How to Start a Restaurant: 7 Tips for Opening a Successful Business
Of all the restaurants opened yearly, 60-80% will fail before they reach five years old. There are a lot of dangers that restaurants and other food businesses face. One of the big problems in the food industry is profit loss through waste. If you’re wondering how to start a restaurant, there are steps you can take to try and minimize the danger to your business.
Let’s look at seven things you can do to be more successful than the average restaurant:
1. Have a Plan
Many restaurants are opened by people who’ve always dreamed of having a restaurant. The reasons for this are always personal, but they often forget to have a plan. If you don’t plan, your business will have a much worse chance of succeeding.
A business plan should be comprehensive and researched. You should know who the competition is, what they offer, and why they are successful. Study those who have made it, and adjust your plan to take advantage of their experience.
Make sure to budget and plan for downtimes. Remember, though, a lot of restaurants can’t handle their first crowd. You don’t want to make a bad first impression on your customers. Plan to barely leave during the first week or two of operation and then plan for a business to taper down.
Take advantage of industry standards, and create a checklist for new restaurants. Make sure you understand placement and access requirements for the kitchen, servers, and customers.
2. Menu and Brand
When figuring out how to start a restaurant, remember that the brand and the menu go hand in hand. The brand must resonate with customers through the food that is offered. When you decide on your brand, stick with it.
Brand messaging should be everywhere in a restaurant. Unlike some businesses, it is imperative that the staff at the restaurant also buy into the brand. The menu and brand imaging will seem contrived and shallow if they don’t.
Brand and menu are the two most vital areas when planning a restaurant. There’s a lot of good food out there, but a brand can elevate the awareness of your restaurant beyond the competition.
3. Get the Right People
One key to managing a restaurant is to have the right employees. They are the ones who will do most of the interaction with your customers. If the cooks can’t make good food, or the servers aren’t good at customer service, your restaurant will not survive.
To run a successful restaurant, you must have both front-of-house and back-of-house work together. They have to buy in on your concept and brand. They will represent the restaurant to the average person coming in the door.
4. Secure Enough Funding
A lot of restaurants fail because they don’t have adequate financial backing. For many restaurants, business comes and goes in a feast or famine way. Secure enough funding that you will have some extra to fall back on if you have a slow week or month.
In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need to worry about this. Whether you are funding the restaurant yourself or getting a business loan, remember that you’ll need more money than you think. Whatever the plan or the budget is, make sure to add at least 20% on top of that.
5. Food Supplier
A key component of any successful food business is the quality of the food you serve. You can have the best recipes and the most highly trained chef, but it won’t matter. Bad quality food will be obvious to everyone who comes in and eats at your establishment.
Many areas have more than one purveyor. Find the one that has the best quality and price balance. You don’t need to overspend on food, but you want to pay enough for high-quality food.
You also want to work with vendors that you get along with. Having a strong personal relationship with your food vendor can help you more than you think. They have the power to make or break a restaurant, so be courteous and lean into their expertise where necessary.
6. Proper Equipment
Every restaurant needs to have the proper equipment if they are going to make it. You can have the world’s most delicious and complicated menu, and it won’t matter. If the cooks don’t have what they need to make it happen, your restaurant is going nowhere.
Even simple things like having display fridges can make a big difference. This way, your staff will know what is where and see it before reaching. Searching for a product is a huge waste of time and effort.
Also, avoid getting equipment that you don’t need. Pay close attention to what you’ve done and ensure that everything has a place.
7. Marketing and Promotion
In the modern world, you have to make sure to claim your space on Google and have a website. Many people search the internet for local options before going out to eat. Harness the power of the search engine by engaging in marketing and promotional best practices.
This includes using local SEO to garner a larger presence and more authority than other restaurants. Post a blog, and fill it with food-related and local interest content. Keep track of festivals and other events in the area, and try to get your name out as far and wide as possible.
How to Start a Restaurant
These were 7 tips on how to start a restaurant and be successful with it. The restaurant and food business is volatile and subject to many forces. The only way to be sure of success is to outwork, market, and outperform your competition. Customers will notice.
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