Saying that the restaurant industry is cutthroat, that most fail in their first year of doing business is pretty much a cliché at this point. And while there are many elements of this industry that make it difficult, too many people simply forget about the basics. You can work all day and all night, have the best work ethic imaginable, with the best location, but you simply won’t be able to pull through without getting some very fundamental things down to a T. Below are some things you need to know if you want to open your own restaurant.
Have Clear and Precise Goals
Don’t just barge into this business thinking you can just make food and make money. You need a clear and specified plan. How large do you want this business to be? Do you ever plan to open a couple of more in your town? Would you perhaps like to go international, or maybe start up a chain? All these goals are valid and acceptable, but you need to decide right away. Even a choice such as “stay small and local for 2 years, then see where it goes” is a good and clear plan.
Furthermore, set up a business plan. Yes, you can cook, and yes, you can multitask. However, you need to cover the business end of things as well. Draft a business plan with clear points that need to be covered. A good plan can help you navigate any issues that deal with licensing, health codes, taxes, and any other bureaucratic nonsense that needs to be fixed up quickly.
Location, Location, Location
Imagine the most beautiful, spacious restaurant, with perfect lighting, a perfect floor plan, a great kitchen, and lots of parking. Now, imagine it being placed in the middle of nowhere, downwind of a fish processing plant. Perfect is the enemy of the good.
Of course, a restaurant needs good lighting, an organized floor plan, and space for more than 3 customers. The issue here is that if you’re just too far away from any location that sees solid traffic, or in a difficult to reach location, nobody will want to come to your place and eat. You need to make a compromise (unless you have an unlimited budget) between location and set up. Well-trafficked locations with a great set up are most likely already taken or are insanely expensive. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
Of course, this also depends on where you’re set. Trying to open a shop in downtown Sydney will be much harder when compared to set something up in Bendigo. However, the number and the means of your customers may differ between these two places as well.
Equipment is Key
Invest in all the right equipment. The better your gear is, the faster you can get good food out. Knives that become dull after an hour of usage, cheap pans, ugly cutlery, weak stoves, and small refrigerators – all of these do not spell out success. The initial investment may be high, but in the long run, all of this pays for itself.Think about the equipment you get. For example, getting some the best food trolleys Australia has to offer will make things run much smoother than buying rusty, old tins. These are more hygienic and are easier to use. A lack of storage space in your fridge can stop you from taking on too many customers, costing you money and prestige.
Both in regard to how you decorate and how you draft up your money, you need to be unique and precise. Namely, you want to stand out, to be different and original. The last thing you want is just placing your restaurant as a carbon copy of some competitor. By this, we refer not only to your menu but to your décor as well.
Too many restaurants try to get as much variety into their menus as possible. And while this may be attractive to customers, at a certain point, you won’t be able to create a name for yourself or your food. It’s very difficult to pull off many different types of cuisines in one restaurant, and you’ll just end up with quantity over quality. Furthermore, you will have more difficulty creating your own identity, your own style.
As far as how your restaurant actually looks, the same rules apply. You want to create your own unique style, but still, make it approachable. The last thing you want is to get into a situation where people can’t differentiate you from your competitors.
Running a restaurant is no easy feat. The multitasking, the stress, the hassle. Not to mention how high of a failure rate restaurants have. So if you want to make it, you need to keep a couple of very important things in mind. Always try to get the best equipment possible. Work hard to be unique both in terms of the food you offer and in how your restaurant actually looks. Draw up a good plan, and remember the importance of location.