Use This Taking Over a Restaurant Checklist for Your Establishment
Taking over a restaurant is a first choice business for most people aspiring to get into business on a tight budget quickly. Considering all the time and money you’d otherwise spend if you decide to set up a restaurant from scratch, buying an existing restaurant makes more sense. The amount you spend when acquiring a restaurant varies according to different factors. However, the average selling price ranges between 25% to 40% of the annual operating income.
Before buying a restaurant, there are certain complexities you should be aware of. First, you need to know the reason the restaurant is being sold. Is it because the building’s structure is compromised, necessitating closure of operations? Does the restaurant have a bad reputation in the area? Or is the restaurant business unattractive in the area?
Most sellers aren’t willing to disclose such information when looking to sell their business. It’s your responsibility to conduct a thorough investigation to establish if it still makes sense to take over a restaurant. The last thing you want is to buy into problems, and the following “taking over a restaurant checklist” should help.
1. Upgrade Your HVAC
The first item on your taking over a restaurant checklist is to upgrade your HVAC system; an effective HVAC system is critical when running a restaurant business. It ensures the circulation of clean air and guarantees comfort for diners and the staff working at your restaurant. However, you need to hire a professional HVAC contractor to diagnose issues with the system and determine if it needs repair or replacement.
HVAC systems don’t last forever. They are constantly exposed to elements that could cause wear and tear. It’s important to know how long the system has been in use and whether it has been well-maintained. Of course, you don’t expect the seller to be truthful. Get your contractor to inspect the system to determine if you need a new air conditioning installation.
An example of a sign to look out for when taking over a restaurant checklist is excessive smoke in the kitchen. Of course, there has to be at least some smoke in the kitchen. However, if the smoke is too much, it indicates the makeup air unit and the exhaust hood are faulty.
2. Invest in Quality Seating
When guests come into your restaurant, the first thing they do is get a spot to sit. Imagine a guest pulling a chair to sit only for them to notice it’s not stable. Do you think they would still want to sit and dine there? Therefore, investing in quality seats should be the second item in taking over a restaurant checklist. Your choice of chairs and tables will not only enhance the restaurant’s appearance and mood but also determine your customers’ comfort.
As a restaurant owner, choosing the right furniture for your restaurant is important. Choose furniture that matches the restaurant’s esthetics and guarantees customer comfort. With such an extensive catalog of furniture, this task can be overwhelming. However, Adirondack furniture is a good example of furniture that can be re-purposed to fit any restaurant setting while ensuring customer comfort.
Besides ensuring comfort, durability is another important factor when choosing restaurant furniture. Although the initial cost of buying durable furniture for your restaurant might be high, it’s a more cost-effective choice in the long run. High-quality furniture is less prone to damage and, therefore, doesn’t require repairs and replacements.
3. Repair Your Roof
The roof is an important part of every building. In a restaurant, it’s crucial for the success of your business. When the kitchen grease flows to overflow traps and mixes with debris and rainwater, it might cause backups and clogs. Consequently, the roofing material could break down and result in leaks. Depending on the severity of the damage, the leaks could destroy your restaurant’s supplies, including dinnerware, in a matter of minutes.
Never underestimate roofing issues. Hire a contractor to crosscheck your “taking over a restaurant checklist,” not only for roof maintenance but to ensure the roof is in good condition. An inspection will help you catch potential problems before they escalate into emergencies just when you officially take over the restaurant. If, for example, the building uses asphalt shingle roofing and has a few shingles missing, replace them now to avoid replacing an entire roof later on.
Remove grease and other debris clogging the gutters to ensure rainwater is collected and drained effectively. When choosing a contractor to assess your roof, hire a reputable and experienced one. Check for customer reviews from different websites to get recommendations from previous clients. The best advice you can get is from someone who has used the service you’re looking for and was satisfied with the outcome.
4. Decorate Your Windows
There’s a reason why most restaurants feature windows in their establishments. People love natural lighting, and huge windows are highly effective at letting in light from outside. A client will most likely choose a restaurant with large windows as these allow them to view the outdoors while enjoying their meal or a drink. Besides, large windows allow natural lighting to a room, making it feel like being outside right from the comfort of your restaurant. Instead of plain windows, consider customizing them to complement the design of your restaurant.
The windows are the first thing potential customers see when they look at your restaurant. As much as they want to enjoy beautiful views and natural lighting, they would also like a bit of privacy. For this, install local custom shutters to ensure the clients get sufficient light and views while keeping prying eyes out.
To further make your restaurant unique, use window decals to display your menu, spotlight promotions, and incorporate other decorative elements to attract the attention of passersby, who are your potential clients. The decals add to the allure of your restaurant, displaying boldly and colorfully what clients will get once they enter your restaurant. This is so critical as it sets the vibe a prospective customer can expect once they enter your restaurant.
