So you want to start your own restaurant. Many people have thought about opening their own restaurant, but few make the jump. But maybe you have done your research and want to start your own business. The food business is one of the most common paths to entrepreneurship, and a business plan is essential if you want to succeed in the field.
Starting a food service business means you are entering one of the most competitive industries today. There are countless restaurants across the nation, and many of them fail within a year of starting. The main challenge is not starting the business but ensuring that it will last.
There are many ways to start a restaurant. You can either start your own or buy a franchise. You will have to spend more to buy a franchise, but the restaurant franchise cost comes with brand recognition, corporate support, and shared marketing. Building a restaurant from scratch costs less, but you have to start from nothing.
1. Choose commercial-grade equipment
Only buy commercial-grade dishes and equipment when stocking your new business. It might be tempting to cut costs by buying discounted cookware and dishes from retail outlets, but they will not last long. Commercial-grade equipment is more expensive than regular kitchen equipment, but they are designed to withstand regular heavy use.
2. Buy secondhand
Buying used restaurant equipment is a great way to lower stocking costs when starting a restaurant. Restaurants fail all the time, and many of them will be looking to unload kitchen equipment. Commercial-grade kitchen equipment is designed to last for a long time, and while some of them have a few nicks and dents, they will work as well as a brand-new one.
3. Hire a good bartender
If your business has a bar, you need to make sure that great people staff it. It is not enough to know alcohol. They also have to be great with customers. The bartender should know how to read people — knowing which ones to leave alone and which ones to strike a conversation with.
4. Use a POS system
If you are serious about your business, then you should invest in a POS system. Regular cash registers are fine for small companies, but if you want to streamline operations and improve data collection, you need a POS system. A POS system will cost more at the beginning, but you will save more down the line.
5. Design the menu properly
Designing the menu is a great way to exercise your creative muscle and play around with colors and font styles. But you should stick to simple styles and limit the colors into one palette. You do not want to give your customers a headache when they read the menu. For starters, choose a simple serif or sans serif font style. Stay away from fancy text or hard-to-read styles.
Whether you are an experienced entrepreneur or just starting, these guidelines will help you in opening a restaurant. But all the research in the world cannot replace real-world experience. Exercise sound judgment and go with your gut if you are not sure about what decision to make.