Anthony Bourdain on the Mind of a New Restaurateur

To want to own a restaurant can be a strange and terrible affliction.  What causes such a destructive urge in so many otherwise sensible people?  Why would anyone who has worked hard, saved money and often been successful in other fields want to pump his hard-earned cash down a hole that statistically, at least, will almost surely prove dry?  Why venture into an industry with enormous fixed expenses (Rent, electricity, gas, water, linen, maintenance, insurance, license fees, trash removal, etc.) with a notoriously transient and unstable workforce and highly perishable inventory of assets?  The chances of ever seeing a return on your investment are about one in five.  What insidious spongiform bacterium so riddles the brains of men and women that they stand there on the tracks, watching the lights of the oncoming locomotive, knowing full well it will eventually run them over?  After all these years in the business, I still don’t know.

— Anthony Bourdain, “Owner’s Syndrome and Other Maladies”, in Kitchen Confidential — Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2007)

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