Fast food is big business, no doubt about it.
(article continues below)
Pretty well all of the main chains of burger bars, fried chicken restaurants and pizzerias are now franchises so there are opportunities for people from all walks of life to enter into the fast food business as a career move.
But, while on the outside it looks as if the dollars will simply roll in, fast food doesn't necessarily mean fast money.
So where can it go wrong?
There are a number of pitfalls concerning the fast food industry. The franchises for one thing aren't exactly cheap to purchase. And although funding for franchises is often viewed favorably by lenders of capital it still represents a large debt around the neck of the franchise holder – and that's before they've open up shop, served food and turned a profit.
What else makes the prospect something of a less than easy one?
The expenses involved with setting up a fast food business have much to do with the need for suitable premises. If drive-thru facilities are required then a large sum of money is needed to implement this.
One of the reasons fast food franchises are popular with customers is because the food is formulaic. People know what they are going to get each and every time. But, in order provide food to a standard with constancy specialist equipment is needed, and packaging. And the product itself can only be bought in from suppliers approved by the powers that be. So there's no cutting costs as far as the franchise holder is concerned.
A sizeable concern will need staff in numbers equipped to deal with customer needs. This obviously comes as a price.
While many fast food outlets turn profits fairly soon after opening, many others struggle to overcome the weight of the initial outlay. Even with brand recognition in your favor, as a new outlet it's often a slow road to success. Fast food clients are habitual, so it can take time for them to get used to visiting your establishment as opposed to their old favorite. It's vital, in such cases, that you receive company support in terms of promotion when you first launch.
The fast food industry is often seen as an easy touch when it comes to making money. But that's usually just the opinion of fast food consumers. Ask anyone who has been in or is in the business and they'll tell you it is a hard work situation. Yes you can make money but it won't happen overnight.
Many business coaches advise newcomers against entering into the fast food industry. People with some experience of the restaurant industry may fare better as they are more aware of what is really involved.
We're not saying it's always a Hell's kitchen situation but it is easy to find yourself in hot water in the fast food arena, especially if you entered into it with the idea of making a quick buck. Remember, it's the food that's fast, the monetary returns can be notoriously slow and you have to work hard for them.