So, you have dreamed of owning a restaurant for as long as you can remember? Sure, it may seem like a glamorous affair, but it all boils down to a ton of planning and a lot of hard work. There are many different areas to think about, ranging from licensing to staffing, and if you are not careful, you can get overwhelmed and make mistakes that can cost you nerves and money. If you want to launch your restaurant successfully, you need to pay attention to every little detail, no matter how trivial it may seem. With that in mind, here are the top seven things to think about when opening a restaurant.
Decide about the restaurant concept
The type of restaurant you are opening will determine everything you will do from there, including your plans for décor, the food you will serve and the staff you will choose. People who are opening a restaurant often like to cook, so they already have some ideas about the food style and the place’s atmosphere. If you still aren’t sure, here are several concepts you can consider:
● Fine dining (with this option, you need to think about professional chefs and an expensive interior design)
● Casual (similar to the first one, but without the formality)
● Buffet (this type is popular because the guests serve themselves and the meals can be pre-prepared)
● Bistro (a café that offers full meals)
● A food truck (restaurant on wheels)
● Franchise (tried and tested concept that needs to be bought from a large business)
Get the licenses in order
There are several licenses your business needs in order to get off to a good start:
● Business license
● Employer identification number
● Certificate of occupancy
● Food service license
● Liquor license
● Music license
● Sign permit
Have a foolproof business plan
A business plan is a requirement regardless of the type of the endeavor you are getting into. It can be especially useful for those in the restaurant industry where the failure rate is very high. A business plan will help you get an insight into problems you haven’t had the opportunity to consider previously, including health codes and tax laws. The plan should include start-up costs, annual budget, projected sales, marketing strategy, etc. This can be an essential asset for convincing a bank to provide you with the funds.
Location is everything
For every business, finding the right location is meaningful, but for a restaurant, that could be the make-it-or-break-it decision. You need an area that can draw a crowd, be easily accessible and visible, and have a potential for growth. Take your time searching for the best spot. Find a zone that looks like it has potential, and research the neighborhood and the competition. After all, you don’t want to open an Italian pizza place right next to an already established pizzeria. If your restaurant has an entirely different theme, that shouldn’t be an issue. The place you rent or buy should give you enough space to decorate it at will.
Kitchen – the heart of your restaurant
Kitchen appliances, cookware, and other tools of the trade are among the biggest investments you will need to make if you want to own a successful business. You need to think about the future, so it is better to invest in more expensive appliances that will last longer and save energy than to save on this crucial issue. Units such as LG appliances have Energy Star certificates which guarantee substantial savings when it comes to electricity. Going green is also useful for your reputation, which is particularly significant for new businesses. The kitchen layout should be designed to enable fast and safe food preparation.
Build the menu
Building a menu may seem like a matter of less importance compared to renting a space and coming up with a business plan, but it is far from being so. Your menu will be what attracts the customers the most, so be very careful. Think of it as an experiment. You can organize a dinner party with your potential menu, and ask your guests for feedback. Keep in mind, though, that you shouldn’t invite only your closest friends and family, but also people from the neighborhood who can be impartial. Allow anonymous comments so that people can be completely honest.
Hire the staff
Finally, you can’t run a restaurant on your own. Hire enough staff to get started. This is something that you could have figured out during the writing of your business plan. How many cooks do you need? How many dishwashers? Do you need a bartender? A manager? How many waiters? Consider the qualifications of the potential candidates, but also how hard working they are. It is crucial to have an experienced chef and a head waiter, but the remaining workers can compensate for their lack of experience with skill and enthusiasm. You can provide training for them later.
A thriving restaurant business cannot become that way without your effort and a good marketing strategy. After you are done with all these steps, make sure you invest in clever marketing tactics that will make your place a favorite hang-out in the neighborhood and beyond.