The Real Reason So Many Restaurants Fail, According To Wolfgang Puck

Many foodies have, at some point in their lives, dreamt of opening their own restaurant. Maybe you're a coffee snob who imagines running a trendy cafe,  a backyard pitmaster who wants to open a local barbecue joint, or perhaps a talented baker who can see themselves managing a neighborhood cake shop. No matter the type, theme, or location of your future restaurant, there's one thing for sure: Opening said dining establishment likely won't be easy.

According to CNBC, some 60% of restaurants fail in the first year and nearly 80% close down within five years. That doesn't bode well for restaurant entrepreneurs. But why is it so tough to get started in the culinary business? Celebrity chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck has a few opinions on the matter. In an interview with CNBC's TV program, "Street Sign," Puck reasoned that a restaurant's success or failure often has nothing to do with the menu or location. So what, then, does he think causes so many restaurants to fail when they first open? 

Is the restaurant industry too glamorized? Wolfgang Puck thinks so

According to Puck, restaurants fail when the owners themselves aren't prepared for the reality of opening and running a dining establishment. "These days, everybody wants to be a chef two years after being in the kitchen," he told CNBC, adding that he trained for 10 years before becoming the famed chef we all know him as today. "Every young cook wants to open a restaurant one year later after they started to cook. Then they wonder why our business has so many failures." 

Speaking of failures, Puck believes a healthy fear of failure, like what he experienced when he opened his first restaurant, can actually be motivating for new business owners. According to Insider, in Puck's new Disney+ documentary, "Wolfgang," the legendary chef attributes the fear of failure to his perseverance and doing his best work and believes it can do the same for other aspiring restaurateurs. Although Puck has appeared on many TV shows, including "Hell's Kitchen" and "MasterChef," he also suggested the restaurant industry is too glamorized. "Now every young cook wants to be a television star," he shared with CNBC. 

So, per Puck, it seems like the recipe for success in the restaurant business is a combination of working hard and not being afraid to fail, coupled with a slice of humble pie.