What You Need to Know Before Opening a Restaurant

June 8, 2015 - 5 minutes read

Are you thinking about opening a restaurant? Our friends over at NetWaiter have some great ideas on what you need to know before opening a restaurant.

Like in life, when opening a new restaurant there are always unseen hurdles. No matter how hard you plan, something will hit you out of left field and you’ll be left to either lick your wounds or get back in the game. While surprise setbacks are unavoidable, many of the obstacles restaurant owners face can be prevented with a little premeditation and planning. In other words, get schooled now and avoid mishaps later. This guide on what you need to before opening a restaurant will help.

Hash out your concept.

Work out all the kinks in your concept before you do anything else. If your idea is too trendy it might lack longevity and if it’s too traditional it might blend into the competition. Find a middle place where you are meeting a demand and also building a lasting, sustainable brand.

Secure a prime piece of real estate.

Location, location, location, right? Right. Where your restaurant plants its roots will be a huge factor in its success. Look for a place that fits as much of your criteria as possible. What should be non-negotiable?

  • Visibility – Easy to find and easy to see will yield you way more walk-ins.
  • Size – Can you comfortably accommodate your concept?
  • Parking – No one likes a parking space scavenger hunt.
  • Convenience – Is it near office buildings or local entertainment?

Access potential competitors.

Once you’ve found a location, it’s time to take a look at what’s around. Neighboring restaurants will be your future competition so you’ll want to do a survey before signing a lease. If a restaurant with a similar concept or menu is just steps away, you might want to pass on that location. Sure, your food might be better, your ambiance might be more inviting but they have something you don’t — time. While new is exciting, familiarity is comforting. Loyal customers aren’t always ready to leave their old favorite for the new kid on the block.

Build a business plan.

Once you know what you’re going to do and how much it’s going to cost, you can create a business plan. This will help you obtain financial backing and serve as the ultimate guide for how your business will run and succeed.

Get funded.

You need enough running capital to get you through six to nine months. Whether you apply for a loan at a bank or secure funds from private investors, make sure the amount you ask for is realistic. Underestimating how much money you need to get your business up and running is the reason many restaurants fail in their first year.

Hire talent.

Your chef and team of employees are the face of your restaurant, the people that will execute your concept, and have direct contact with your customers. Choose them wisely. You want to hire people that are not only personable, but have experience and believe in your vision. Create an employee manual to set the guidelines of how you want your business run and your expectations. Use this manual as a guideline when training new staff.

Develop a restaurant marketing plan.

As a new business, how you promote your opening and where you advertise will directly affect how many customers you bring in. Create a restaurant marketing plan that outlines your strategy, whether that includes posting on social media or old school flyering.

Perfect your menu.

You want a menu that is feasible and functional. Can your kitchen size accommodate every item? If the house is full on a Friday night, is the answer still yes? In this situation it’s okay to be the devil’s advocate. When it comes to menus it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Plan your opening.

First impressions are everything, which is why it’s imperative that your public opening runs smoothly. Many restaurant owners like to start with a soft opening first, where only friends and family are invited. This trial run helps to identify issues and correct them before the community and critics get their first taste.

Guest post by Tim Sunderland of NetWaiter: Online Ordering For Restaurants

eateria marketing evaluation

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,