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7 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Restaurant

If cuisine is your passion and you fancy yourself as being a cook, then the idea of starting a restaurant may have gone through your mind once or twice. Or you’re maybe already in the process of opening one. Starting a restaurant is a great way to make money from your passion and can be very profitable when you know how to go about it the right way. However, too many people end up getting burned because they had the wrong idea of the business and what it requires. Here are some of the things everyone should know before starting a restaurant.

You Need a Solid Business Plan First

Your business plan will lay out things like your restaurant’s concept and how you intend to turn a profit. As you draft your business plan and do your research, you might already start seeing possible issues you hadn’t even thought about before, such as tax, licensing and health codes.

You should have a clear concept laid out, as it will influence everything from the menu, décor, location, and what equipment to buy. Set money aside for market research as well. You have to be able to make sound financial projections and have a clear plan to reach them. You also have to figure out how much capital you need to get started.

Location, Location, Location

The location could totally make or break your business and can have as much of an influence on your bottom line as your food and service. In this case, you have to take a look at your competition and their level of success. Look at where they’re located. While you don’t want to have too much competition, you don’t want to be the only restaurant or type of restaurant in the area. This could be a sign of a bad location. Also, try to find out if the area has been renovated lately; having the street and your facade blocked by street renovations could be disastrous for a new restaurant.

Consider Going Small First

One of the big mistakes people make when starting a restaurant is starting with a big restaurant right away. But there are so many things that could go wrong. For one, people might not like your food and start trashing your restaurant in reviews. Or you might get a food safety violation because of a neglectful employee. It’s usually better to start small so you can gauge demand and start generating revenue. A small place will have lower overheads even though it could sell great volume. You could consider starting with a small takeout restaurant or a food truck to test the waters, then move on to something bigger.

Get Familiar with Online Marketing

While there is still place for traditional marketing like print and radio/TV, as a new establishment, you’ll have to be able to use new technologies to your advantage when advertising your business. These methods tend to be much more measurable and cost effective. Not only that, but you can start seeing the results of a successful online marketing campaign almost as soon as it is implemented. One of the things you’ll have to understand is how social media ads work.

Social media platforms like Facebook allow you to put out ads with text, images or a video that allow you to showcase your business to a specific target audience. And what’s great about them is that you only pay when people click on your ads. This could be a very good advertising method when coupled with special offers. If you want to get the best results with this method, you have to work with an online marketing agency that specializes in restaurant advertising on social media. Some of them use advanced tools like artificial intelligence to figure out which ads work the best, make the proper modifications, and broadcast them at the right time to get the best results.

Understand How to Create a Great Menu

In this case, looking at what your competition is doing should give you some clues on what your menu should look like. Your menu should focus on taste and have something unique you’ll be known for. Looking at what other successful competitors are doing will allow you to make an outline for your menu and maybe tweak your recipes as well.

You’ll Need to Know How to Pick Great Staff

If you’re starting alone, then you might have to play the role of HR manager as well. Hiring a chef that knows what they’re doing is the first part. But you have to make sure that you can retain them as well. Check out how much chefs are paid on average in your type of establishment and make sure that the pay and benefits are worth it.

You also have to make sure that you invest in training for your employees. They should not only be trained on how to use the system and take orders, but on communication as well. And if possible, try to hire managers that actually have experience running a restaurant and not family members. A well-managed restaurant makes all the difference, so you want to leave this to the pros.

Don’t Skimp on the Guest Experience

This one cannot be stressed enough. If there are two areas where you can’t cut corners, it is when it comes to food quality and overall guest experience. Remember, you’re starting on a clean slate, and your first reviews are extremely crucial.

First start with nice, clean décor. No need to go overboard here, just make sure that it’s clean and modern with adequate lighting. Make sure that you make payments as easy as possible and offer all options. Have different seating arrangements for different types of diners. You should always strive to improve your guest experience and always invest in things that will add value to your guests.

Starting a restaurant is definitely a challenge, but one that can be surmounted when starting on solid foundations. Make sure that you follow our instructions if you want to make your restaurant a success.

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