In the last decade number of restaurants in America is in a steady growth. Many people are wondering how to start your own restaurant?
Rest assured, because we got you covered with the most relevant tips to open your own place.
The statistics show that an average American now spends more money dining out than buying groceries.
Although it may seem the market is already full and there’s just too many places to eat out, there are still opportunities for opening a new restaurant and keeping it afloat without too many financial difficulties.
This is what you need:
1. Target your desired customers
The first thing you need to do is decide what kind of crowd you want to attract to your restaurant.
It will be mainly determined by the type of restaurant you open.
Whether it’s a high-end dining restaurant, casual place for family dinner, bistro or specific cuisine restaurant such as Italian, Mexican, Chinese etc.
The point is not all people want to eat at all places, so you have to pick the group of customers you’ll focus on acquiring.
2. Choose an appropriate name
The name itself can be pretty important for attracting customers, so it’s important to choose it carefully.
When you start your own restaurant, the name will play a part in recruiting customers. It needs to be in harmony with the type of restaurant you’re running and the design as well.
There are few textbook examples for a killer names as follows.
If you’re opening a Pizza place it sounds better called “Giovanni’s” than “Eugene’s Pizza”.
You’re certainly not going to call your restaurant “Sea Paradise” and then sell mostly grilled steaks…
3. Design the restaurant’s ambiance
Designing the ambiance is similar to picking restaurants name.
In fact, both need to be compatible with one another and in harmony with the restaurant concept. Let’s say you have a restaurant that serves mainly sea food, fish etc.
It makes more sense to paint the walls in some shade of blue and decorate it with different motives of the sea, such as dolphin pictures, seashells on the table and so on..
4. Figure out a business plan
If you want to start your own restaurant, the business plan is one of the most important things to do.
Having it all written down on a paper you’ll get a clearer picture of your restaurant and maybe perceive difficulties you didn’t before.
That’s why you need to be as detailed as possible when writing a business plan.
Include every segment of your business, from all the expenses and permits to staff hiring and menu pricing.
5. Funding and finance
You are probably wondering – how much opening a restaurant cost?
Well, sure as hell isn’t cheap.
If you don’t have an adequate funding, you can kiss your restaurant good bye.
We’ll assume that you don’t have a large amount of money in cash to upfront for all the expenses. That’s why your business plan is important.
You’re more likely to get a loan from a bank than if you just come knocking and practically begging for money.
But banks aren’t the only solution.
With little rehearsal, you can present your idea perfectly to possible investor and/or find a partner to help you split the initial costs.
In the end, you can always try your luck by applying for one of the government’s programs for financing small businesses. It won’t cover all the costs, but it’s a good head start.
6. Perfect location to start your own restaurant
In order to start your own restaurant, picking a perfect spot for your facility plays a major role in your revenue.
It can make your restaurant huge losses if you neglect all the disadvantages because you probably don’t know they exist.
The place should be easily accessible to customers so they don’t have the struggle to get to the restaurant.
Depending on the size of the facility, there should be enough parking space for all the customers.
Also be aware of your competitors.
It may not be a good idea to choose a spot directly across a successful restaurant, especially if it targets the same crowd as you do. Be sure to check the terms of the lease so you know what you’re getting your self into.
To conclude, check your neighborhood for any future development that might help to make your location more desirable to possible customers.
7. Write a menu
Writing a menu is a science for itself.
A good menu should be short and yet not too short.
Descriptive but not too descriptive because you aren’t writing a cookbook.
It’s supposed to be easy to read and look elegant, perhaps in a leather binding.
You should definitely avoid too many pictures of food and unnecessary disclaimers.
8. Hire staff
To start your own restaurant you’ll have to employ an entire team of people qualified for the job. Finding quality staff for a reasonable price isn’t easy these days.
You need to be honest with the people you’re hiring and tell them what’s expected from them.
Everybody has to know their place and his or hers responsibility in the restaurant.
Make it clear you won’t tolerate any slacking, but also be fair on wages.
You can’t keep your staff on minimal wages and expect them to stay for a longer period.
A number of servers, chefs and cooks depend on the size of your business.
The most important thing is not to rush while hiring.
Take your time and check every applicant so you can be sure you choose the best ones.
9. Liquor licence
It doesn’t matter what type of restaurant are you running, it’s very likely that your customers want to drink an alcoholic beverage before, during or after their meal.
To accommodate them you’ll have to purchase a liquor license.
Most of the restaurants will apply for restaurant and cafe license for on-premises consumption.
However, the type of license may vary depending on your restaurant type and needs.
The rules are also different in every country. Detailed information can be found here.
10. Invest in marketing
Not just in the restaurant industry, but in many others marketing is the most important segment in acquiring customers.
It is especially important for new restaurants that don’t have their customer base yet and need to attract people in some way to come and eat at their place.
Right now, the most effective way to spread the word is social media.
So launch a page on Facebook and/or Twitter and start posting.
It’s also recommended to start a web page where anybody can get an additional info about the whole restaurant. Keep it simple though, menus, working hours, contact etc.
As it is shown, there is a lot of work to be done when you want to start your own restaurant.
Nevertheless, with some effort and imagination, the task can be completed in a few months time.
Following this opening a restaurant checklist in 10 steps will surely help you in this endeavor.