The Mission Society is hosting a virtual Career Fair this October to highlight the variety of opportunities available to students after high school and college graduation - connecting young people with professionals and sharing their invaluable advice for the future. We spoke with Julian Muscio, who introduced us to the world of restaurant ownership.
Owning and operating a restaurant is a dream job for many aspiring entrepreneurs. In fact, there were over 1 million restaurants open in the United States in 2020, and that number is projected to rise in the next decade. With such a competitive market, the role of a restaurant owner and operator is to ensure their establishment runs smoothly, providing quality food and service that will set them apart from the rest.
To learn more about this field, we spoke with Julian Muscio, Owner and Operator of Luna Restaurant in Jersey City, New Jersey. As the son of a restaurant owner, Julian was introduced to the food service industry at an early age. It was through his father’s experience where he saw first-hand the hard work this field required.
“Growing up in my father’s restaurant, I saw how it worked and the toll it would take. But I also saw the beautiful relationships you can create, and all of the opportunities you have in terms of being creative and being your own boss.”
After earning a degree in Spanish and International Business, Julian found himself unsure of which career to pursue after college - a common challenge many recent graduates face. He decided to return to his father’s restaurant as he figured out next steps. This sparked his interest in restaurant operations, and he eventually began managing the family-owned business.
Later, Julian came across a vacant space in Jersey City, where he pictured himself running his own restaurant. He inquired about the space, negotiated a good deal for the property, and opened the doors to Luna Restaurant. There, he oversees all the day-to-day operations, including managing and hiring kitchen staff, ordering and maintaining inventory, ensuring the safety and quality of ingredients, and developing new marketing strategies to attract customers.
Before taking the leap into entrepreneurship, Julian suggests managing someone else’s restaurant to gain valuable hands-on experience and uncover the realities of operating a business. He recommends using online resources on social media to learn about the many flavors of the food service industry. Even with years of experience under his belt, Julian still finds himself seeking advice from Youtube channels like “Restaurant Boss” to find new ways to improve his restaurant and keep up with this ever-changing industry.
Through the years, Julian has discovered the recipe for success for any aspiring restaurant owner. First, cultivating strong organizational skills is invaluable. With a total of about 30 employees at his restaurant, it can be challenging to keep track of scheduling the necessary cooks and wait staff on any given day. He also has to maintain the necessary ingredients required to make each dish on the menu, without overstocking so nothing spoils and gets thrown away. The average restaurant profit margin falls between 3–5%, so being organized allows him to not only better serve customers, but also avoid financial losses.
Next, providing a welcoming and enjoyable experience for his customers is crucial for the business. From the intentional ambiance he creates to the carefully crafted cuisine they offer, Julian shares that providing a unique dining experience where his community can feel at home is very rewarding, and recommends this field to those who find joy in serving others.
Ensuring his staff feel as supported as his guests do is the last secret ingredient to his thriving business. Oftentimes, restaurants face high employee turnover rates due to staff working during transition periods in their lives or when juggling more than one job. Being understanding and building meaningful connections with his staff encourages a supportive workplace culture that can lead to a longer-lasting commitment.
“As a strong leader, you have to have a clear vision and manage your employees well, but at the same time, you need to be understanding and empathetic in your employees’ lives and towards your customers.”
Julian understands how special going out to dinner with friends and family can be. He shares that it is a privilege to create that setting for everyone who steps through his doors, especially when they take the opportunity to visit his restaurant. Restaurants are more than just the food you serve - they are places where memories are made and relationships are formed. For anyone dreaming of opening their own restaurant, know that you too can create someone’s favorite gathering place one day.
Thank you to Julian Muscio for taking the time to speak with us for the Mission Society Career Fair! To join us for more job highlights, advice, and interviews throughout the month, check out our blog or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.