Owning one's own business and being one's own boss has a powerful allure for most people. The work can be difficult, and running a company can require more hours than working for someone else. However, the financial rewards, and the personal satisfaction associated with having one's own business can be considerable. When the business is one with a high level of social interaction, such as a restaurant, there are personal rewards that move beyond the financial satisfaction that may result. A successful restaurant becomes a part of the community that it serves and can become a focal point of that community. This makes the restaurant business very different from other types of businesses and adds to the personal satisfaction that the owner receives. However, restaurants also have traditionally low operating margins and are one of the riskier businesses that can be developed. This research examines the issues associated with running a seasonal restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland, and the important considerations that such restaurateurs needs to take into account.
Ocean City, Maryland, is located on the state's lower eastern shore in Worcester County. As early as 1869, tourists began coming to the area (built on a ten-mile long barrier reef) and a 400-room hotel opened in 1875. An amusement park opened in the early 1900s, and the entire area increased in popularity when the railroad was extended to reach Ocean City and when a bridge was built across Sinepuxtent Bay.
The area received a boost from a hurricane in 1933 which created a natural harbor and provided the impetus for a strong commercial fishing center. Today, Ocean City attracts local and long-distance visitors from late spring through late fall and has more than 22,000 seats available in sit-down restaurants (not including fast food and carry out stores).
In addition, West Ocean City, located across the bay from Ocean City, is home to a commercially active economi...