Whether you’re a regular foodie or a dining dilettante, there’s no greater pleasure in life than an excellent restaurant. Sometimes, though, nobody quite does it exactly as you want them to. Sitting in yet another mediocre restaurant, you’re thinking “I could do better than this”. Well, there’s no time like the present to put your money where your mouth is and start up your own restaurant.
This should go without saying, but just like any business venture, starting your own restaurant isn’t easy. There’s a huge amount to remember, plan and learn before you open for business, and even once you do, there’s no guarantee it’ll succeed. If you do manage to get your restaurant off the ground, though, the hospitality industry can be one of the most consistently rewarding and exciting areas in which to set up your business. We’ve gathered together a few tips to start you off on your road to success.
- Find a good supplier
The most important thing about any restaurant is, arguably, its food. Sure, ambience, decor and comfort are all crucial, but if the food isn’t great, then all the luxury in the world won’t keep potential diners from going elsewhere. You’ll need to find a consistent, high-quality supplier of great ingredients and food items to make sure your restaurant is always stocked with the best. Tridge products are an excellent choice here. Tridge is a global company which specialises in sourcing food for restaurateurs and other industry suppliers. The company collates data from the best suppliers of ingredients around the world to make sure you’re getting the best deal on the best ingredients every time.
- Plan, plan, plan
Without a solid business plan, your restaurant is sunk before it’s been launched. In simple terms, you need to know your market, your competitors, your niche and your long- and short-term financial goals. You need to keep an eye on where your industry is at and where it’s projected to be; there’s no sense cornering the market in Mexican food in your area if nobody’s dining out because of an economic recession or similar. Knowing your competition is also key, because if your down-home deli is surrounded by ten other down-home delis, there won’t be anything to set you apart, even if you do have the best food in the district. Before you set out on this adventure, make sure you’ve got a map.
- Know your staff requirements
A successful restaurant needs people to keep it running. Even if you’re the greatest chef in the world, when the customers start piling up, you’ll need help to ensure a smooth and efficient operation. The trick is knowing exactly where your restaurant sits in terms of staff numbers. You need to make sure you’ve got this somewhere in the right region before your restaurant opens, or else you’ll end up with either a whole lot of customer complaints or lots of staff sitting in the kitchen twiddling their thumbs. The size of your restaurant will affect the staff you need to hire hugely, so make sure you’ve got ballpark figures for staff numbers before you even think about opening up. You’ll also need to provide training for staff, because even if your restaurant is the greatest Chinese eatery in the world, you might not attract highly-trained or super-experienced staff in your first six months of operation.
- Keep testing your menu
Okay, so your family and friends love the food your restaurant is putting out. That might not mean everyone else will. Everyone’s a critic, and nobody’s a harsher critic than someone looking for a good night out. You need to frequently test your menu, preferably on people you don’t know if possible (this might be an extra expense you can’t afford, but if you can, it’s a great way to get unbiased feedback). If you can’t stretch to unknowns, then provide your friends and family with anonymous feedback forms to reduce any potential guilt they might feel. Testing your menu is the best way to make sure people will love your food every time they visit your restaurant.
- Love what you do
This one might sound a bit obvious, but you really, really need to be passionate about food and hospitality if you want to stay in the restaurant business. Although the fabled 90% hospitality failure rate is complete nonsense according to most studies, if you don’t care about your restaurant or you fall out of love with the industry, it’ll show in your food, your ambience and your customer experience. When your business hits a rough patch (and that’s when, not if), you’ll need enough enthusiasm and patience to weather the storm. If you’re the type to throw in the towel as soon as things get choppy, this might not be the business for you.
- Get excited
We might have sounded a bit doom-and-gloom so far, but the fact is that starting a restaurant is an incredibly exciting adventure. With the right menu, the right attitude, the right staff and the perfect location, owning and operating your own American diner, Korean BBQ grill or Indian eatery is just the best feeling in the world. Providing customers with unparalleled food and service is a thrill like no other, so once your hard work starts to pay off, be prepared to fall in love with your new job.