Feasibility of Opening a Restaurant with Collaborators?

For the past several months, I've been seriously considering a pipe dream shared by 90% of American males: opening a bar, specifically a brewpub.

Currently, I've got four experienced brewers and two other experienced cooks talking about this as a serious option and others on the fence. The expectation is that we're at least five years out from making a go of this. That time will be used to build up savings, gain experience, and develop recipes and a business plan among other things. Before we get too far down that road, though we're trying to figure out feasibility issues before anybody gets too excited or committed.

Chief among the many obstacles is that virtually all of us want to have families (some already do), and we know that running any sort of restaurant can make that incredibly hard. The hope is that, with a relatively simple menu that several people know intimately, we could split responsibilities in a way that would allow each of us to have some semblance of a life.

Obviously, more top level partners means everybody gets a smaller share of the profits. We'd then need to stay in this arrangement longer while we work to become profitable enough to hire competent managers to take over some of the day to day.

My question to those inspiring restaurant chefs and owners among you, then, is this: In this sort of low-key setting, is the multiple executive chef model practical? If our goal (as individuals) isn't to be wealthy so much as to not be killing ourselves to make ends meet inside of two-three years of opening, is this reasonably possible? Assume, out of charity, a reasonable business plan, location, and quality of service.


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