Got your heart set on opening your own restaurant one day? 

This kind of accomplishment doesn't happen overnight – you'll need to work hard if you want to see your dream come true. Luckily, we've got some helpful advice for aspiring restaurant owners like you! Find out how you can take some small steps to achieve your long-term goal – including getting yourself a hospitality management qualification

1. Work in a restaurant

It's no surprise that in order to run a restaurant one day, you need to understand what it's like to work in one. It's likely this will mean starting waiting tables or serving coffee, but don't see this as a road block; instead, use this time to talk to your customers and get an idea of what people love, honing your customer service skills. You might be surprised at the inspiration that will come to you simply from observing and talking to others. 

After all, when you run a restaurant, you'll have staff working for you, and having first-hand experience of what their jobs entail will help you to be a better boss than someone without that experience. 

Start small and learn as much as you can about the hospitality industry - this will help prepare you for opening your own restaurant down the line.You might start out working as a waitress or barista, but use this as a learning opportunity to prepare you for more senior roles to come.

"You need to have done time in all aspects of the restaurant before opening your own."

2. Don't limit yourself to a single role

Get a taste for front of house through admin roles, taking reservations and seating patrons. Clock up hours working back of house in the kitchens as well. Learn what it takes to craft a delicious meal, build your teamwork and communication skills and see how you fare in a stressful and fast-paced environment. After you've gained experience on the floor, you can work your way up to more senior positions with additional responsibilities.

And don't just take it from us – this is advice that owner of multi award-winning restaurant Attica Ben Shewry takes very seriously. "If I could offer one piece of advice, it's that you need to have done time in all aspects of the restaurant before opening your own. Don't underestimate how important every job is," he told Good Food. 

A post shared by Ben Shewry (@benshewry) on

3. Build up your skill set outside of hospitality

Running your own restaurant means running a business. This means that not only do you need to understand how the hospitality industry works, you also need to know how businesses operate. Accounting, marketing, human resources, operations and other facets of running a business will be invaluable when you eventually reach the stage of being able to open your own. Without these, you'll be in over your head, so start early. 

You'll gain a knowledge of these areas and more when you undertake a hospitality management qualification (see tip #6 below!) 

4. Take advice from those who've done it

Australia has no shortage of restaurants, and the people who have started them can give you invaluable advice to help you reach your dream. Read blogs and books written by successful restaurateurs to get an idea of how they did it. Talk to restaurant owners you know about their journeys. Observe your managers and those in senior positions above you, and talk to them about the challenges they face and how they deal with them. 

A post shared by Neil Perry (@chefneilperry) on

5. Get an industry mentor

Mentors can help you navigate the challenges of a hospitality career. Attend networking events and try to connect with someone in the industry who is at a place you want to be in the future, and ask them if they'd mind meeting up regularly to share their tips and guidance with you.

A mentor could also be someone you work with. Though Kylie Kwong is a super famous Australian chef and cookbook author today, she was once in your position – dreaming of opening her own restaurant. Thanks to being mentored by chef Neil Perry while working at his Rockpool restaurant, she was able to achieve her dream, and has gone on to achieve great success with her restaurant Billy Kwong and numerous side projects and cookbook deals.

6. Enrol in a hospitality management qualification

A qualification equips you with the skills you'll need to succeed in the industry. It gives you a fantastic leg up when applying for jobs with other candidates who have the experience but no qualification. Graduates of Kenvale College benefit from the college's industry connections, mentoring opportunities and talented teachers, who all challenge them and support them throughout their studies to set them up for their careers.

We're also aware of what the industry is looking for, and we adapt our courses to ensure we're matching industry needs and giving our students the best possible chance of success. Our hospitality management courses include business-related modules so that our students learn a rounded set of skills they can use to work their way up in the industry.

Get in touch with a Kenvale course advisor to find out more about our hospitality management courses.

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Thank you for inviting us – we really did appreciate it. I must say I was really impressed by the Briar Ridge team – one of them (… Aiden) did a really great job explaining who they were, what they were about etc., and really took the time to give us the background on the person behind it all (Gwyn Olsen). He’d clearly immersed himself in the project, and I think she’d have been really pleased if she’d seen that. Happy to reach out and tell her so if you think it would help pave the way for future events.

- Anonymous, Winefest Guest 2015

I just wanted to express thanks and congratulations to all at Kenvale for the magnificent lunch provided on Thursday.

I have been to many hatted restaurants this year and can honestly say that they would have struggled to produce such fantastic dishes.

The lunch was a credit to your students and your staff.  It would be a privilege to enjoy another visit next year.

Best wishes to your graduating students for success in their career and to your staff to continue to guide students to reach such a high standard.

- Anonymous public guest at Kenvale Restaurant 2015

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