Opening your very own restaurant is a great way to indulge in your passion and make a living at the same time. If you hope to make the most of your investment in time, money and energy, it’s best that you have a plan. To ensure you’ve got everything you need to set yourself and your business up for success, use this restaurant startup checklist.
Set Out With the Right Intentions
With any business, you have to take a step back and ask yourself if this is truly your passion. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money from your passion, but your passion absolutely has to come first.
It will likely take a while before you start turning a profit from your restaurant, and you’ll probably have to endure roadblocks, stumbles, and falls along the way. If your heart and soul aren’t in the restaurant, your staff and customers will be able to tell. Do you think you’re truly ready for the road ahead?
Decide on Your Concept
Before you start looking at the equipment needed to start a restaurant, you have to decide on your restaurant’s concept. Besides the specific type of cuisine you want to serve, you have to think about the overall look and feel you want for your establishment.
Do you want something fancy, something that makes guests feel right at home, or would you like a theme, like a tiki lounge? Would a food truck or pop-up restaurant suit you better?
Examine your concept inside and out, as every little detail adds to the overall ambiance and dining experience for your customers, your dishes and your overall presentation.
Get a Lay of the Land
Do your research to see if there are any other restaurants in the area that serve your fare or have a similar concept. This isn’t to say that you should scrap your restaurant plan if there’s a place that serves the same type of cuisine as yours, just that you’ll need to find a way to stand out rather than blend in. Here, it helps to focus on longevity rather than an idea that will become little more than a flash in the pan that fizzles out within a few months.
Craft a Thorough Business Plan
A vital aspect of how to run a restaurant successfully involves learning how to plan successfully. Your business plan should be as detailed as possible. On it, be sure to include:
- Market analysis
- An overview of your restaurant (concept, physical location, expected profits)
- An executive summary
This step is bound to take you a while, but a well-thought-out plan better guarantees overall success. Plus, if you need investors to help you get your business off the ground, they’ll expect a proper business plan before agreeing to fund you. This plan is just as much for them as it is for you. Be sure to work with a financial planner who has experience helping business owners.
Have Reserve Funds
No matter how well-thought out your plan is, there’s simply no telling what could happen. Having a source of funds in the event of a financial emergency goes a long way in giving you a sense of peace every day that you wake up and run your business. This reserve fund could be what helps you to keep the doors of your restaurant open during slow periods and unexpected business slumps.
Usually, it can take roughly nine months for new restaurant owners to break even, so it’s best to have at least that much in your reserve stash. Once you do start to turn a profit, continue to put money back into your stash. That way, if there’s an expected sale on business equipment you need, or if you have a sudden breakdown in your current equipment that could bring operations to a halt, you have instant access to the necessary funds.
Hire the Right People
Imagine having the perfect concept, a winning business plan and a sizeable reserve fund, but your staff is what causes your business to fail. You need the right people to bring out the best in your establishment and keep things going. Focus on hiring chefs and kitchen staff well-experienced with working in your type of environment and your type of cuisine. Servers should have a background in whatever type of dining establishment you have, such as fine dining or a restaurant that serves foreign food.
Do yourself a favor and conduct background checks on everyone you hire. Everyone. Remember, you’re trusting your livelihood to your staff, and you want to make sure those individuals are worthy of your trust and access to such information as credit and debit card numbers and your restaurant’s profits.
Take your time while mapping out your restaurant strategy. Just like great food takes time to prepare and cook, the same is true of any business plan.
Learn How to Run a Restaurant Successfully
If you already have an idea for your future restaurant, but want to improve on your culinary or business skills, a culinary arts program could be right for you. At OCI, you’ll learn the fundamentals of being a great chef, and receive hands-on training, to prepare you for your career as a chef. You’ll also learn what it takes to run a restaurant successfully, and how to start your own. If this sounds like you, contact us to get started.