Whether you are the seasoned player or a new kid on the block, starting your own restaurant is not as easy as a walk in the park. From deciding if you want to open a fine dine restaurant or a quick service restaurant, laying out the right menu to managing the suppliers, all of this can be very stressful.
At the same time opening your dream restaurant can be overwhelming too. Before you set out on the journey here are 10 things you must keep in mind -
1. Write down your business plan
You would have heard this a million times and may be bored of it too. However, it is extremely important that you have a business plan in place, chalk out your target market, study the competition know what you wish to achieve. It is imperative that you plan your targets well in advance.
2. Work on creating a niche
How different is your restaurant from the others? Is the food different or is there more? Ask these questions to yourself repeatedly. Work on creating the ‘wow factor’ for your restaurant. Be unique but at the same time be relevant. In other words, don’t overdo things, just be original and make sure your restaurant stands out in all aspects of the customer experience.
3. Customer Feedback &Loyalty
Ensure that you factor in customer feedback. In fact, before the launch you can run a pilot with a few people, call them over to experience the ambience and the food and take note of what they share. Their feedback will provide validation to your restaurant.
4. Do more with less
Customers will not be flocking your restaurant always. It's ok to let people organize workshops or exhibitions on lean days. This way you can attract more footfall to your restaurant.
5. Reinvent the menu
Keep the customers intrigued, create your own take on the food. You don’t have to go over the top, even if its comfort food it has to have a unique taste that only your restaurant adds to it.
It all boils down to the money! This is one of the most important factors that every budding restaurant owner should keep in mind. You need to factor in how much impact each customer will have on the bottom-line.
Many restaurant owners often ignore marketing and do not take it seriously. However, with the ever evolving nature of media, it is important that a chunk of the budget is set aside for marketing. Do something creative apart from creating your website, something like taking reservations or orders on social media platforms.
This is one area where no matter what cost you have to pay, do not compromise. Always use fresh products for cooking, ensure that you don’t have pests in your restaurant, ensure your kitchen staff is clean. Set kitchen rules right at the beginning. Hygiene should be sacrosanct.
Invest in your staff wisely. Hire people who have a passion towards cooking and serving. Create an environment where food is fun. Ensure that good service is fairly rewarded. No matter how great your concept is unless you have a great staff to make it happen it won’t work.
10. Name of the restaurant
This would be something that is really close to your heart. Getting the above points may not be difficult but coining the right brand name for your restaurant is the toughest part. Give your restaurant a name you and your customers can relate with. Having a fancy complicated name or a simple name, the choice is yours.
While opening a restaurant is no rocket science, it is all about getting the ingredients right. Before setting out to take up new challenges, ensure you know all the tricks of the trade, from dishwashing to cooking to serving to cleaning. Always stay humble and be rest assured that legacy will follow.