The statistics show that an overwhelming amount of small businesses fail within a few years. All the passion in the world won’t be enough if you start out on the wrong foot. Now, we don’t want to scare you out of starting a restaurant or other food service business. Rather, in determining how to start a restaurant, it’s important that you get out of the gate strong, to give your business the greatest chance of success.
Learn the rules.
Food safety is paramount, and there is likely a stack of rules governing it in your locale. Make sure you find out what licenses you need and what rules you need to follow. The last thing you want is legal problems or getting shut down by your local health department for not doing things by the book.
Gauge the market.
Be honest with yourself and ask if there is a real market for the food you will be offering. Your immediate friends and family may like your cooking (or at least say they do) but that doesn’t mean that others will. Consider hosting some dinner parties for people with various eating preferences. Ask guests for honest feedback.
Establish a business entity.
It’s important to do things 100% by the book from the beginning. You don’t want to run your business causally, so make sure you establish yourself as a legal entity. Doing so will provide many benefits. You will be able to keep your business assets and liabilities separate from your personal finances, and you will be able to purchase business insurance.
Get the word out.
It’s crucial to consider how to advertise your restaurant. You could be the best cook in the world, but don’t expect any business if you can’t make yourself known. In fact, some of the world’s most famous chefs aren’t exceptional at cooking — they just know how to market themselves effectively.
Start off by getting your friends and family to spread the word. You could also distribute flyers to those living nearby.
From there, it’s time to turn to the internet. Start social media accounts for your restaurant and connect them with your personal accounts. In fact, social media is perhaps the best way to market a new business. Make sure you develop a strong presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
A professional website is also important. It should look sharp and include photos of your dishes, opening hours, and location. If you’re not tech savvy, pay someone to do it for you. It’s worth it.
Don’t forget to mark your location on Google Maps. When deciding what to eat last minute, many people simply type “restaurant” to see what pops up. Get some friends and family members who have experienced your food to leave some reviews to make the restaurant look more appealing.
Optimize your space.
When deciding on space for your restaurant, it’s recommended that look for something that lets you keep your office environment separate from the dining environment. Optimize your space, so that each area is clearly defined. You don’t want customers wandering past your ledgers and receipts while looking for the bathroom.
A lot of restaurants are family affairs, but if you have kids, set clear boundaries for them. Make it clear that they can’t play in the restaurant. If they will be helping out in the restaurant, then make sure they know to be suitably dressed and hygienic at all times.
Keep track of your cash flow.
You can choose to hire financial experts to keep track of your books or simply do it yourself. What’s important is that it gets done accurately and in a timely fashion. It is not only a legal requirement, but also essential to establish financial success for your restaurant.
Don’t forget about deliveries and catering.
Once your business is off the ground, then don’t forget about future development. Your restaurant may be small now, but don’t ignore the enormous potential in offering a delivery service. You may even be able to acquire opportunities for catering at big events.
There will be much to consider when starting your new restaurant business and we are sure you will be doing a lot of research online. If there is anything that you should take away, it’s this:
- Follow the law 100% from the very beginning.
- Utilize social media marketing to get your restaurant noticed.
Want more tips on how to start a restaurant? Download our free tool “The Essential Checklist to Opening a Restaurant” today!
Lucy Benton is a marketing specialist, business consultant and helps people to turn their dreams into the profitable business and currently words at Assignmenthelper.com.au. Now she is writing for marketing and business resources. Also Lucy has her own blog ProWriting where you can check her last publications.