If you want to open your own restaurant may be your best option to have your own business and earn a generous income. It is true that it may be a risky business adventure, but with the correct planning and organization, a restaurant is one of the most successful businesses that exists.
Our lifestyle has changed and this leads society to increasingly need food services.
Today’s jobs keep us so busy that consumers have neither the time nor the inclination to prepare our own meals.
We want to savor a delicious meal without worrying about cooking it; we want to eat healthy without having to wash the dishes afterwards.
If you have always wanted to know how to open a successful restaurant , do not miss this complete guide in which I will guide you step by step to start the food business that you always wanted to have and I will give you some guidelines for you to do good marketing .
1. Think about the concept of food
The concept of food is the first thing you should think about before opening a restaurant.
And what does the concept of food mean? It is the type of dishes that you are going to serve.
Will your restaurant have a family atmosphere where you serve delicious home-cooked meals, will it be an innovative place where you offer Japanese sushi dishes, or maybe you prefer a fast food place where young people can go to meet their friends?
Be that as it may, this is the first thing you should choose before even making accounts about the money you will need to open your restaurant.
To help you make a better choice, here are some of the most popular food concepts …
- Seafood restaurants: here you can find both fast food seafood restaurants (where basically fried fish are served on the go) and high-end seafood restaurants where the most exquisite shellfish in the sea are served. The latter have a wide variety of dishes, prepared both fried, baked, grilled, or fresh. A seafood restaurant can be a risky business to focus on, as seafood prices are constantly changing, and there are many types of fish that only appear in certain seasons. If you decide on this type of restaurant, make sure when buying the merchandise that the ingredients are fresh and meet your quality expectations.
- Steakhouses or specialized in roast meats: this type of business is generally aimed at the most familiar customers. Medium-scale grills offer quality meats and a comfortable, family atmosphere; however, high-end ones offer the most exclusive meats (and charge higher prices) and are geared towards a more select audience such as couples who want to celebrate an anniversary, or business meetings or meals from large companies.
- Family-style restaurants: As the name suggests, they are geared towards families. They charge reasonable prices, and their service is fast, so they are in the fast food and full restaurant category. The menus offer a wide variety of dishes and are therefore attractive to both the youngest and the oldest.
- Ethnic restaurants: These places are booming because, especially the new generations, they are tired of the same fast or traditional food that until now was served in most places. The most popular types of ethnic restaurants around the world tend to be Chinese and Italian, but in places like Europe, Japanese, Mexican, and Thai restaurants are becoming more and more fashionable. Those who serve French, Mediterranean, or Caribbean food also triumph in America.
- Pizzerias: pizzerias are one of the safest bets because they have been successful on the market for decades. There are two types: the small stores that, although they offer pizzas in the same store, 90% of their sales are served at home ; and those who offer a full menu of pizzas in the restaurant itself, and also cook starters such as spaghetti, ravioli and lasagna, or side dishes such as salads.
In addition to thinking about what your concept of food will be, it is important that you take into account what lifestyle you want or have.
For example: if you are an early riser, a good option would be a restaurant that offers breakfast and lunch; But if you prefer to stay up late – and get up late in the morning – it is better to choose a type of restaurant where to offer dinners and even entertainment in the same place.
2. Write a business plan
This is the most critical element in opening a restaurant. You should organize everything on paper before buying your first spoon or opening your first egg.
When writing your business plan, you must include in it: a clear description of the concept of your restaurant, what your market will be, your menu and prices, detailed financial information (rental of premises, cost of machinery and furniture, hired employees, etc.), how much money do you have and how much will you need to borrow.
You should also add your marketing plan, strategies to face possible changes and obstacles, and even an exit plan in case something goes wrong.
3. Analyze how you will finance your business
The money you need to open a restaurant will depend on the type of restaurant, the location, how much equipment you need, your inventory, advertising, and the capital that you must have accumulated until your business begins to generate profits.
