Restaurant Opening Tips for the New Entrepreneur
More and more people are ordering take out during the pandemic. It makes sense since most restaurants are not offering dine-in or limiting are their seating capacity. Right now wouldn’t be the best time to open a restaurant, but a take-out business is a whole other story.
People love a new bar grill restaurant, but those are a thing of the past right now. The best way to order food is by looking online for great reviews, and you’ll want your restaurant to get great reviews right from the start. That means you need not only a business plan and supplies, but a marketing strategy as well.
You’ll need to market your restaurant with paid advertising, word-of-mouth, and a website. People are continuously looking for ways to get food near me and for restaurants that deliver and are open near me, why not cash in the abundance going around. The business of food is recession-proof so if you can come up with a brand, a menu, and the capital, you can start your own restaurant business today.
However, if you are an entrepreneur looking to open your own restaurant, you probably have a lot of questions about the process. In fact, opening a restaurant is actually a common business idea. Almost half of all adults in the United States will work in a restaurant at some time in their lives. This knowledge and experience in the restaurant industry can be incredibly valuable when starting a restaurant of your own. In addition, about 46% of all restaurant employees say they would eventually like to open their own restaurant.
Although many do not plan on their dreams of opening a restaurant to fail, almost 20% of all new restaurants close within their first year of opening. However, the restaurant business and foodservice trends are constantly growing and thriving, as over half of all adults in the United States eat out at a restaurant at least one time a week. If you are interested in opening your own restaurant, here are some restaurant opening tips to increase your chances and success and reduce your chances of closing within your first year.
Restaurant Opening Tips
Opening your own restaurant is no small feat. It requires a lot of forethought and planning. These restaurant opening tips will demystify the process and prepare for this difficult undertaking.
Deciding On a Concept and Brand
One of the first restaurant opening tips that will be crucial to your success is choosing a clear concept and brand. Your restaurant’s concept encompasses the food served, style of service, and the restaurant ambiance. Your restaurant’s concept should coincide with your brand, which includes the personality, identity, and mission of your restaurant. The concept and brand of your restaurant go hand in hand. Your restaurant’s dining room should properly reflect your concept and your brand. This will help create a unique and memorable experience for your customers and entice them to come back. At this point, you can begin looking into a construction company to begin the process.
When deciding on your restaurant’s concept and brand, one of the most important things you can do is to target a specific demographic. Think about your restaurant’s lighting, decoration, music, how casual the atmosphere will be, and whether or not you will have a mobile point of sale system. All these choices will factor into what demographic you are trying to target.
Creating a Menu
Long before your restaurant’s official opening, you should begin thinking about your menu. The food items you decide to feature on your menu will determine what kind of staff you will have to hire, what type of equipment you will need, and the type of crowd you hope to attract. You do not have to flesh out the entire menu and perfect every recipe at this point, unless your restaurant focuses on a single item, like a pizzeria. At this point, you do want to have a firm understanding of what type of food will be served at your restaurant. Once you do, you will know what kind of equipment you will need, such as pizza ovens for a pizzeria, you can contact a kitchen remodeling company. Later on down the road, you can begin to begin thinking about what menu items will be most popular and how to maximize profits.
Coming Up With a Business Plan
Another one of the most important restaurant opening tips that will be crucial to your financial success is coming up with a thorough and well thought out business plan. A business plan will help you seek out and apply for loans to start your restaurant. A business strategy will also help you appeal to potential investors. The main components of a restaurant business plan are a restaurant description and overview, executive summary, business offerings, market analysis, management, financial projection, and strategy for public relations and marketing.
To find out how much funding you will need for your restaurant, figure out the total amount you will need in startup costs to get your restaurant up and running and how much it will cost to keep your restaurant in business on a day to day basis. Once you have calculated the total cost, you can create a budget to predict how much you will need on a yearly basis to stay in operation. Do not forget to include the costs of any permits or licenses you will need.
When opening a restaurant for the first time, you might be unaware of all the local, state, and federal licenses and permits you will need before you can open. In fact, retaining legal counsel to assist you with the process of filing for restaurant licenses and permits is one of the most helpful restaurant opening tips one could offer. Having legal counsel present will ensure that you complete every necessary step with ease. If you are in need of additional funding, think about applying for restaurant startup loans to cover the costs of opening your restaurant.
Choosing a Location
There are a few restaurant opening tips to assist you with choosing a location. When deciding on a location to open your new restaurant, consider features like accessibility and visibility first. You want a location that can be easily noticed when walking or driving by, preferably a location that sees a lot of traffic on foot and in cars. When choosing a location, also consider parking, if the parking lot requires asphalt paving, and how accessible it and the restaurant is on foot and by car. Another aspect to consider when choosing a location is demographics. Think about whether or not the demographics of the area you are considering matches the target market of your restaurant.
