Clear all

Want to change career to open my own pho restaurant  

Posts: 1
Standard Subscriber
New Member
Joined: 4 months ago

Hi Cuong: Been lurking both the website and the forums and find your info very helpful. My question is what do you suggest my priorities should be to leave my IT job and open my own pho restaurant. I want something simple, some good food on menu plus pho, and am willing to learn and to run it by myself with whatever help I will need. Been reading up on restaurant business in the last year or so, and I know a good business plan is required, but overall I'm not quite sure what other questions to ask to get started. Can you provide some tips or how and where you would suggest for me to begin. I also read (elsewhere and on this website) about some people's experiences and definitely prefer to avoid others' mistakes.

Thank you!

4 Replies
1 Reply
Joined: 11 years ago

Pho Restaurant Consultant
Posts: 447


I think these other replies from both @haleyax87 and @vungtaukid6092 are pretty solid.

From my experience, one of the most important questions you have to ask yourself before you start are:

  • Why do this? Are you not happy with your job, your earning, your career, etc.? Why do you think this restaurant thing is better than your current IT job?
  • Why do this now? You didn't say how long you work in IT, but why change now? What is driving this decision at this time? How urgent do you want to do this (suit IT job and run pho restaurant) and how soon do youu want to switch?

Not everyone has all answers to the above questions, and the sad thing is most people have the wrong reasons to open their own pho restaurants. Reasons such as: 

  • Because pho is hot right now and they want to jump in the game.
  • Because it looks easy so they can do it too.
  • Because they want to be their own boss with no one telling them what to do; they'd rather be the boss and tell others what to do.
  • Because it's easy to make money.

As you can see, having the right mindset and solid reasons on why you want to do this now is critical. When it's all said and done, if you don't have the passion to do this then you'll quit at the first tough challenge you'll be facing.

For obvious reasons many people want to discuss these in private consultation instead of in open forums like this. This would be my suggestion as well since I will not discuss specific and personal business matters in the open without your consent.

I encourage you to ask a lot more questions and I and others can try to help you. You can choose to do it here, or reach out to me privately and I'll coach you through the process of figuring out what the best options are for your situation, why do it, and how you can pull it off. 

Posts: 24
Premium Subscriber
Eminent Member
Joined: 11 months ago

Oooh Excelent question. Allow me to help put things in perspective.

One of the things you'll want to be sure about is your expected income. You're essentially trading off your IT salary to take on a restaurant owner's potential income. I'd do a quick calculation like so:

  • Current IT salary is ~$100K (your actual number obviously can be different depending on where you are and what IT you actually do).
  • Assuming you can achieve 10% net (in your pocket) with the restaurant, then you'll need about $1M revenue per year.

That said, you'll also need about $500K (maybe more) up front to open and operate a pho restaurant with $1M revenue.

That is, IF you do a lot of things right out of the gate, and continue to go along with no waste in time and money.

At this point, many people will stop here and rethink their plan. The new thinking will definitely include making a lot of compromises to all of your assumptions, wants and needs.

My $0.02.

Posts: 17
Premium Subscriber
Active Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posted by: @haleyax87

10% net (in your pocket)

Many pho restaurants do not achieve this, at least not in the early years. But the $500K investment is about right to open a restaurant that can do $1M revenue. Of course this assumes a very good location and you negotiate a good lease.

Posts: 447
Pho Restaurant Consultant
Joined: 11 years ago


The math discussed by @haleyax87 and @vungtaukid6092 is very good estimate. You should do similar estimate to rough out what it all means in terms of what you wish to do versus reality. You have to look seriously at the math in order to make the right decision for your situation. There are a whole lot of other considerations on top of these simple forum questions and comments that will only apply to you and they will impact your decision making in major way.

Without knowing anything else about your budget and how much time you plan to get this off the ground, it's hard to suggest how you should proceed while avoiding others' mistakes.

Obviously no one will say "I want to repeat others' mistakes so I can learn."

But generally, if an entrepreneur has the time, then I'd suggest to at least get some experience working in a restaurant first, then learn as much as you can and ask as many questions as you can. Beside that, or in additional to that if you want to fast track your venture then I can work with you to prepare you for what you need to do in the time you need to do it in.