Starting a restaurant is a dream for many people out there, however, it’s something that’s far more complex than just renting out a venue, composing a menu, or even acquiring the necessary licenses. Think about it. These three steps are something that every single restaurant business had to do in order to launch, yet, some of these businesses thrived and prospered while others failed miserably. So, what made the difference? In order to succeed you need to understand that a restaurant business is equal parts restaurant and business. This means that you need to learn how to run a business as much as you have to know how to run a restaurant. Here are some tips that might help you with both.
Start with a Business Plan
In order to make a solid restaurant business plan, there are several factors that you have to take into consideration. First, you need to have an outline of a concept in your mind. What is it that you want to achieve? Other than this, you need to have a sample menu, the description of the service that you intend to provide and a management team that will help you execute all of this. Aside from this, you need some brand markings like the logo and the name of the restaurant. This will be important in your advertising efforts that might come sooner than you expect them to.
Choose the Location
The next important choice that you have to make is choosing the location. Namely, there are some spots that naturally drive more crowds than others, however, these locations have venues that are, by their nature, more expensive. Therefore, you need to find something that fits both your plans and your budget. Local opportunities like startup incubators are also incredibly important and yes, this trend also exists in the restaurant industry. Most importantly, relocating a restaurant is not like relocating a business in another industry. Once you move, you’ll have to start over, because you’ll lose the majority of your customer base through this act. This is why the choice of location needs to be a permanent decision.
Catering: Yay or Nay?
One of the most important decisions that you’ll have to make is deciding whether will you enter the catering business or avoid this altogether. Sure, it’s a lucrative way of increasing your sales, even diversifying your services, however, it requires you to improve your organization, prepare your team to work on a time limit and have a minimum number of people for the event that you’re serving. There’s something more important than pleasing your customer – remaining profitable. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you aren’t one hundred percent sure that this is the right choice, you can always outsource your catering services to someone else.
Testing Your Menu
Your menu is probably the determining factor when it comes to your success. Just think about it, the ratio of quality/quantity of food to price is what will put you on the map. You need to offer something unique, something that your guests won’t be able to find anywhere else and make it affordable while keeping a healthy ROI. You also need to ensure that the deal that you’ve made with your supplier is good enough in the long run. Keeping too many variables on the menu is not good from a logistical standpoint. You’ll have to keep a stock of ingredients (some of which are perishables) for meals that no one ever orders. All of these factors need to be considered in due time.
The way in which you print the menu card matters. Products that you have to offer need to be organized into categories (e.g. meals, drinks, desserts, specials), and you need to include photos of the given food in order to subconsciously influence your guest’s appetite. Mentioning the size of the portion may increase the trust between you and the guest, which is always a good thing. A brief description of the ingredients may also help out people with various allergies.
Importance of Local Business Registries
Finally, the best way to create return guests and regulars is to provide outstanding service the first time around. In order to get there in the first place, you need to have a steady influx of new customers. The simplest way to achieve this is to either get word of mouth (WOM) recommendations or get your business listed on a local business registry. Let’s be completely honest and admit that the vast majority of people turn to their phones when deciding where to eat. This means that it’s paramount that you’re listed on Yelp and Google My Business. Other than this, the more platforms you manage to access, the better.
Starting a restaurant is definitely not easy, and running it successfully is even harder. Sometimes, how hard it will get later depends on the choices you make early on. Therefore, each of the above-listed tips may turn out to be a proper effort- and resource-saver. In a field as competitive as the restaurant industry, these nuances may be what makes the difference between success and failure.