Chinese, Italian, Greek, you name it—there are more than 1 million restaurants in the United States, and you can expect that number to grow. It’s forecasted that limited services restaurants will increase by 4.9%, while table service restaurants will grow a little slower at 3.3% in 2019.
If you are considering opening a restaurant, you’ll have some competition, but here are 10 steps to consider in making your new restaurant stand out and start off successful.
1. Choose Your Concept
Assuming you know your basic category—quick-service/fast food, casual, or fine dining; you’ll need to know what type of food you’ll be serving. According to the National Retail Federation, Italian is the most popular cuisine in the US.
2. Research Your Target Market
Before you make a decision on your concept, research your market to determine if there’s a demand for the type of restaurant you want to start. You may not want to put a fine dining establishment in an area where lots of families live, but you might consider an upscale city area. Think about what type of customer you are looking for. Who will eat at your restaurant? Where do they live? What price range are they willing to pay? Does what you find out support your concept and desired location?
3. Planning – Design Layout, Equipment, and Supplies
Once you have your concept, it’s time to plan your space. What type of décor will you go with? How will you layout the kitchen, dining room, restrooms, patio, bar, waiting room, etc.? What type of equipment will you need? Depending on the type of food you are preparing you may need specialized equipment like a pizza oven. There is a lot to consider from staff uniforms, lighting, dining furniture, kitchen tools, bar tools, glassware, dishware, refrigerators, ovens, stoves, etc.
4. Technology – Choose A POS
If you are cooking food you need a reliable stove right? A point-of-sale (POS) system is just as important. It’s more than just a tab payout; it helps run your day-to-day operations. Some benefits include: tracking and analytics like what menu items sell best, cutting down on kitchen errors, managing inventory, controlling costs, preventing theft, keeping accounting accurate, giving you real-time sales numbers, and more!
5. Figure Out Staffing
When opening a restaurant, keep in mind employee staff turnover is typically high. Make sure you set competitive salaries, and consider a training program. You’ll want to attract and hire the right workers. Start w/ your top employees like your chef and manager. Then start filling roles in the back of the house and front.
Be sure to have a budget and financial plan in place. Don’t go into this business blindsided by all the startup costs, equipment, staffing, insurance, licenses, and permits, etc. Remember your business will most likely be slow at first. You need to budget enough money to cover costs for at least 6 months after opening.
7. Set Menu and Pricing
Start with a fluid menu and be prepared to change. See what your customers like and don’t like, and make appropriate changes when needed. Be sure your pricing makes sense for you and your desired customers. If you are running a little corner diner, you might want to have a $5 egg, toast and bacon platter vs. a $20 one. You’ve got to be able to profit and pay your bills as the end of the day, and your desired customer has to want to pay your prices.
8. Include Marketing Practices
How will you get people through your doors? It is more than just putting up a sign and hoping folks will see it and come in. Before you open get your resources in place—website, social platforms, promotional products, and print materials, etc. You’ll also need a strategy for increasing your traffic, and advertising budget.
9. Provide Great Customer Service
What kind of atmosphere do you want to create? How will you treat your customers? The kitchen is bound to make a mistake. How will you handle it? How will you train your employees to make customers feel when they are dining in your establishment? It’s all part of building your business, and it’s important for return patrons.
No doubt opening a restaurant is hard work, work that starts way before you open your doors. Following these 9 steps can help you stand out and be successful, and don’t forget about #4. POS software can really make restaurant life easier. Call Bepoz to learn more about our Restaurant POS system.