6 must-read restaurant business books to become a successful restaurateur

Thinking of opening a restaurant but don’t know where to begin? Take a look at these six books that will help build a dream restaurant business.



Apr 21, 2022 - 3 min read

6 must-read restaurant business books to become a successful restaurateur

Reading is knowledge, and knowledge is power. In celebration of World Book Day, here are seven must-read restaurant business and hospitality management books that are full of practical advice that offer the knowledge and power needed to become a successful restaurateur.

1. Restaurant Success by the Numbers

by Roger Fields

First and foremost, numbers. For those looking for a quantitative, numerical guide on how to succeed in restaurant management, Restaurant Success By the Numbers is a must-read. 

Roger Fields, with his accountant background and restaurateur experience, breaks down everything that is necessary for creating a restaurant that not only survives its primary year but every year after that, from the initial brainstorming stages to the latter stages of hiring and profiting. The updated edition also includes pointers on how to navigate the ever-growing online food industry, specifically reviewing sites that have changed the industry dynamic completely. 

The book gives advice on the financial planning, inventory management, and other system operations critical to every restaurant business, making Restaurant Success By the Numbers an unparalleled restaurant start-up guide thanks to Field sharing his decades-long business management expertise.

2. How to Rock Restaurant Management: 5 Ingredients to Leading a Successful Team

by Katelyn Silva

Numbers and profit are absolutely vital for the success of every business; however, they are not the only thing that keeps businesses alive. For those diving into the restaurant industry business, excelling in restaurant management is as important as business management for entrepreneurial success. 

High employee turnovers are a persistent problem within the restaurant industry which is notorious for its harsh working environment. Silva shares her essential tips on leadership and staff management to explain how to improve the functionality of teams and reduce the costs of employment. 

Read How to Rock Restaurant Management: 5 Ingredients to Leading a Successful Team to understand what effective restaurant management looks like, with happier staff, happier customers, and happier businesses.

READ MORE: 5 essential tips for hiring the best restaurant staff


3. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

by Danny Meyer

Many popular chefs and restaurateurs have written books that dive into their personal journeys of success. The infamous Shake Shack founder and CEO of the Union Hospitality Group, Danny Meyer, explores in his semi-autobiographical book Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business the essence of hospitality, which finds itself at the core of every restaurant business. Although published in 2006, the book introduces a concept much ahead of its time; Meyer’s philosophy of “Enlightened Hospitality” which advocates for the priority of employees and the importance of valuing emotional intelligence within the workforce to create a team of staff who are committed to “finding the yes”, offers an alternative mode of business operation in which restaurant working culture can become sustainable and enjoyable. 

Recommended for beginning restaurateurs, Meyer’s book gives readers insights into how to build a successful business from the inside, starting with hospitality at the heart of it all. 

As a restaurant reservation management platform, TableCheck allows for a happier customer and employee experience through its refined, easy-to-use booking system. Designed to assist the smoothest restaurant operation possible, TableCheck’s reservation platform is built for the ease of users on both ends, with features such as guest profiling and performance trend reports. Read about TableCheck's commitment to empowering hospitality worldwide.

4. The Chipotle Effect: The Changing Landscape of the American Social Consumer and How Fast Casual is Impacting the Future of Restaurants

by Paul Barron

The food space is in constant motion, with the restaurant industry undergoing drastic change due to the ever-evolving trends and cultures of society. Focusing on the story of Chipotle and its founder, Steve Ells, and the company’s success in the rise of Fast Casual restaurants, Paul Barron takes a deep look into this challenging phenomena of change. 

As a renowned innovator of technology, business, and media, Barron breaks down the modern consumer and the contemporary market from an innovative perspective. He succeeds in connecting the customer to the strategies of design, technology, and futurism, teaching readers not only how to create a successful business, but also a relevant brand as well. Suitable for anyone with a plan to join the food or retail industry, The Chipotle Effect: The changing landscape of the American Social Consumer and how Fast Casual is impacting the future of restaurants is an excellent read for fresh and starting business owners. 

5. Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco

by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

Where there is success there are failures, and it is often the shortcomings that teach us most about what to do, and most importantly, what not to do. 

Financial journalism at its best, Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco does exactly that– the book dives deep into the financial crisis of the tobacco and food product company, RJR Nabisco that led to its eventual downfall. The writers do an excellent job of deconstructing the corporate financial labyrinth, making digestible concepts such as acquisitions, assets, liquidities, and hostile takeovers. An educational book for business owners looking to expand their operations and for ambitious corporate leaders to-be, read Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco to learn what financial mistakes should be avoided when running a business. 

6. Becoming Trader Joe: How I Did Business My Way and Still Beat the Big Guys

by Joe Coulombe

Last but not least, a business memoir by the iconic Trader Joe’s “visionary founder”, Joe Coulombe. Although not a restaurateur’s memoir, Coulombe’s book Becoming Trader Joe: How I Did Business My Way and Still Beat the Big Guys should be read by all those looking for a breakthrough in the food industry. 

Coulombe offers a comprehensive financial guide on how to build a business that stands out from its competitors by providing detailed explanations on pricing, supply chain, real estate, and marketing; as well as human resources. The ethos and logos of a successful food business are narrated through Coulombe’s personal story throughout, making it the perfect book for those seeking a financially helpful, but also engaging read on how to build the next cutting-edge business.

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