How to Start a Successful Restaurant Business

It might be time to sit down and develop a strategy to launch your own restaurant business. We've put up a how-to-get-started guide to ensure you have all the ingredients you need to open your restaurant quickly. It will help you formulate a winning strategy.

Despite being one of the most exciting and challenging ventures to undertake, opening a restaurant takes time and effort. The first year is actually when 60% of businesses fail.

This info is not to you rain on your parade. This is only to point out that significant time and money investments are required if you want to open a successful business.

So why do many restaurants fail, if you may ask?

The cause is a lack of preparation and planning. You'll spend a lot of time planning out every aspect of your restaurant before serving a single meal to your customer. The planning phase will make or break your restaurant, from kitchen equipment and menus to floor designs and personnel decisions.

We have asked a couple of restaurant owners to share their insights so that you may better plan, finance, and manage your new restaurant.

1. Develop the Right Objectives

You must be passionate about what you do if you want to prosper as a restaurant owner. Some are certain that opening a restaurant was the correct move for them, but when they first started, they had to work evenings cleaning offices to make ends meet. It indeed isn't a bed of roses. 

You must be passionate about starting up a business for it to be successful. Not just that, you will need to devote ample time and money to it. It's also a good idea to consider your restaurant's aesthetic in the game's early stages.

Having someone you know who has an eye for design is also helpful. 

2. Establish a Competent Business Plan

You can't just jot down your business plan on a table napkin. You need a comprehensive business plan that lays out your way to success. Having said that, we recommend starting with a Lean Plan to make the company planning procedure straightforward.

Consider your business plan a live document that you regularly check to support growth planning and performance progress. You can choose what is realistic and how to advance with the help of your business plan.

It should also contain a comprehensive analysis of competitors, target market, market research, marketing strategy, and a reliable financial and budgeting estimate. Remember to keep an eye on industry trends as you consider the design of your restaurant. Take note that timing is crucial for every startup business. 

3. Have an Ideal Location 

Location is vital when opening a restaurant. It would help if you have a good place that attracts crowds, is easy to get to, and has room for expansion. Moreover, you also need a venue aligned with your budget. As you search for the ideal location, it is sensible that you take your time.

Additionally, you might want to research to see if there are any restaurant incubator spaces you can join. This is to keep your initial expenses down and offer mentoring options. 

Whether you want to rent space or build your own, choosing a location is one of the crucial decisions you'll take as a business owner. However, you don't have to carry out a significant initial build-out.

4. Do Some Menu Testing

Start making your menu as an experiment. Consider hosting a dinner party featuring your chosen menu and asking for open feedback from participants. However, don't limit your invitation to only your closest friends and family.

Even if you love the taste of a particular cuisine, you won't generate income serving it if customers don't like the taste. Consider using a technique that allows anonymous comments when you ask for feedback to get people's genuine responses.

In addition, make a market analysis. Visit several restaurants to get a feel of what is fair from a price standpoint. 

5. Get the Support You Need

What is the minimum staff size required to begin? Before launch day, several restaurant experts advise hiring a manager, yet consider your top priorities first. How many cooks do you need? Does having a dishwasher helpful? How about servers? As you choose and hire employees, taking your time is essential. 

Consider doing a soft opening to see how well things operate with just a few key positions.

6. Manage Cash Flow and Procure Financing 

Make sure you know the financial requirements to start your restaurant, as with any other business. 

You'll require three financial resources. The first pool covers equipment-related and one-time expenses. The second pool covers your six months' worth of restaurant expenses, and the third pool covers a minimum of six months' worth of personal expenses.

Since your spending will likely exceed your income for at least six months, you should keep at least that much in reserve.

Restaurants don't become successful overnight. It takes patience and ample time to advertise your new business, attract a large crowd and encourage visitors to return. Some suggest you shouldn't expect to make money for the first six months. 

7. Keep Your Marketing Efforts  

Repeat clients are not a reliable source of income, so you need to continue your marketing efforts to avoid a drop in your earnings. To continue marketing your business, build a solid social media presence, try a print ad, attend the local fair, or organise a small non-profit event at your restaurant.

8. Hire the Right Team

You have the opportunity to create a great workplace culture instantly during the hiring phase of launching your new restaurant. Your future team's work/life balance should be considered while developing your employee perks, training programs, and reward system.

You will have better success with employee retention if you give these things a top priority. Begin by forming a management team to help you achieve your goal and hiring objectives. Create a list of every position in the restaurant that you need to fill in for it to run every day.

Key Takeaway 

The restaurant business will always be a significant component of our economy and culture, despite the difficulties of the pandemic. New spaces are open for new restaurants to join in and take advantage of evolving customer preferences as foodservice trends continue to diversify. 

Moreover, there is nothing better for the right owner than managing a restaurant. It requires a lot of work, but you get to create an atmosphere and cuisine that people love. Very rewarding indeed.

RosterElf: Rostering Made Easy 

RosterElf’s cloud-based payroll and rostering software truly is a game-changer. Say goodbye to roster conflicts and chase employees for their availability to work. Instead, employees can easily update their availability to work and notify managers about it through a smartphone app. 

Staff set the times and days they can work, and RosterElf does the rest. Our software then automatically suggests available employees to fill shifts. 

What are you waiting for? Time to take your rostering and payroll game to the next level and boost your business’ performance. Call us now at 1300 353 000, and our team will be more than happy to assist you. 

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Have Questions?

We Have The Answers!

What is the first step in opening a restaurant?

Develop a comprehensive business plan. It should include objectives, market research, competitor analysis, a marketing strategy, and financial estimates.

How important is location for a restaurant?

Location is crucial. Choose a spot that attracts crowds, is accessible, and has room for growth while aligning with your budget.

What should I consider when creating a restaurant menu?

Test your menu with a diverse audience and gather honest feedback. Adjust prices based on market analysis and ensure your offerings are appealing to customers.

How can I effectively manage my restaurant’s cash flow?

Prepare three financial pools: one for equipment, one for six months of expenses, and one for personal expenses. This helps cover costs until the business becomes profitable.

What’s essential for building a strong restaurant team?

Hire the right team by prioritising a positive work culture, providing good employee perks, and forming a supportive management team.

Important Notice

The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are of a general nature only and are based on RosterElf's interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice.

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