What’s on restaurateurs’ minds? Depends on their gender

Photograph: Shutterstock

How a restaurant owner views their business is likely to depend on whether that holding is a his or a hers, according to new research.

A survey of 1,000 small business owners found that men are significantly more likely than women to feel confident their enterprise will not fail (84% vs. 70%). Perhaps for that reason, women are more regretful they didn’t start out with a firmer grasp of financial management (32% vs. 23%).

How male and female restaurateurs differ in their thinking

Source: Progressive

The canvass also found that men’s alleged reluctance to ask for directions may have a business equivalent. Only 35% of the male respondents said they turn to friends or family members for business advice, compared with 48% of women who said they’re willing to ask for counsel.

However, gender differences disappeared when respondents were asked to recall what was uppermost in their minds when they launched their businesses. Two-thirds (65%) of both sexes cited the same concern: cash flow.

Yet a marked disparity was revealed by a question about the key current-day issue of finding employees. Nearly four out of 10 male respondents (38%) said they focus on applicants’ skills and experience, while only 31% of female participants cited those considerations. In contrast, 21% of women said they look for “soft” attributes such as passion and enthusiasm, which mattered only to 16% of the men.

The research was conducted by Progressive, a well-known insurance company. Although the survey was not limited to restaurateurs, Progressive representatives noted that new and veteran operators figured prominently into the results.

Despite male participants’ greater confidence in their success, the survey showed that male business owners were more likely than their female counterparts (72% vs. 64%) to buy insurance from the get-go. Women were more likely to forgo coverage until their startups started making a profit.

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