5. Schedule an Inspection
Inspections should also make it to your “taking over a restaurant checklist.” Since not all issues can be uncovered during a casual walk by a restaurant building, you’ll need a close look before considering buying the restaurant. Hire a contractor to inspect the building to ensure all the structure is solid, and if there are structural issues, they are identified and resolved. In the long run, scheduling an inspection can save you money and time.
If you’re taking over an old restaurant building, one of the issues an inspection may unmask is the presence of asbestos. According to Baxter Environmental Group INC, most buildings constructed before 1980 are likely to have asbestos present. When disturbed or not removed properly, asbestos can severely harm customers and other occupants in the restaurant. Hire a qualified professional for an asbestos removal service.
Pests and rodents are other hazards that could compromise the structure of your building. For example, termites gnaw on wood until they destroy it, making the building unstable. Look for local pest control companies in your area for a pest contractor to eliminate all pests and rodents in the building.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Remodel
The previous restaurant may not have necessarily had the same design or theme as you would want. Consider including a remodel in your “taking over a restaurant checklist.” Regardless of how much maintenance is done, eventually, the restaurant will start to look tired and outdated. A time will come when you’ll give the restaurant a new face. You may need to call the demolition team to remove a wall to create more space, remodel the kitchen, the client’s sitting area or any other remodel you might be contemplating. The best time to transform a restaurant is when you’re taking over. Start by remodeling the building and promoting your new brand and culture to customers.
As you remodel the restaurant building, take this time to market your brand to customers, assuring them that they’ll continue to receive great products and services. By remodeling, you’ll create a new experience for the customers, which will keep them coming back. The goal is to generate buzz around your brand by creating an unforgettable customer experience.
Examples of remodels that could transform your restaurant include installing new light fixtures, updating the furnishing, investing in new dishware, and installing quality floors. Remodeling the restaurant will allow you to attract new customers by transforming your establishment’s general appearance and customer experience. It’ll also help you retain the regulars as they’ll consider the remodel an attempt by the new management to enrich their dining experience.
7. Purchase Delivery Vehicles
To reach a wider market, offer delivery services to your customers. As you consider your options, find out whether the restaurant delivers services to the customer. If they don’t, add this to your “taking over a restaurant checklist.” Before purchasing a delivery vehicle, research and settle for a cost-effective one.
Besides buying the delivery vehicle, you’ll also have to incur maintenance costs. If you, for example, decide to use a jeep as a delivery vehicle, ensure it has a working car air conditioning for comfort when driving. Also, ensure the tires are in good condition to avoid delivery accidents. You’ll also need jeep accessories such as a cooler box to ensure customers receive their meals in good condition.
8. Evaluate The Staff
According to The Business Plan Shop, the law requires you to retain the staff after taking over a restaurant. This can be challenging, especially since you don’t have a say in hiring. However, it’s your responsibility to create strong relationships with the managerial team and the rest of the staff. These people will help you achieve your restaurant business’s goals.
The truth is, taking over a restaurant can be an exciting experience. However, the same can’t be said about existing employees. Studies show that some employees quit their jobs during a takeover, citing a lack of trust in the new management, a risk of losing their jobs, and a dislike for the new company culture as their reasons for leaving. It’s essential to have open communication channels to ensure the staff doesn’t feel left out. Assure that things will only improve and that their jobs are secure.
9. Assess the Equipment
Restaurant equipment is important in ensuring efficiency and quality of service. As you review the “taking over a restaurant checklist,” ensure all the relevant equipment is in place. Take stock of all equipment in the restaurant, checking whether any should be repaired or replaced. Restaurant equipment isn’t cheap; you’ll need to consider several factors if you need to replace any of them. You have the option of either buying new equipment or used ones. While you may not have the money to buy the equipment, there are financing options you can use to acquire whatever equipment you need.
10. Get the Relevant Licenses
You’ll get into trouble with the authorities if you attempt to run a restaurant business without the relevant licenses and permits. This must be on your “taking over a restaurant checklist.” If you take over a restaurant that offers the same services you’re seeking to offer, you may not need new licenses. However, if you want to transform the restaurant into a bar, you’ll require additional licenses.
Licenses keep businesses alert and keen to meet all the requirements. Flaunting a license’s requirements could result in its withdrawal. For instance, compromising on the health and safety of the public could lead to license cancelation. How much you spend on licenses varies according to the type of business you hope to conduct and the location of the business. It’s your responsibility to research the regulations for your state to establish what your obligations are.
If you want to take over a restaurant as a new business venture, go for it. Of course, just like any business, taking over a restaurant has its fair share of complexities. Many other players exist in the industry, making the competition stiff. The only way to get ahead is to restaurant service and products that stand out. From the restaurant’s design to the food, beverages, and other services, seek to give your clients a dining experience they’ve never had. Remember, success in the restaurant industry is based on the quality of service you offer, your unique value proposition, and the meals and drinks. This “taking over a restaurant checklist” provides a good place to start. Here’s to your success!