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Restaurant Success workshop provides free guidance for entrepreneurs

Woman outside of restaurant open for business

The Seattle Office of Economic Development’s Jennifer Tam welcomed the first Restaurant Success workshop of 2018 with a realistic, but optimistic, idea of what it’s like to open a food service business in the city. “There are about twice as many restaurants per person in Seattle as the rest of the state,” she explained. The information participants learned in the following two-hour class helped prepare them to succeed in this competitive, growing industry.

The Restaurant Success program is an effort between the City of Seattle, King County, the State of Washington and the Seattle Restaurant Alliance to improve the experience of opening or expanding food businesses in Seattle. The program provides online resources to clarify various requirements that entrepreneurs will face as they prepare for their first customers. Over-the-phone interpretation support is also available in over 200 languages.

Restaurant Success Orientation workshops, held at various times throughout the year with different partner organizations, are an opportunity for those interested in starting or expanding a food business to get information, ask questions, and meet peers who are facing similar situations. Hosted this month at the Greater Seattle Score offices, the class was attended by a small group of people interested in the food industry.

Over the course of the orientation, participants learned the basic first steps to opening a business and were guided through the various regulatory processes they would have to complete to open different kinds of food businesses. Farmers market vendors, for example, go through different processes and agencies than brick-and-mortar restaurants.

As Seattle’s economy booms, our restaurant industry is doing the same. Top view of Ethiopian injera - a spongy sourdough flatbread made of fermented teff flour, spread flat over a communal pan (a large platter) and topped with several kinds of wats (stews) and vegetables.The Restaurant Success program makes the process of opening or expanding a new food business accessible to those who may have little experience or resources, with the goal of creating a more equitable industry in which those from all backgrounds can succeed.

If you missed this workshop, mark your calendar for Thursday, February 15, when another Restaurant Success Orientation will be held at the Rainier Beach branch of the Seattle Public Library. You can also check out the Restaurant Success website, or reach out to Jennifer Tam at or (206) 684-3436.