So, you’ve decided to open a restaurant. You’re excited, and maybe a bit nervous. You’re anxious to dive in and begin planning for an opening. One thing though: You’ve never done this before and don’t know where to begin. Here are some key elements that you must consider before opening your own restaurant business.
What’s the Right Location?
When deciding on a location, you must consider a few things: Is this location centralized for guests to access easily? Is parking accessible and close to the entrance? Is this a location that has housed failed restaurant establishments in the past? And is the building itself up to proper safety code? It’s not enough for your restaurant to be in an area that you prefer. Remember, you are making this decision for all your guests as well. So if you want to attract individuals who might live across town, then consider having your restaurant be in a location that can be easily accessed and centrally located. If you find a pre-existing building in the location of your choice, you must have an inspector make sure everything is up to par. HVAC and plumbing services can be easily accessed and quickly taken care of, in the event your building isn’t up to code. Consider having other major areas updated as well, such as roofing and electrical wiring. Sometimes, by replacing or updating certain things while your restaurant is under construction, you end up eliminating the chore of having to replace it later, once you’re up and running.
What’s your Business Plan?
How you construct your business model is a key element to succeeding. Because the restaurant business can be a fickle one, you should spend a good amount of time coming up with what distinct ways you plan to present your restaurant to the world. Don’t fret — you can find plenty of information out there to help you make some of these decisions. You even have options for online liberal arts degree programs with a focus on economics and business if you’d like to learn about more in-depth planning and implementation. A part of the creation of your business model is including your business concept, marketing strategy, and even your menu choices. Your business plan is the bible of your business and will set the expectations for not only investors but any other participants involved in making your restaurant possible. This also includes your proposed cost of starting up, how much you expect to make in revenue and any other expenses attached to advertising, marketing, and other miscellaneous costs. The business plan is the most important piece of the planning process, so be sure to put a good amount of time, energy and effort into making it be as precise as possible.
What’s the Concept?
It’s almost the end of 2018, and we’re already anxious to see what will be popular in 2019. Nowadays that includes far more than just technology, but also residential options, motor vehicles, and dining experiences. This is where a concept comes in. The concept defines what makes something unique and interesting. It includes all these elements combined: What makes your restaurant stand out; what food is offered and how it’s served; how is it decorated and what the atmosphere is like. Is there an element of surprise? What will make people return? For some business entrepreneurs, this is the fun part, because it brings their vision to life. When making these decisions, try to consider both what your restaurant would look like with a dream budget, and what you could come up with if you have a lower budget to work with. For instance, say you decide on a Southern restaurant concept and you’re looking at decoration options. Consider checking out the prices of plantation shutters in Melbourne as well as what might be available at your local hardware store. Comparing online shopping to local businesses will leave you with more cost-effective choices, and that should save you money and provide the look you’re going for. Consider being traditional, with simple concepts that you might add modern touches to. Or you could go the opposite way, and develop a futuristic environment that utilizes the latest seamlessly integrated technology. Keep in mind that your concept should flow throughout your restaurant, so if you decide on a specific decoration theme, it’s also reflected in the food and the atmosphere as well.
What’s on the Menu?
The menu is often the first thing people think of when choosing a restaurant. Food is a universal language, and when it comes to opening a restaurant, the food can be the deciding factor between success and failure. Whether you are the chef or you are bringing Mama’s recipes to another individual to cook, creating the right menu is key. Not only what goes on the menu, but also the menu itself. Say you have a concept centered around creating a Mediterranean bistro. You may want to consider a simple yet tasteful one-sided menu, with easy-to-read text and a delightful font. Consider what the food would cost by looking into which vendors are capable of delivering the best ingredients. Compare the wholesale fruit and vegetables in Sydney to the ones in San Francisco. Look into the cost of offering a dish that can’t be found at another restaurant close by. Or introduce an international ingredient that changes a traditional dish into something magical that only your restaurant serves. Keep in mind that these unique decisions are going to directly affect how well your restaurant does. If it’s gorgeous with all the bells and whistles but skimps on tasty food, then you may have to rethink what you are serving. However, if you decide on a straightforward, easy restaurant concept but managed to create a killer menu, then you just might have a winning restaurant on your hands.
Now that the initial planning is over, you want to consider the actual opening of your restaurant. You can’t do it alone, so it’s good to start looking at hiring management. Bringing an experienced person to act as either general manager or assistant GM who will help with hiring the rest of your crew, including front-of-house and back-of-house staff. You’ll also want to hire a marketing team to help get the word out. Social media might be your best friend when it comes to spreading the word quickly about your new establishment, but also consider placing ads in local papers and magazines. Some say you have to spend money to make money, so giving away a free appetizer or dessert is one good way to get people through the door. And once they’re there, be prepared to wow them with music or entertainment. Entice them with outstanding customer service, food, and drinks. And invite them back by advertising a weekly promotion or by using an app for your restaurant to push information directly to your customers.
If you set out to create a space that people enjoy by surrounding them with great food, service and a welcoming atmosphere, you’ll be well on your way to having a successful restaurant. However, with the right concept, planning, and execution, along with the right people and consistency, you should not only have success but also see longevity and business growth.