Top Tips for Anyone Owning a New Restaurant
Location, Location, Location
A bad restaurant in a great location is arguably better than a great restaurant in a bad location. Unless you have a name to draw people in, you're going to have to build a reputation from word of mouth - and word of mouth begins with healthy footfall.
Choose carefully when deciding on the location of your restaurant such as on serving the best pizza nearby: consider what other restaurants are in the area, the busy times of the day and whether or not there are other attractions in the area, such as a theatre or cinema that will help lure in the hungry hoards.
Find out how many, if any, restaurants have occupied the space beforehand, and the reasons why they failed or moved on.
Be careful with your capital. The key to opening a successful restaurant serving best breakfast nearby and other meals you want is having enough capital to see you through the first couple of months.
Think about all the equipment you will need, from furniture and tills, to kitchen catering equipment and uniforms. Then there's money for advertising and promotion, as well as design and basic stock. It all adds up and budgets can quickly spiral out of control.
Try and make sure to put enough aside to comfortably finance the project for up to 12 months.
A shiny new restaurant with a to-die-for menu is nothing without customers. Put some money aside for a well-publicized opening night to create a local buzz.
Hire the services of an established PR agency that deals in the promotion of restaurants - they should have plenty of great ideas of how to get you noticed.
Then there's social media: a presence on Facebook and Twitter is a great way to spread the word.
Keep the staff happy
There's nothing to make a restaurant run more smoothly than a happy and motivated staff. Involve them in your plans and ambitions for the restaurant and listen to their suggestions for improvements.
If they feel their ideas and hard work are appreciated, they will stay longer and work harder.
Create the right atmosphere
Regulars come back for the food, but they also become attached to the atmosphere. If it's a fine dining restaurant then work on creating an atmosphere of exclusivity and ultra efficient service; if
it's a neighbourhood burger joint, you might opt for hip, comfortable and laid-back. The music, service, decor and lighting all make a difference.
Create a solid brand identity
A mistake that many new restaurant owners make is that they try to be all things to all people. When deciding on the design and menu for your new restaurant, keep it simple. Don't offer too many dishes.
Do stick to a particular cuisine, whether that's French, Italian, British or Asian Fusion. Make sure you can build a reputation around the excellence of the food, the quality of the service and the ambience - it's easier to do this if you have a slimline brand that people can identify with and understand.
Stick to what you're good at
People open restaurants for different reasons: some have an unbridled passion for food; others love the social opportunities owning a restaurant provides; others want to turn their business acumen into hard cash.
Whatever your reason for entering the restaurant business, stick to it - if you're a business genius, don't try to bake bread. Delegate.