Opening a restaurant can be a thrilling project if you’re interested in the world of gastronomy and hospitality, and a gateway to many other projects, however, there’s a high amount of restaurants that don’t make it through the year.
Today, I come to share with you the 20 aspects you must consider before entering the restaurant business in order to make your project succeed and be sustainable through time!
Are you ready to begin?
Before diving into creating a restaurant you need to be absolutely clear about what kind of restaurant you’re going to open and which will be its style.
Try to choose a concept that identifies you or something you like, while keeping it different from other restaurants, and of course, taking in account the kind of customers you will be trying to attract to your business.
The design is of course completely free, as long as it matches your concept. Try to make it attractive, different and pleasant as it will bring in more customers
Just like any other business, you need to look at the market to know which are the preferences and likes of the customers in your area. Remember that your restaurant needs to be visited enough for it to be successful.
An easy way to do this is by doing a survey, making a poll or simply walk around and ask questions like ¨What are your food preferences?¨, ¨Would you go to this new restaurant?¨ and ¨How much do you usually spend when eating at a restaurant?¨
Another important part is to define clearly which is the type of customer we are trying to attract. By doing this, you can analyze their characteristics and focus your business and strategies of said type of customer.
If you’re starting in the restaurant business, it’s advisable to start with a small menu, that way your restaurant can be specialized in those dishes, but also to reduce operational costs.
Later on, when your restaurant starts growing, you can add new dishes to create variety, but always trying to keep the same type of menu, because your customers will remember what type of food you’re offering, if you change it drastically you may lose clients.
Before opening a restaurant you should visit all possible restaurants in your area, this means, to visit your competition.
By doing this you’ll be able to:
Also, if this is your first experience in the restaurant business, a good idea is to work in a restaurant. (This means, working for the competition)
Having a restaurant is something that requires lots of work and discipline. By working at another restaurant you will also know which things matter the most and what kind of strategies and systems are used to improve overall quality.
Having someone that has worked on restaurants before (Especially with your competition) is a good alternative, but nothing will be better than yourself experiencing the whole restaurant adventure.
When setting your prices, don’t hesitate if you want to set a price a little high.
People are willing to pay generously for food as long as it has a great taste, a nice presentation, total hygiene and a good quality service.
As long as your food has these characteristics, your clients will always choose you, even if your competition uses the same ingredients at lower prices. It’s all about the quality and experience!
A good location is a fundamental factor for a restaurant, this is why you should take your time when choosing a location.
A central location has the advantage to be visible and close to a high number of possible customers, but the high costs for location and the closeness to your competitors can be a great disadvantage.
Choosing a not-so-centric location has the opposite effect. You´ll be further away from your competition and have lower costs, but you won’t be as visible for customers as you would be in a centric spot. However, with good advertising, this won’t be a problem.
Besides the dining area where your clients need to feel comfortable, you must not forget that the restaurant needs to have a decent space for the kitchen in order to have a good amount of mobility to be efficient and avoid accidents. Also, storing your supplies requires space.
This doesn’t mean you need a huge space in order to have a restaurant. Just be aware of the space limitations and take your choices accordingly. Your goal is always to keep it efficient, comfortable and pleasing.
Of course, once you choose your restaurant’s location, you must not forget that it must count with enough parking spots to receive the expected amount of clients with vehicles. Some locations don’t need parking since there already are some parking spots around or near the location.
As in every business, when opening a restaurant you must always try to reduce investment, but without sacrificing overall quality.
Some options to reduce investment are the following:
Reduce your restaurant’s decoration (Without taking it too far)
Rent the equipment and/or furniture you need
Make a deal with a provider in exchange for advertisement
When it comes to saving money, your creativity is your best friend.
When investing in a restaurant’s creation you must not skimp on supplies, variety, design and furniture
in an extreme way. For example, don’t buy those uncomfortable second-hand chairs, it’s better to spend a little more and buy good looking quality chairs.
Don’t forget the saying ¨Mediocrity calls for mediocrity
If you wish to sell quality products, you need quality supplies. It’s that simple.
Always use fresh products. In some cases like fish or sea-products, they shall be purchased the very same day they are supposed to be used. (And of course, making sure that the product you’re buying is fresh indeed)
In the same branch of thought, you need to select your suppliers carefully. Not only you need trustful suppliers, but also, it’s always a good idea to have several suppliers in order to avoid lack of products due to an eventuality or to avoid being forced to buy non-fresh products.
When talking about restaurants, there are usually many hidden costs. This often causes the initial budget to be short on money.
Take your time, plan your budget with care to take in account your costs right, and if possible, leave a small emergency fund to address a possible eventuality or a cost you didn’t have in consideration.
Another fundamental factor for a restaurant’s success is hygiene.
Your restaurant may be small or it may not have too much decoration, but if you offer a good product, a good service, and above all else, show a total hygiene, it’s very likely to succeed in the restaurant business.
Hygiene must be an almost-obsessive quest. It must be present on the floor, the hall, the bathrooms, the kitchen, the staff, and the uniforms. (Good presentation, well-kept hair, nails, cooking hat, etc)
Another important part of a restaurant’s creation is choosing the cook. This person not only needs to make tasty dishes but also needs the flexibility to be able to adapt to the kind of menu you want for your restaurant.
For example, if the cook tells you that he has worked in luxury restaurants and that he’s not willing to change his styles or recipes in order to adapt to your menu, you should go look for another one right away.
In order to have a restaurant that works efficiently, you must previously define which will be your staff’s functions and responsibilities.
By having these well defined, you’ll make sure your staff works like a clockwork machine, solving every eventuality as soon as it emerges.
Some of the Cook Assistant’s or Cleaning Staff functions and responsibilities are:
This is a good and classic marketing strategy. Create expectation from your future customers by designing flyers, hiring a TV / Radio advertisement service, promote your business through social media or send invitations to friends and relatives for them to go to the inauguration.
The goal is to create an expectation for your new restaurant’s food, ambiance and aesthetic.
Client service is another huge factor that determines whether a restaurant is a great success or a dusty failure.
You must train all of your personnel to have a kind and obliging attitude to your customers, to keep a good presentation, a perfect personal hygiene and of course, to address your customers with courtesy. (Forgetting to say “Please” and “Thank You” is a huge mistake)
Creating and managing a restaurant is not an easy task. It’s estimated that approximately a third part of new restaurants close before the first year of operations.
It’s also estimated that a restaurant starts producing a profit from the sixth month onward.
You also must take in account that the working schedule on a restaurant starts early in the morning in order to buy supplies, it continues with the preparation of the dishes that are to be served during the lunchtime and then this process is repeated with the dinner, ending late at night with a rigorous cleaning that leaves everything ready for the next day.
Besides that, restaurants work every or almost every day of the week, even on holidays, since these days bring a larger amount of customers.
Again, creating and managing a restaurant is not an easy task, but with passion, patience, dedication, and perseverance to sort the difficulties that may emerge, it will bring you great benefits, economically, socially and spiritually.
You have guidance, you have initiative, you have power. Don’t be afraid to take the step!