Restaurant Management: Tips for Opening a Food Service Business
Most of my posts have dealt with problems, concerns, or tips with managing, owning, working in, and cooking for an already established restaurant, cafe, or similar food service business; after all, we’re trying to provide a service for restaurant owners looking for the latest and greatest in business strategies. But what about someone thinking of opening a restaurant for the first time? Or even an owner thinking of opening a second, third, or fourth restaurant?
No matter your level of experience, here are some things to consider when opening a new place:
Defining the concept or theme of your restaurant. When considering a theme, owners should consider both the type of food they want to serve and the themes that are popular or successful in the local area. Your theme should fit your food, obviously, but it should also find a way to play on what works for your demographic — all the while not forgetting to make it fresh and somehow different, or new.
Creating a budget. One of the most common mistakes for new restaurateurs is underestimating start up costs. Another thing many small business owners misjudge (whether in food service or not) is how long it can take to start making a profit. Chances are you’ll have to tighten the shoestrings for a while after opening — you may not be able to take out a very large personal salary or anything like that until you’re more established. Either way, you need to make a budget — keeping every expense of a restaurant in mind — and stick to it.
Designing an efficient restaurant space. I just posted a number of articles about restaurant design, as we have in the past as well. Two things you must consider are the best set up for your restaurant to run efficiently and the most appropriate interior design to allow this while also creating the vision and ambiance most appropriate to your overall theme.
Hiring and retaining top-notch employees. Another crucial topic we’ve blogged about in the past — the happiness of your employees is just about the most important thing to your restaurant’s success. Hiring people with the skills and attitudes to best do their jobs is important, but so is keeping them happy and treating them with the respect it takes to make them feel part of a family. If they feel part of something, they’ll do the best they can for you and your business. They’ll take ownership of it just as you do.
Publicity and marketing. Even before your restaurant opens, it’s important to start a publicity campaign. Combining advertising in local media, social media and other online avenues, and community outreach, you should be able to drum up interest in the unique dining experience you plan to offer. Getting people excited to come in once you open is the first step to building loyal repeat customers. Look through some of our other posts about restaurant marketing for more specific ideas on how to get people through the door.
Hopefully these tips are helpful for old and new restaurateurs alike. I’ll be back next week with more tips and advice about the food service industry; until then, have a good weekend and contact us here.