When choosing a location for your restaurant, consider factors such as the minimum wage and labor costs in the area. These factors are important to consider because they might actually end up cutting into your profit margin. It is also a good idea to know what potential employees in the area will expect in terms of wages. The final factor to consider when choosing a location is how competitive the area is. Having competition in the area can actually help a lot with marketing, but it is also a good idea to avoid too highly competitive areas to guarantee that customers will be lost to similar establishments.
Once you have decided on a location and have found a space, it is highly recommended to lease the space. Leasing provides you with more flexibility in terms of expansion and the ability to solve problems that are likely to occur when you are just starting out. If your restaurant is part of a resort or hotel, resort design services will be available to help you achieve that look you might be looking for.
Finding a Supplier
One of the most common restaurant opening tips offered by successful restaurant owners is to have a good supplier. Every successful restaurant has a reliable and reasonably priced supplier of ingredients and equipment. Most restaurants use a wholesale supplier, which provides most of their needs in one place at wholesale prices along with fast and free shipping. Some wholesale suppliers will install or hook up appliances for you. If not, you will need a commercial electric contractor to complete this task for you.
Along with providing the best quality restaurant equipment, wholesale suppliers also usually have an expert customer service team to assist you. Along with a reliable supplier, garbage removal is necessary to remove the inevitable waste created by a restaurant.
Designing Your Restaurant
When opening your first restaurant, you need to put a lot of careful thought into designing and organizing your restaurant’s layout to match your theme and menu. The main goal of designing your restaurant is to create a structured flow from the front of the house all the way to the back. This includes everything from the host, bar wallpaper, and the kitchen.
After you have designed your restaurant’s basic layout, you can start designing the dining room. Keep in mind that your design should not just be about aesthetics. Your dining room and seating layouts need to mesh well with the rest of your floor plan, meet government regulations, and accommodate a certain capacity. Do not forget about designing the exterior of your restaurant, such as doors, windows, and the roof. Commercial roofing services can assist you with this step.
One of the most important steps of opening a restaurant is hiring a capable and trustworthy staff that is able to carry out all the tasks involved in operating a restaurant. Before hiring a staff, think about all the roles that need to be filled at your specific restaurant. These roles may include supervisors and management, sales and marketing, human resources, public relations, supply purchasing, receiving and storing supplies, HVAC services, auditing and accounting, food service, food preparation, dishwashing, and bar services.
When hiring staff for the front and back of the house, look for applicants who have previous experience and the ability to work fast, efficiently, and even multitask at times. This is not to mention the ability to work with others and stay composed. Employees working at the front of the house should particularly possess these pivotal social skills. The type of staff you need will vary based on the type of restaurant you are opening, but there are a few vital roles that almost every restaurant needs to fill, including a general manager, executive chef, sous chefs, prep cooks, hosts, bartenders, servers, bussers, food runners, dishwashers, and a kitchen appliance repair service.
One of the best restaurant opening tips is advertising. In the United States, there are currently over 660,000 different restaurants, so getting the word out about your new restaurant is crucial. When presented with information about your restaurant, potential customers should be intrigued and excited to try it out. If you have a limited budget for advertising, social media is a free and effective way to get the word out. Be sure to create new accounts specifically for your restaurant on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and frequently post photos, news, and other information about your restaurant to help establish your brand. Posting high-quality photos of food is one of the best ways to grab the attention of potential customers and lure them into your restaurant.
To complement your social media presence, you should also have a website dedicated to your restaurant. It should be visually appealing, user friendly, and coincide with your brand. The website should also include some basic information about your restaurant, such as the menu, hours of operation, address, and phone number. Creating an account for your restaurant on Yelp is another way you can advertise online for free. On Yelp, potential customers will be able to find your restaurant and post reviews after dining there. Since Yelp is a popular site that sees a lot of traffic, creating an account will instantly boost your popularity, particularly if you receive rave reviews and feedback.
If you have the money in your budget, there are also many paid advertising options available to you. Purchasing a spot for advertising in your local paper is a relatively cheap and cost-effective option to make people aware of your new restaurant. If you can, a featured story or article is an even better option.
Hosting a Soft Opening
Every list of restaurant opening tips will include hosting a soft opening, which is basically a practice run for your restaurant. Before you open your new restaurant to the general public, host a soft opening for only a limited number of people. This will allow you and your staff to practice certain tasks in real-time and pinpoint exactly where you can be more efficient. Sometimes soft openings are held as private gatherings for family and friends or are open to a limited number of walk-ins.
A popular soft opening strategy is to offer a limited menu, generally about half the size of your actual menu. This will make the soft opening easier on your staff and encourage customers to return to see the unveiling of the full menu. Sometimes soft openings just serve breakfast and lunch for a few days, and then dinner for one day. Another option is to host a happy with just a few select menu items and drinks.
Opening your own restaurant for the first time can be a daunting and stressful task, but as the restaurant industry grows, opening a restaurant will always remain a lucrative business venture. With these restaurant opening tips and proper planning and execution, your restaurant will not only survive your first year, but it will also flourish.
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