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Opening a Restaurant? Eight Online Courses That Will Help You Get Started

Jul 10, 2008 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

If you want to open your own restaurant, you probably know there’s more involved than putting together a mean menu.  But you don’t need a degree in each facet of restaurant management to succeed—your customers won’t ask about the owner’s education before booking a reservation.  But you do need some familiarity with the principles that make good restaurants, and other businesses, thrive. 

That’s where online classes come in.  A series of well-designed online classes can teach you everything you need to know to open your own restaurant—without having to get a Bachelor’s or Master’s.  Their flexible schedule means online classes are much easier and more convenient for working adults.  Here are eight online classes that will help a great deal when you open and run your own restaurant.


If you’re opening your own restaurant, you’re an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship classes teach you to think like a businessperson. They can cover many different topics, including designing a business plan, creating a business that appeals to your target market, business finance, and more.


Your food might taste great—but do your customers know you’re out there?  If you want your business to succeed, you have to know how to reach your customers.  A marketing class will teach you the basics of designing a campaign and help you put together a marketing plan that will bring in crowds of customers from your first day forward.

Cost control

A big part of running a successful restaurant involves spending your money wisely.  A cost-control class geared toward restaurant owners is a must-have.  It will teach you how to control the costs associated with restaurants; price a menu; control labor costs; read income statements; and more. 

Proper food handling

Safety and sanitation are crucial to any restaurant.  You may not be able to take cooking classes online, but you can learn more about food safety and proper handling through an online course.  These courses teach you proper storage; safe food cooking temperatures; common illnesses caused by improperly stored and handled food; and other basics of food sanitation.

Event planning

Just because you can cook doesn’t mean you can cater.  But especially when your restaurant is just getting started, event planning skills are crucial.  Whether you want to plan a big public event for your restaurant’s opening night or get the word out about your new place by cooking for a local charity, you’ll need to know how to plan an unforgettable event that will keep people coming back.

Developing a business plan

If you plan to ask for a bank loan to start your business, you’ll need a coherent business plan.  A business plan outlines who your target market is, what your business model is, and how you plan to reach that target market.  Without a convincing business plan, you may have trouble raising funding.


Many business owners try to do everything themselves—especially soon after opening—because it’s expensive to hire employees to do it for you.  If you plan to go that route, however, it’s better to be trained by professionals than to read a book and hope you understood enough to balance the books.  An online bookkeeping course will teach you how to track profits and losses for your business.

Leadership training

A good cook isn’t necessarily a great leader.  But as owner of a restaurant, you’ll have a lot of employees to manage.  Get a head start by taking some leadership classes.  With these classes you’ll learn how to connect with people, solve disputes, and motivate your staff.  These skills are especially important because turnover is so high in the restaurant industry—if you can be the one restaurant in town that holds on to its employees, you’re probably doing something right.

Online classes provide ease, affordability, and convenience that’s difficult to find elsewhere.  If you’re interested in opening your own restaurant, you’ll need to know more than how to plan a menu and cook an appetizer—you’ll need to know how to run a business. If you take classes that hone your business skills and fill in the knowledge you’re missing, your restaurant is much more likely to thrive.




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