Yesterday’s ( May 21, 2008 ) issue of Financial Times featured a great article on a pair of former strategy consultants from Boston city, Jon Olinto and Anthony Ackil, who hatched plans to go into business together and opened b.good, a chain of restaurants that features fast food with a healthy twist. Described as “fast food chic” by food critics, their business is now thriving in a world where most restaurants flounder. The article can be read in its entirety here. The pair had the following advice for aspiring restaurateurs but I found it applies well to entrepreneurship as well.

The importance of doing hard yards and making friends


New restaurants in the US have a notoriously high failure rate. Research shows that more than half of them close within their first three years of opening. Anthony Ackil and Jon Olinto, co-founders of the b.good diner chain in Boston, offer some advice for budding restaurateurs.

Little things mean a lot.
“Talk with anyone you think might be helpful,” says Mr Ackil. “Pound the pavement. We spent a lot of Friday nights walking up and down the streets of Boston talking to restaurant owners and managers.

“Do every little thing that you can, because five or six of the hundred little things that you do will start to add up. Then suddenly you have a menu, suddenly you have a location.”

Develop a thick skin.
“When you’re starting a new restaurant, there’s going to be a lot of negativity. A lot of it will come from your friends and family because they don’t want to see you fail. They see that what you’re doing is a huge risk, but you have to be persistent,” says Mr Olinto.

Familiarity breeds customer loyalty.
 “We want to treat every customer like they’re our best friends,” says Mr Olinto. “We try to remember people’s names, and . . . what they like. When you come to this restaurant, we want you to feel like you’re part of it.”

b.good co-founders Jon Olinto and Anthony Ackil

Allentrepreneur will try to get Mr Olinto and Mr Ackil to share some insights on their journey into entrepreneurship in an interview, but until then, stay tuned for upcoming interviews with Alan Regala from Everyday Innovations and Nick Kellet of GiftTrap.