According to National Restaurant Association in the USA, 1 million restaurant locations are currently competing for customer attention. It’s because of this huge number that there is a strong need for new restaurants to carve a niche for themselves in the market.
Despite the tough competition, more and more people are dreaming of owning an eatery of their own. Yes, opening a new restaurant is a risky business venture. But which profession is not? Moreover, with smart planning and rational financing options, it is possible to turn this dream into a reality.
If you are passionate enough to grow your restaurant idea and learn the ropes of the game, the key is to start with the basics:
What’s so different about your restaurant?
It is good to have faith in your idea. But being overly confident about it is sheer foolishness. Before you decide the concept, conduct a thorough market research. See what is trending, what did not work in the past and what you think can work in the future.
Learn customer preferences and demands. Once you are done with this, decide the restaurant concept. Is it going to be fine dining or a quick service establishment? Are you going to focus on fast food or a specific cuisine?
What is the restaurant’s serving style going to be like? It is going to a self-service? A buffet? Consider the ambience of the place. Furniture, lighting, glass and dishware, linen, music and server’s uniform are some of the things you must have a clear picture on.
Most importantly, how are you going to pitch the restaurant to consumers, investors and potential employers? Pull out pictures from décor & lifestyle magazines and online portals of furniture, cloth swatches, decorations, lights and food items. Place them aesthetically in the mood board.
Now try writing one line about the concept. If you are able to write more than that, it means you do have a clarity of what you want to accomplish in the coming months. Share the draft of the pitch with your colleague or family. Note their feedback and make improvements thereon.
What’s your business plan?
The thought of having to curate a plan to fund your business through investors can easily drop you at your wit’s end, isn’t it? It is because of this “fear factor” that lots of business owners prolong the process of writing business plans.
However, if you want to grow your idea, you need funding and that is not possible until you reach out to investors and impress them with your business plan! Many restaurant owners make the mistake of avoiding this path altogether.
Don’t be like them. In fact, having a business plan will help you get an idea on more technical aspects such licensing, legal and construction. A business plan is your roadmap to success and you must never undermine its importance.
Draft a plan and then request your colleagues or family members to go through it. Re-write and re-discuss it as many times as possible. It is always good to have your flaws pointed out by people who want the best for you, rather than by those who are waiting to pull you down.
So make sure your business plan covers all the necessary information before the main pitch. Don’t hesitate to put all your efforts.
To know about making business plans in detail, check out this blog post.
What’s your restaurant’s location?
This is an exciting phase because everything you have planned for till now is going to be executed here. Choosing the right location for your restaurant is critical. Before you start scouting locations, you must do extensive research on demographics, competition, rent costs, visibility and history.
Based on your findings, narrow down a few locations you think will fit. You can even connect with a realtor to help you further. Remember to focus on what the space can become rather than what it looks like in its present state.
Keep the following points in mind:
- Target market and ideal customer profile
- Market conditions, including foot traffic and nearby areas of interest
- Other eateries near the location – Who poses competition?
- Size of the place – It should be spacious!
- Previous tenants – Who occupied the space in the past? Why did they leave?
Don’t forget to choose a location that seamlessly aligns itself with your restaurant’s vision and aesthetics. The place and neighboring area should be neat and clean. You must also check out the parking facility, if available in the area. Everything about the place should be convenient and not pose as obstacles in the future.
Now that we have covered the basics, next step is to look into the legalities of setting up the restaurant. But we will cover that in the next article.