Many entrepreneurs have spent years thinking about starting the restaurant of their dreams. And with more than half of Americans reporting they eat out at least once per week, never has there been a better time to act on this dream.
The restaurant business can be a tough one in which to compete. But with hard work and careful planning, you can make your restaurant dreams a reality.
The Right Concept for your Dream Restaurant
Before acting on your dream of being a restaurant owner, it is important that you have a clear concept in mind. The concept of your restaurant will determine important factors like the food your restaurant will serve, your service style, and the character and atmosphere of the inside or your restaurant.
Establishing a clear concept from the start of your venture will give you a clear guide when it is time to focus on the branding of your business. Your brand will then become the guide for your personality, identity, and mission.
A good way to picture the relation between concept and brand is this: Your brand represents an intangible force that guides the concept of your restaurant. The concept can be seen as the actionable force behind the brand.
All prospective restaurant owners should understand location is a key element to the success and failure of any restaurant venture. When searching for the perfect location to start your dream restaurant, the following things should be considered:
Visibility: Your location should be visible by people passing by either in cars or on foot. Make sure your restaurant has a sign that is easily visible and grabs people’s attention.
Accessibility: Your locations should contain adequate parking and be easily accessible to drivers and pedestrians. Also, make sure that your restaurant is wheelchair accessible and have adequate parking for all patrons.
Labor Costs: The cost to hire workers can vary from location to location. Make sure the costs in the area you select does not hamper your ability to realize a profit.
Competition: You want some nearby competition to support your own marketing efforts. However, you want to make sure enough distance exists between your restaurant and a direct competitor to guarantee your potential customer base will not ignore your establishment for one that is similar.
It is probably a good idea to lease property at the onset of a restaurant venture to provide yourself with future flexibility. You will be in a position to move, expand, or facilitate other transitions that may be necessary.
Before the doors open on your new restaurant, you will want to assure you have a number of basic menu items in place. The food items on your menu will determine the equipment you will need to operate your establishment, the size and type of staff you will need, and what your potential customers will look like.
A completed design or fleshed out recipes are not necessary while in the planning stages. However, you should have a firm grasp on the foods your eatery will serve.
Once you are in business for a while, your menu can be updated to increase profits and increase the efficiency of day to day operations.
A reliable point of sales system allows a restaurant owner to track cash flow, sales volume, inventory, and simplifies the bookkeeping process.
Your POS system will also streamline the process of communication between your wait staff and kitchen crew. This happens because an order can move straight through the computer system and then be printed out in the kitchen.
A reliable point of sales system also doubles as a time clock that can help keep track of payroll. This benefits you as a restaurant owner by saving money and time on bookkeeping. A final benefit of a POS system is the organization of sales tax information and statements of profit and loss.
Your business plan should give you a good idea of how much it will cost to get your restaurant up and running as well as the day to day costs to maintain operations. Many experts suggest you create a budget that will keep your business running for a year.
Once you know how much money you need, you will need to determine the gap that exists between the amount of money you possess to contribute to the business venture and how much more money is needed.
There are a number of funding methods available once you determine the exact amount of money you need to raise.
Licenses and Permits
Depending on where you choose to do business, there are a number of local, state, and federal licenses and permits you will need to obtain. It may prove beneficial to consult with legal counsel at this stage of the process to assure all forms are properly filled out and your new restaurant is in good standing with all applicable government agencies.
Food and Equipment Supplier
The ability to find vendors to supply the equipment and food ingredients you need on a daily basis will play a major role in the success of your restaurant. Be sure to perform the due diligence necessary to find the suppliers and wholesalers your new restaurant needs.
The Right Staff
You should take some time to figure out every role that must be filled for your store to operate on a daily basis. A few positions you may need to fill include chefs, wait staff, dishwashers, food preps, and bar staff.
You should target workers who have past experience in the position you wish to fill and demonstrate an ability to multitask. You should also choose individuals that get along well with team members and remain calm in tense situations.
The Bottom Line
Many potential entrepreneurs have toyed with the idea of starting the restaurant of their dreams. The business environment for restaurants is highly competitive but the demand for new eateries exist. The eight tips above will have you firmly on track to make your dream restaurant start-up a success.