Good business judgment

Everyone is talking about investing, but it’s important to not let emotions cloud good business judgement, says founder and managing director of The Cutting Edge Agency, Duncan Fraser-Smith

I have been fortunate, in the last couple of months, to attend and moderate several forums where debate and discussion has been at a pace over investing in F&B operations in this part of the world. There have been some key takeaways that I would like to share with you when approaching this as a potential business opportunity.

Leave emotion at the door. Many people I have spoken to in recent months decide to get into this business based on emotion. There have been countless situations whereby investors want to get into this industry because they have experienced an outlet or concept in another country and loved it.

They just had to have it here! Much as I completely understand this passionate approach, before looking at investing, make sure the fundamentals are solid.

Understand the partnership’s expectations. Whether you are looking to partake in a franchised operation, standalone brand, or create one yourself, understand what the expectations are from the brand owner, landlord, franchisor, and be sure that they align with your own.

Before you look at ROI… look at breakeven. This is kind of critical, as often potential restaurateurs get caught up in the excitement of opening their restaurant and how quickly it will (hopefully) pay itself back. But before that high kicks in, first look at how much it will cost each month to run, because without that, we don’t know what our break-even looks like. And the numbers might surprise you …

Your human resources are your most valuable assets. I had several discussions recently with like-minded individuals regarding the pros and cons of HR consultants.

We look to engage these people to select and present for hire the custodians of our hard earned investment and the pride and joy of operations for our long-term successful existence. It is important to make sure that experienced operators within the industry interview your key players in your operation.

I was listening intently to Murad Alnasur, the general manager and director of business development for International Leisure Investment at the recent Food Franchising Forum who stated: “Even though you need to know their relationship status and the reasons why the person left their last job, isn’t it more important to know that they can actually do exactly what you want them to do for your business?”

Ultimately those of us with a passion to succeed in this business… will! However for those looking to enter into this ever-expanding growth industry within the region, remember it is a wise investor who knows all the risks before entering into an investment and if you are not sure, there are a few of us around here who can help navigate the path.

As featured on on March 25, 2015

Duncan Fraser-Smith is the founder of The Cutting Edge Agency which specialises in developing and creation of benchmark F&B concepts through conceptualisation and training, as well as sourcing and partnering with international brands and high profile chefs to successfully establish their presence in the Middle East. Visit 

Getting Started



Your hospitality roadmap from ‘vision to creation’

Limited to just 10 sessions each month