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Bobby Flay's Secret to Opening a Successful Restaurant

Flay's holdings include six restaurant names across the U.S.

Nobody probably knows more about opening a restaurant than celebrity chef Bobby Flay.

For the restaurateur's first business in 1991, he teamed with businessman Laurence Kretchmer to open Mesa Grill in New York. Fame soon followed, as the entrepreneur opened more eateries, became a TV personality and authored a number of cookbooks.

Now he's offering advice to others who may want to follow in his footsteps.

"My No. 1 tip for somebody to open their own restaurant is to be overcapitalized and overpatient," he said.

"It always costs twice the amount of money you think it's going to cost," he added. "And it's going to take twice the amount of time to build it."

The median cost to open an independent restaurant is $375,000, according to a survey by, an online site for restaurant operators.

There can also be some speed bumps along the way.

The original Mesa Grill in Manhattan, which stayed open for more than 20 years, ultimately closed in 2013 after the landlord quadrupled the rent, Flay has said. His Las Vegas location, which began serving in 2004, is still in operation.

He also shuttered his midtown Manhattan eatery Bar Americain in 2018 because renewing the lease would have required an extensive overhaul, The New York Times reported at the time.

"Like Broadway shows, restaurants have their runs," Flay told the paper.

"We've had a good run," he added. "But there's no secret that it's exorbitant to build and run a restaurant today."

Flay clearly made decisions that he thought would benefit his overall business. His holdings currently include six restaurant names across the U.S. The chain Bobby's Burger Palace alone has 15 locations.

He also spends time in front of the camera, hosting TV shows like "Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction" and "Brunch @ Bobby's" on the Food Network. The latest figures from Forbes, in 2012, estimated his yearly earnings to be $9 million.

Flay said the key to real success is "believing in yourself." He also tells people to "look for small victories" and not try to "conquer the world" in one fell swoop.

"When I'm opening a restaurant I don't think about, you know, conquering the whole menu in one day," said Flay.

"I take one dish at a time." 

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

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