Friday, June 10, 2011

Woes of a Parisian restaurateur



Anyone with a dream to become a restaurateur should have been part of the conversation I had with the owner of one of the successful South Indian restaurants in Paris. The primary woe of this industry is same as any other industry. There is shortage of adequately skilled resources. Then, there is absenteeism and attrition.

There were a lot of other interesting things to learn. These restaurants have to adhere to many processes and protocols in order to adhere to the safety and health standards issued by the French authorities. For instance, the meat cannot be stored for more than 3 days. The temperature at which the meat has to be recorded at periodic intervals and this should be readily available for the inspection.

An audit or what is popularly known as “raid” in Indian parlance is unnerving. Before an audit, the French authorities contact all your suppliers. They create an exhaustive list of all purchases. From you, they will get a price for selling an unit along with the cost associated with processing the unit. So, for a kilo of chicken, you give the buying price, selling price and processing cost. During the audit, they trace the purchases to the sales to the money in the bank. Now, god help if they is anything missing anywhere!

You may ask why. If there is money missing, the owner or one of the partners can admit the fraud. They move on with the audit. But in a few days, the person who owned up the fraud will have another audit to face. This time, it is his personal finances that gets audited.

Another intriguing factor is common to all businesses. Let us say your business is suffering from a loss and you plan to shut down. It is not easy to shut down because you need the approval of the authorities to do so. Before the authorities provides the necessary approval, they will run your business for a predefined period of time to ascertain if your business is really making a loss!

Picture Courtesy: http://www.phoodie.info

Tags: Musings,Business,Restaurateur,French,Paris

5 comments:

  1. Sounds to be a difficult situation..

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  2. @Harish - My reactions too! It is not easy!

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  3. Very tough, things are so difficult.

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  4. Good post. Restaurants are supposed to be the toughest business and they seem to be make it tougher :-)

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