Are You a Proprietor or Entrepreneur?

Are you struggling to find great people?

Do your sales go up and down like a rollercoaster?

Is your business making great strides one day and crashing to the ground the next.

Are you trying to grow from one or two restaurants - to three, four, five or six? Are you afraid to take a one week vacation – because your business will fall apart?

Is your restaurant wearing you out and grinding you into the ground?

Do you feel like a prisoner to your people, your business, your landlord and the bank..?

Well, I know exactly how you feel… Because I’ve been there myself. AND - I have found that the solution to your struggle just might be found in the way you identify yourself.

Here’s a question for restaurant owners – How do you see yourself? Are you a Chef trying to create great food? Are you a bartender, trying to make great drinks?

Are you a struggling Proprietor or a Free Spirited Entrepreneur?

Today we are going to take a look at the difference between a proprietor and an entrepreneur.

12 years ago I was running 8 restaurants, a cooking school, producing three video podcasts a week, writing cookbooks, and selling cooking gadgets and spices. Life was exciting and a little crazy. The strange part was, that I still identified myself as a chef. I did not see myself as an entrepreneur or the CEO of the company. I identified myself as a chef who made - great food.

I was absolutely the driving force of all these businesses. Yes, we did have a small corporate staff - BUT – our little company grew so fast that none of us had the chance to adjust or morph into our new roles as corporate executives. AND - We were not able to replace ourselves in the daily operation with people of equal knowledge, character or talent as we grew - so we had a young team of eager people who were not quite ready for their roles – trying to run the individual restaurants.

We had so many irons in the fire that we didn’t know what was first, second or third… We simply kept growing and dealing with the biggest fires of the day… and Then, the big bad recession of 2008 came and kicked our asses… OOPS!

Today in 2019, I am a smarter and more thoughtful version of my former self…

I am still a chef, restaurant owner, author, and podcaster – and I have also added - restaurant coach and business consultant to the mix. I have added the (coach / consultant) hats because I truly believe that the World doesn’t need MORE restaurants – the world need the restaurants that do exist to be – BETTER. AND- It breaks my heart to watch someone - take their entire life savings and the life savings of their friends and family AND - flush it right straight down the drain…

With that in mind, let’s look at two words Proprietor and Entrepreneur, because I believe they are the key to opening the shackles that most restaurant owners are wearing today.


According to Wikipedia, A proprietor is the owner of a business. He has the legal right or exclusive title to something. This means they have the control or present use of something. They are the holder, the owner, the possessor. The Proprietor works INSIDE the business. The Chef, Bartender or accountant mindset are proprietor mindsets. The goal of the proprietor is to maximize sales and reduce costs. Their goal is to beat the guy across the street. The objective is to take market share from the competition. The proprietor is a COMPETITOR! In most cases the proprietor IS the business.


Let’s look at the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur works ON the business. The Entrepreneur is a CREATOR!

Mr. Webster says = An Entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business. Taking on greater than normal financial risk to do so…

Dictionary dot com says = An Entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages ANY enterprise, especially a business.

According to Forbes magazine, the key difference here is the word – ANY…

This is a big distinction because it means an entrepreneur is not single minded or limited to only one type of business venture. A true entrepreneur can operate in manufacturing, restaurants, newspaper, radio, medical, construction or any type of industry. The real talent of an entrepreneur is putting things and people together and working ON a business. Doing the things that make a business succeed, not doing the work of cooking or making drinks or running food.

Entrepreneurs create businesses that have - REPEATABLE SYSTEMS. The repeatable system runs the business. People will come and go, but the system is the real force that drive the business to victory.

Let’s use Steve Jobs as an example, because most of us know his story. Steve started as a coder and gamer at Atari, then he saw an opportunity in computers, so he hooked up with the Woz (the only computer geek he knew) and they started Apple. Later Jobs saw unfulfilled needs that lead to what we know today as the smart phone or iphone. Steve changed- the music, video, communication, publishing, and art industries forever.

The entrepreneur is a visionary. The entrepreneur must FIND competent people to help him or her breathe life into the business and make it grow. I see a true entrepreneur is a visionary, a business builder – a creator AND a system builder!

The entrepreneur doesn’t just open a burger joint. They open a burger joint that fills an unmet need in the market and then they create a complete one of a kind experience and brand around it. Starbucks and Chic Filet are great examples of this. In both cases the entrepreneur, saw a need that was being un-fulfilled, they found a better way to deliver a one of a kind consistent experience and then they build that experience into a CULT brand.

Chic filet has been so successful that McDonalds is starting do double and triple down on the chicken sandwich.

SO - The difference between a proprietor and an entrepreneur is:

The proprietor IS the business. The proprietor is focused on short term profit – their goal is to do whatever it takes to beat the guy next door. The proprietor is most likely to follow the crowd and do what everybody else is doing.

The entrepreneur is a visionary who sees an unfulfilled need in the market. The entrepreneur takes a leap of faith and creates a one of a kind, uniquely branded experience complete with cool uniforms design and marketing elements and most of all a SYSTEM of doing things that separate them from the competition. The entrepreneur has a long term vision. The entrepreneur focuses on building a unique business that will stand the test of time.

IN CONCLUSION: wrap it up

Here’s a question for all you restaurant owners out there…

How do you see your-self? Are you a proprietor trying to beat the guy next door?

Are you still the chef, trying to create great food? The bartender trying to make great drinks. The accountant trying to balance the books? OR are you an entrepreneur and CEO with a clear vision that you are trying to bring to life?

The restaurant business is very complicated and it is often our view point that separates us from a break through. Sometimes we are on the exact right path, and sometimes we are just one or two degrees off target. Think about the game of golf, if our drive is only 1-degree off target at the tee, we will end up in the rough or the lake. If your business is only one or two degree off target you too could end up in the rough or worse, you could become a fatal statistic - another one of the many restaurants owners who tried and failed…

AS you may have already guessed, The person with the best chance of survival is the entrepreneur – who creates a unique one of a kind branded experience that fills a specific need in the community.

My Name is Peter Harman, I am the Food Guru. My goal is to start a restaurant revolution where every restaurant owner in America has the information they need to create financial freedom and live the life of their dreams. I want to help you get strategic and build a BRAND that will stand the test of time. And I want to help you build an operating system that can be operated by average people, with average skills.

REMEMBER THIS - a GOOD system that is operated by good people will produce GREAT results.

If you are struggling to get to the next level, please come to

And sign up for a FREE consultation, I would love to help get you pointed in the right direction.

Thanks for taking the time to read these show notes, I look forward to helping you get strategic and build an amazing restaurant that will give you a 10% profit every year for the next 10-20 years.

Now I want you to get out there and – Start thinking like an entrepreneur…!

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