It’s easy to spend thousands of dollars on it, but it’s not essential.
Do you really need that state-of-the-art refrigerator that has just come onto the market and is much more expensive than a good, slightly older, but much cheaper refrigerator?
Think carefully about what things are really essential, and which ones are a whim that will cost you dearly if you have a fairly tight budget.
4. Choose a good location
Have you already written your business plan, are you clear on your budget, and has the bank granted you a loan? So the next step is to choose a good location with a location that attracts many customers.
You must take into account if your restaurant will be mainly based on home delivery (in this case, the location does not matter much), or if you will need a location in an area with an influx of people to attract customers.
Also based on your budget, decide if you will buy the premises or rent it ; The first option is somewhat risky because if you buy a store and your business fails, you will have to keep paying the mortgage on it until you can sell it again.
If your restaurant will be based on providing meals on the premises, some factors to consider are …
- How can localization contribute to your sales volume?
- Is it easy to get to your business? If you’re going to place it in a crowded area, take a look at your competition from nearby restaurants.
- What restrictive ordinances are there in the area? Some areas have unusual restrictive ordinances that may affect your business, such as a daily hours limit for trucks loading and unloading merchandise.
- What is the traffic density? Analyze the volume of people who stop by your restaurant during your opening hours and the percentage of them who might want to enter it.
- Is there a parking facility in the area?
- What are the terms of the contract? Check your local contract well before buying or renting it: the place can be excellent, but the conditions are unacceptable.
5. Create your menu
When planning your meal plan to open your restaurant, keep in mind the latest trends in menu design and content: these factors will influence the type of service you will provide.
According to recent studies, vegetarian, organic foods, fusion dishes, and local beers are becoming increasingly popular.
Consumers also eat more chicken, seafood and meat now than they did a few years ago. But above all the most demanded are homemade meals: those that when trying the first bite remind us of our childhood, when our mothers cooked all morning at home.
Don’t forget about kids, either: Offer a few smaller dishes on your menu for them to enjoy better, including popular kids’ favorites like spaghetti or hamburgers.
Although the variety on the menus has increased in recent years, the menus themselves are now shorter. Busy customers don’t want to read a long menu before eating; food is a recreational activity, and they go to a restaurant to relax.
So keep your menu descriptions simple and short.
6. Hire employees
Finding qualified workers to open your restaurant and the cost they entail are two important factors in your business.
The first step in hiring good employees is deciding exactly what you will do and what each of them will do. You must post a job offer that clearly describes the duties and responsibilities of the position.
It also includes a list of special skills (if you need them) or required credentials, such as a driver’s license for example.
Next thing is to set a salary – find out what the salaries are for those positions in your area. Other aspects that you must take into account to contract are …
- Take the time to interview your candidates. Make sure they understand what you expect from them. Ask for their references and research their previous jobs.
- Find information about the minimum wage and what are the maternity and paternity policies of your city or country.
- Provide them with initial training and motivate them. Once you have hired them, offer them a program in which you or a specialized person tells them how to do basic tasks.
7. Create and execute a marketing and promotions plan
Every business needs a marketing plan, and your restaurant is no exception. Establish a plan and manage the digital reputation of your business.
Even if you are going to use multiple channels to advertise, keep this in mind: recent research ensures that “word of mouth” is still the best method of promotion.
Four out of five consumers choose a restaurant they have not been to before because someone they know has recommended it. So make the experience of your audience in your place absolutely wonderful.
Ask each new customer how they got to know your restaurant, and write down this information to better know which of your marketing strategies are working.
Do not forget that your clients are the most important thing and you must take care of them with adequate tools to retain them. One of the things to build loyalty is to offer WiFi at your local so that your client can enter from their smartphone.
8. Register your business
Every business needs to be registered, but to open a restaurant this paperwork is especially necessary. It is essential that you be granted a license to be able to open.
Also, keep in mind that, as it is something as delicate as food, you will need special licenses according to the laws of your locality and your country.
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