Everyone knows that opening a restaurant is a difficult undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be all blood, sweat, and tears! Here, we break down some tips that will streamline the process of opening your own restaurant and help entrepreneurs obtain restaurant loans to start and grow their businesses successfully.
Before you embark on opening a fast-food restaurant, here’s what you need to know about the fast food industry. The fast food industry has been changing in recent years, and instead of being confined to fast-service, drive-through restaurants, the industry has been placing more of an emphasis on quality and atmosphere. The term “fast food” now includes restaurants such as Panera and even full-service restaurants that offer carry-out and delivery options.
So what does this mean for potential entrepreneurs? There are more opportunities out there, but there is also more competition.
1. Do Your Research
The increasingly competitive fast-food industry is difficult to enter, so it’s important that you do your homework. Consider connecting with someone who has made the journey before. Business networking events are held quite often by Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, and Chambers of Commerce. These provide excellent opportunities to pick the brains of successful people! Furthermore, if you know of restaurants that have failed, try to find out why, so you can avoid making the same mistakes. Having knowledge of what has and hasn’t worked in the past will help you better define your target market, and build a business that is more likely to succeed. Find your niche, and deliver a unique product with quality.
2. Location, Location, Location
It’s common knowledge that businesses at busy street corners or in cities probably receive more traffic, but there are other potential locations that could be just as successful. For example, many suburban locations are a great place to start lucrative family-run restaurants. Visit Business.gov for more insight on how to choose a prime location for your restaurant business.
3. Start Small
Don’t be afraid to start small. In fact, starting small is a great first step towards starting a restaurant business because small businesses require less capital and less risk, and you’ll still learn the fundamentals of restaurant business. Entrepreneurs who don’t feel quite ready to jump into complete business ownership can start with a fast-food franchise, a good stepping stone into the restaurant industry.
4. Have a Business Plan
Like all businesses, your restaurant business will need a business plan, too. A business plan is crucial for communication with potential partners and investors, and for applying for a small business restaurant loan.
Visit a few banks to find out which bank provides the best service for your business. Your business plan can serve as a strong basis for a loan proposal or loan application. Make sure you have clear goals and plans, as potential lenders will want to have a clear description of how much money you need and what it will be used for. Keep in mind not to overestimate how much money you need in your restaurant loan! For example, you can save quite a bit of capital if you opt for local produce.
6. Stay Within the Law!
From restaurant hygiene laws to liquor licenses, understand and comply with legal and regulatory guidelines. Research all laws regarding wages, tips, food safety, etc., before opening your business. This is crucial for your success.