Venturing into the food service industry can be a lucrative business. With careful, thorough planning and commitment, you can open a successful restaurant. Research shows that 4 out of 5 restaurants fail within a year or two of opening. With this said, it is important to learn how to start a restaurant properly to turn these odds in your favor.
How to Start a Restaurant: The Basics
Your decision to open a restaurant should be weighed against the pros and cons of running this type of business. This means you should be open-minded and honest about what you’re willing to put in. If starting a restaurant from scratch is not feasible, you can always turn to other ownership types and business models as alternatives. You can start your own restaurant, buy a franchise, and purchase an existing restaurant and more.
Opening Your Own Restaurant
If you want to know how to start a restaurant from scratch, you need to have all the basic details in place. You should have a trading name, the kind of food you would like to serve, your niche market and an area where you would like to set up shop. Once you have this information, you need to register your restaurant, apply for business tax and obtain licensing from food industry associations. Requirements vary from state to state.
Choose a Suitable Location
There’s more that goes into finding a location than getting a cheap place big enough to turn into a restaurant. Learning how to start a restaurant also means learning about your target market. Knowing the demographics of your potential customers should point you to where they are likely to live and go for entertainment. Once you’ve found your ideal area or neighborhood, study your competition and find out if your restaurant fills a gap in that market.
The next step is to start hunting for premises. Search online, in local newspapers and property listings to find the space you need. Select a few premises and contact landlords for meetings. During those meetings, find out if there are any repairs, restrictions, hidden fees, safety licenses and local regulations related to the property lease.
Human and Other Resources
A restaurant needs staff to function, and staff members need resources to work. You need to set time aside to search and interview candidates to fill positions. Positions include head chef, sous chef, waiting staff, cleaners and general manager. Job descriptions must be concise and kitchen rules should be established. In addition to human resources, form relationships with your food suppliers.
Marketing Your Restaurant
One of the essential elements of learning how to start a restaurant is to know how to market to your customers. Once you’ve secured premises, employed staff, arranged supplies and drawn up a winning menu, it’s time to reach people and let them know you’re open.
Flyers, posters, billboards, outdoor signage; social media, word of mouth, online advertising, local papers and email marketing are some of the most effective ways to market your new business. Marketing efforts should be consistent, especially for startups. Deliver excellent service to start building a reputation as a top restaurant.
Learning how to start a restaurant the right way requires time, multitasking and persistence. The best first step is to make sure all your legal documents –business registration, taxes, and licenses – are in order. From there, study your niche market, find an appropriate location, hire qualified help and be aggressive in your marketing. By combining good planning with passion, you can own the next successful restaurant in your area.