Here’s a how-to-get-started guide to make sure you have all the ingredients you need to start a restaurant business with confidence. According to a survey, 46 percent of restaurant employees want to own a restaurant someday. Clearly, a lot of people dream of owning a restaurant but no one dreams of owning a failed restaurant. You have to figure out exactly how to run it, and make sure that everything is perfectly in sync from the food, the service and the overall atmosphere. According to chef Paul Sorgule, creating a “true restaurant” is like turning “the house into a home – a building into a restaurant”. You have to invest serious time and money. You have to know your restaurant target customer. They determine your success and when you appeal to the right demographic, you are sure to enjoy success. To help you with your restaurant business process management, find our operation and management spreadsheets here.
So, whether you’re in play as an independent or stepping up to the franchise plate or you wanted to operate a taproom or tavern, swank cocktail lounge or neighborhood watering hole, these tips can help your restaurant up and running.
The Big Three: Location, Concept, and Chef
Your restaurant will not succeed without a great chef, a perfect location and an amazing restaurant concept. Perfect location for restaurant must be incredibly accessible in all levels and your chef’s talent must fit to your concept. One way to help facilitate a good working relationship with your chef is to begin with a chef contract. This is to avoid the issue of intellectual property. Without the contract, he will have an opportunity to leave an establishment with something as important as a cornerstone recipe, and the results can be dire for the restaurateur.
Always Overestimate your Capital Needs
Although every restaurant owner will have their own way of budgeting, common factors to consider include, but are not limited to payroll, inventory, rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, taxes and insurance.When forecasting your restaurant’s capital needs, always overestimate. Otherwise, if you will underestimate your needs, you’ll run out of money before the restaurant business becomes profitable. Finding information that’s credible and reliable will be a challenge for you but the good news is you can get data and valuable insights from a variety of sources. Find capital budget template.
Keep your Menu Flexible
Your menu is the one piece of advertising that your customers are sure to see. A menu is a key extension of your brand, hence, it must reflect what your restaurant is about while it features your top dishes. Customers have diverse food preferences, allergies or other dietary restrictions. Having said this, your restaurant will suffer if you will not allow substitutions. Customers these days fashion their own meals and make desired changes. While you can’t do everything a customer asks you to do, having a flexible menu will make your customers happy. Being open to alternates will make your customers feel that you care about their needs and preferences. A complex process of menu engineering is needed. It is the key ingredient in running a profitable restaurant menu.
You have to hire talented restaurant staff that fits your team culture. People who express willingness to be flexible in their duties. As they say, one good employee can create a customer for a lifetime; one bad employee can lead to a potential reputation problem. You have to make sure they feel valuable and appreciated for the work that they do. It is equally important that you decide in advance how many people you will need, what positions to fill and how much of your budget should be allocated towards staff salaries. Find our staffing plan template here.
When the customer’s experience and your restaurant’s design come together, they create your restaurant’s brand. This is what sets your restaurant apart from its competitors and creates a personality. When done well, a brand gives visual and emotional cues to potential customers. A strong restaurant brand extends across all aspects of the business. Developing a great brand and using it to your advantage can give you a competitive edge. You have to entice your customers with a purpose and a promise then deliver that promise. Wow guests with your restaurant’s particular panache.
Value Your Customers
Walt Disney said it best, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” Nurturing relationships with your customers is an important factor to make your restaurant business successful. In this digital age, caring for your customers has never been more important. An unhappy customer can share her opinion with the masses through social media and the web and negatively affect your restaurant business. This is why it is even more important to create an excellent experience for your customers. Creating love between your company and your customers can help scale positive word of mouth that’s absolutely priceless. One way to get regular feedback from your customers is through customer service surveys. The customer service checklist is set for you to use as a guide as well as the customer analysis template here.
Customer service is an integral part of any restaurant business. A great customer service means letting your guests feel they are very welcome and taken care of. This means that no matter how they come to you, they will leave happy. In the context of your restaurant business, a great customer service means your customers will come back for more. It’s always best to track what a customer looks for in a restaurant service and measure how much you meet their expectations. Customer satisfaction survey and customer expectations survey are helpful tools for this.
Don’t Cheap Out
Never get into a ‘pricing war’ with your competitors. Offer your customers something better than what they offer instead. You may not be the cheapest option but you make up for it by providing customers once in a lifetime restaurant experience. Customers are always ready to pay for an amazing experience.
The landscape of restaurant business has been radically transformed by the advent of digital technology. . Sustaining your restaurant’s business success can be a continuous battle. The best restaurant digital marketing strategies can help you get a competitive advantage and move towards sustainable margin profit. It is then vital that you get your marketing strategy not just right but top notch. You and your team must carry out in-depth research on what restaurant marketing strategy is effective for your restaurant business. Marketing campaign evaluation alongside marketing promotion tracking are both important for any marketing campaigns, otherwise, if you are not tracking or evaluating, you are not marketing.
Explore and Expand
Restaurant expansion comes with tons of challenges. Having a lot of competition under rapidly changing trends can be really tough to keep your business at the forefront of customers’ minds. According to Peter Christie, former President of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, “So many restaurants fail when they try to expand because they don’t do the proper research, and they think that, if they succeeded in one market, they’re bound to succeed in another. It’s not true.” You have to start from the top, doing your research and analysis based on your new concept.
Starting your own restaurant business will surely give you a full plate of responsibilities, these tips are surely helpful as you begin to assemble plenty of elements to make your restaurant stand out. Our restaurant templates and documents can help you radically improve your chances of success.