Opening a restaurant is one of the most common entrepreneurial endeavors. A lot of people love to cook, even more people love to eat, so opening a restaurant is a natural option for many want-to-be business owners.
The thing is, few of those who embark on the dinning establishment adventure realize what it truly takes to make it work. Here is what you need to know to be “in the know.”
Know Your Financing Options
Those who want to get into the restaurant business are seen by, and turned down by, lenders every day. This doesn’t mean it is impossible to get financing, but you do need to know what your options are. The traditional bank and credit union options are available, but there is a whole new world of lenders online as well. Be sure you see what they have to offer.
Self-funding, crowdfunding, and capital investors are always viable options as well, so keep those things in mind. Sometimes the best bet is some combination of these.
Have a Written Plan
A plan isn’t really anything until it is written. An unwritten plan can be ignored much more easily In addition, a written plan gives lenders something tangible to hold on to.
Of course writing isn’t the end game. Having it in hand is not enough. You have to follow it. You have to stick to it. You have to refer to it, follow it, trust it, and know when to tweak it.
Menu and Location are Key
When it comes to a restaurant business, the two most important things, after financing, are menu and location.
The menu needs to be uncomplicated. The food doesn’t have to be, but there shouldn’t be too many different “types” of food either. Whatever you are, be that, with the exception of an option or two for those who may not enjoy your standard fare.
Pick something, and do it great.
Location is one of your greatest marketing tools. If you are outside the movie theater, you will get the after movie crowd. If you are downtown you may get lunch time foot traffic.
If you have great food and a not so great location you can still be successful, but it may will take longer.
The two combined however, are a power couple.
A Word on Employees
Two things about employees should be noted. First, experience and proper training are important. If you are not hiring experience, step up the training.
Your employees stand between customers and the food, and the best food in the world cannot make up for a bad customer service experience.
Also, be wary of hiring family. While it may seem like a good option, and it is not impossible for it to be so, it is very likely that it will not turn out the way you wish.
Family tends to take advantage of familial ties and not do their best, which is not a risk that needs to be taken in the beginning.