will likely be much higher than a restaurant would have paid five years ago.  So,not only do you have much more competition, you’ve also got much higher expenses.

What I would recommend if you are going to open a restaurant is that you check your motives.  What I mean by that is if you’re just doing it to follow a trend, that’s likely not the best idea.  Brooklynites are savvy, and they’ll sniff out phoniness all the way from Sunset Park.  You have to make sure your concept is unique and well thought through.  If it is, then you’ve got a much higher chance for success even in a neighborhood that already has many existing restaurants.

You should also be aware of how difficult restaurants are to run and ask yourself how committed you feel to seeing this venture succeed.  Of almost any small business you mentioned, you’re not coming at this from a restaurant background, so don’t be fooled and look to get rich quick.   You will need to put in some significant time to get it off the ground and make sure it operates successfully.

Finally, I never recommend anyone open a restaurant without spending time working in one first.    So while you’re mulling over the idea, go put in some time either in the front of the house or the back of the house of a restaurant that’s close to the concept you’re considering.  That should really help you understand just what you’ll be facing on a day to day basis.

Good luck!  Brooklyn can always use a well thought through, well managed restaurant.


Want valuable insights into how to grow your business? Email Holly to set up a time to talk at hhoward@askhollyhow.com.com or to ask a question for the next Ask Holly How.

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