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I have some ideas for a restaurant, however I don't see myself working in one. So I've been wondering if it is possible to hire / create a company with someone who would open a restaurant in my place and manage it according to my guidelines. I guess it'd be like an intellectual property.

I don't know whether this depends on the country, if it does I'm interested in Italy.

  • Sleske's answer is correct, but fails to mention that for all practical purposes you will most likely need to put in a good deal of personal time and effort to make any money from the restaurant. To avoid doing that, you'd need to hire a competent and ethical manager, and that would probably eat into any profit you would otherwise realize, since good and reliable employees are generally expensive. – phoog Mar 22 '17 at 17:43
  • @phoog Yes, I know it's not easy at all, but I won't be a restaurateur. My job will be another. However I do like my idea, I will make the necessary calculations and research to see if it is realisable. How much would a good manager cost me? – Vincenzo Oliva Mar 22 '17 at 21:41
  • @phoog: Yes, that's why I wrote "Someone will need to manage..." . I'll try to clarify my answer. – sleske Mar 23 '17 at 8:00
  • @sleske, phoog : Ah, I googled a bit and found that a restaurant manager should earn from 30000 to 50000 euros a year, gross. – Vincenzo Oliva Mar 23 '17 at 8:35
  • "Having ideas" is not generally a paying activity (partly because anyone else can have the same idea or copy yours); what makes it viable is the amount of work you put in. – Tim Lymington supports Monica Mar 23 '17 at 9:52
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I've been wondering if it is possible to hire / create a company with someone who would open a restaurant in my place and manage it according to my guidelines.

Yes, of course. You can do it just like you described: Create a company, hire employees, (let them) open the restaurant.

You, as the owner of the company, could set up whatever guidelines you have in mind, and your employees would be bound by them (limited only by general laws, such as on health and safety).

Some caveats, however:

  • You will need money to set this up - for buying / renting space for the restaurant, for paying your employees, obtaining supplies, initial marketing etc. It may take a while until the restaurant earns money (if ever), and you'll need money in the mean time.
  • Someone will need to manage, that is make decisions. You can do that yourself, but then you will work for the restaurant (which you write you do not want to do). Or you can hire someone to do it for you, but that will cost more (in salary), plus you will have to find someone you can trust. That's a tradeoff for you to make.

I guess it'd be like an intellectual property.

That depends, but usually there will be little in terms of intellectual property.

If you have a unique idea for the restaurant, you could patent it, but there are many restrictions on what you can protect, and ways around it, plus this also costs money (a lot if you need a lawyer's advice).

Apart from that, you can register a trademark for the restaurant, but that only protects the name / logo, not any ideas.

Finally, some of your ideas might be considered trade secrets, but again the protection is limited.

In general, there is no blanket "idea protection". If you have a good idea for a restaurant, in most cases other restaurants will be able to copy them, possibly with slight changes - take that into account.

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What you are probably looking for is a franchise agreement.

You would be the franchisor, the person granting the franchise, the other person the franchisee. This is not a relationship of employer and employee. The franchisee is an independent trader or company. He is operating the restaurant in his own capacity. You, however, provide him with your idea how he runs the it. For example, which clothing the waiters wear, what color the tables and chairs must have. Furthermore, you can agree that he has to buy ingredients from you to ensure a certain quality standard. You can also participate in his revenue.

You also will grant him a license to use your registered trademark under which you advertise the restaurant(s) participating in the franchise. While you can protect your business idea only to some degree, the value of the business accrues to the trademark, i.e. to you and not to the franchisee himself. For example, if McDonald's (which is mainly a franchise system) terminates a franchise agreement, the franchisee can still copy most of McDonald's system. However, as he cannot use the trademark anymore, this will probably not be very successful. The downside is of course, that the franchisee can also harm the reputation of your trademark.

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    Good answer. The other (important) downside is that you must first find people willing to be franchisees. As the franchisees incur a lot of risk themselves, they will be quite cautious about a new franchise system. – sleske Mar 23 '17 at 8:02

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