Ever dream of opening up your own restaurant? Well, listen up, because your moment has arrived.
A few weeks ago, Paul Brook and Daniel Moran launched an initiative that invites members of the public to become partners in opening a restaurant. “We had been talking about the fact that John Doe always thinks he can do better, when it comes to managing a sports team, or running a bar, or a restaurant," explained Brook. "So we thought it would be fun to give the public a chance to democratically run a restaurant, and see if they can make a success of it."
The project started simultaneously in both the U.K., where the two friends are from, and the U.S. The concept behind Run Your Own Restaurant is that the first 20,000 people to register in their state will get to vote on every major decision that goes into opening the restaurant—from the specific location to selecting the executive chef. Registration is free for the first 1,000 people in each state, followed by a one-time fee of $29.99 for everyone else. When there are enough partners registered in any given state, the restaurant opening process will begin. The first vote will be on the restaurant’s theme and the second will be on the location.
In addition to getting a share of the profits for the first two years of business, the partners will also get preferential treatment at their restaurant, “One of the things that we think will be really fun about being a participant in the project is that you can hop in your car, drive all your friends over to your restaurant and see the thing you helped create,” said Brook. Some of the perks will include a complimentary round of drinks for you and your party every time you come to dine, and your choice of the best seats in the house.
When do they expect the project to move into its second stage? "This depends on how quickly people sign up to the project," explained Brook. "If we have 20,000 people register to the New York restaurant overnight, then the decisions would start within a couple of weeks of people paying their $29.99 — or nothing if you are one of the first 1,000," he added.
The project has yet be widely publicized, so Brook and Moran are pleased with the present numbers, "We have still managed to get quite a few people registered, even without starting the marketing in earnest, which is great," said Brook. "This has been done through Twitter, word of mouth etc."
Just a few weeks after launching Run Your Own Restaurant there are already a few hundred participants registered in every state—about 400 in New York. The numbers are similar in the U.K. It is far too early to tell whether this innovative idea is really going to fly, but the founders are optimistic. As Brook noted, “If 20,000 people are excited about the opening of the restaurant in their state, and their friends know about it, then hopefully there will be a really huge buzz created organically.”
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