If you have always wanted to start your restaurant setup, now is the time to sit down and plan it out. Starting a restaurant is an entrepreneurial dream for many and can be a daunting task if you have no clear pathway. There are so many big and small things to consider, like location to funding and choosing the right name along with buying equipment and hiring staff. While running a restaurant seems like an exciting experience, it is, in fact, one of the toughest businesses to manage on a successful launch. Most of the restaurants fail because they fail to adhere to the restaurant opening checklist properly before starting.
To help you concoct a recipe for success, we have compiled some steps to opening a restaurant according to the checklist. Note that these steps are all for your guidance and by no means meant to temper your passion. We are only pointing out that if you need to run your successful restaurant, you need to invest your serious time and effort into it.
Now let us get down to the guidelines and make you successful.
· Choose a Concept and Brand
The first point of the restaurant opening checklist is to have a clear concept and brand in mind. The concept includes your start restaurant menu, your serving style, and the ambiance. Your concept must resonate with the brand that establishes the identity, mission, and personality. These two factors go side by side as your brand is the force behind your restaurant concept, and your concept is what sets your brand in action. Based on your brand and concept, your atmosphere must communicate who you are and create a memorable experience for visitors to come back. A sub-factor of this restaurant setup point is to target specific demographics with a unique and functional concept and brand.
· Test Your Menu
Start your restaurant menu and approach building it like an experiment. You can consider having a dinner party with a proposed menu and ask for feedback. When asking for feedback, consider having an anonymous comment with which you can determine the level of satisfaction that the dish brought. Consider feedback from people other than your family and friends as they might like a dish; others will not. And if a customer does not like it, they will not pay for it. Do your market research and taste the menu of different restaurants to come up with a fresh menu of your own. Consider this part as a necessary point of your restaurant opening checklistas your main revenue revolves around the menu you design.
· Write a Business Plan
In order to reach your investors and to apply for loans to start your restaurant setup, you need to plan your business moves very carefully. Planning will help you out in developing your strategy as well as chalking out the broad outline for the feasibility of details. Some of the most important components of a business plan that you need to consider as your restaurant checklist are:
· Executive Summary
· Overview and description of the company
· Market analysis and business offering
· Marketing and public relation strategies
· Financial layout
· Secure Funding
Now that you have your business plan carefully designed, now is the time to secure funding. Money is the driving force of every business, and a restaurant is no exception. As an essential part of the restaurant opening checklist, generate startup capital, and make sure you know how much money you need to secure the foundations of your restaurant. You need to secure your capital in three tiers. The first tier is to obtain one-time costs that will be used for equipment purchase. The second tier will help you run your business expenses for at least six months, and the third tier is to cover the bills for the next six months. You need to have a cushion of a minimum of six months.
Keep in mind that you will not start to generate revenue overnight as it takes time to hold your ground in the market, attract the crowd, and get people to return for more. An essential part of the restaurant opening checklist to consider is trying not to go over budget during the first few months. If you have dumps along the way, try to cut expenses in a way that does not affect the business operations as well as staff and customers.
· Purchase Equipment & Hire Staff
Once you have the point of menu sorted out from your restaurant checklist, the next point is to hire your staff and purchase equipment. Your staff includes servers, chefs, cooking assistants, janitorial staff, wait staff, and bartenders. All these people are essential for your business success, and you need to hire the perfect one for each role. If possible, hire the ones who have experience working in the hospitality industry as they will help your operations run smoothly. IF you have no idea about the chef, do not be hesitant to taste the food first.
Similarly, buying quality equipment is also an essential step in opening a restaurant. Without equipment, your staff is unable to work, and without a proper staff to operate, your equipment becomes useless. So consider investing in appropriate equipment and staff to make your business run smoothly and adequately.
Hire and train the staff in ways of your business vision to have them deliver the service according to brand and concept.
· Choose A Location
Location is an important point to consider in your restaurant opening checklistas you need to set your business in a location easily accessible by others. Consider the following features when you select a location:
· Select a spot that is visible to both drivers and passerby and look for a location that has a lot of people activity. Also, consider having parking space as well as easy access for people on both foot and cars.
· Ensure that the target market of your restaurant meets the demographics of the location.
· Ensure that the labor costs and wage specified in the area does not cut your profits in any way. You need to have an idea about what your workers expect to make while working for you.
· Your competition in the market will help you in making a solid advertisement, but make sure that they do not interfere with the pool of customers you have already. Try to take it as an opportunity to build a healthy competition.
· Secure a License
Once you have the necessary basics covered and have crossed out the above points from your restaurant opening checklist, the next important aspect to look for is to secure a license. Without a license, your business will be deemed illegal and will be closed by the authorities anytime. You need to obtain several federal, state, and local permits and licenses to keep everything in order. It can be valuable to have a legal advisor at your side while applying for permits as they will help you secure them easily and make sure you complete every step.
· Arrange for Suppliers and Vendors
A restaurant setup is incomplete without having a steady flow of supply to keep the business running. As soon as your physical setup is complete, arrange suppliers and vendors to keep the supply flow regular and to keep your restaurant menu up and running. As a precaution, always have two days' stock within your premises in case of any emergency. Your restaurant checklist requires the supplies to be delivered early in the morning and checked for quality and quantity. At the closing of the business day, this needs to be rechecked to ensure that there is no breach of quality in any way. Maintain the consistency of the raw materials by having long-term contracts with the vendors and maintain good relations with them to ensure no hurdle is placed in any way. A consistent, reliable supplier is an important part of the whole restaurant business to deliver the ingredients on time and ensure restaurant success.
An essential part of your restaurant opening checklist that guarantees success is to advertise your business. Advertising is critical for various reasons in which the first thing is to develop a perspective in customers' minds about your restaurant. Secondly, they should feel enthusiastic about trying out your new eatery. You can consider the following points for effective advertising:
· Use social media as an important tool to advertise as you will be visible to thousands of potential customers in a relatively effortless and cost-effective way. Use Facebook and Twitter for notifications and start picture posting with links to your home page. You will notice a sudden gush of customers within a short span of time.
· Create an attractive website for your business and share photos and customer testimonials in it to create a positive image for yourself.
· Go for email marketing initially to notify your customers of any new addition to the menu or loyalty programs.
· Consider a grand opening and invite celebrities over to endorse your restaurant. You will see many customers visiting just because of such an advertisement.