How to turn your hobby into a business

Just because you’re a good cook doesn’t mean you should own a restaurant.

But for some people, working in the kitchen isn’t just a skill, it’s a passion. How do you make the transition from catering for your friends and family to serving hundreds of strangers who are foaming at the mouth for the opportunity to give you a nasty Yelp review?

“Worst. Restaurant. Ever.”

The simple answer is: business knowledge.

Chef cooking at stove with flaming pan

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Chef cooking at stove with flaming pan

Which is to say that you should consider business school or at least partnering with individuals who already know the ins and outs of running a successful restaurant. That way, you can worry about making that perfect family recipe while somebody else crunches the numbers to see that you’ll need to sell 50 of that dish a night just to break even.

If you do want to go the education route — but aren’t keen on the thought of business school — some culinary institutions offer four-year undergraduate degree programs.

Of course, avoiding student loans and throwing caution to the wind can be a lot more fun. So, it might be best to take all that passion and start small. Perhaps with a food truck.

They’ve arguably become a little too popular — almost cliche — but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a smart play to see if you have what it takes. For a fraction of the cost of opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant, you can concentrate on your main dish, learn, fail, and succeed — all with the small-scale risks and responsibilities of working inside a wagon. It’s a tried-and-true method for seeing if maybe you have the right stuff, and it’s also why you often see owners of food truck start-ups trying to take the next step on television reality shows.

Watch the video to hear what the hosts of “Restaurant Startup” think about turning passion into a business.

Tune in to “Restaurant Startup,” Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC, to watch entrepreneurs compete for the backing of the show’s celebrity restaurateurs.

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