By Lidia Staron
Giada Pamela De Laurentiis -- notable chef, writer, and TV personality -- has this to say about food:
“Food brings people together on many different levels. It's nourishment of the soul and body; it's truly love.”
Indeed, where there is food, there are people, and where there are people, business is very likely to thrive. It’s probably this same line of thinking that has inspired so many others to venture into a restaurant business. But remember, not everyone who runs a restaurant succeeds. There are numerous factors that come into play that will shape your destiny; nevertheless, if you’re reflecting on the idea you can find your niche in the world.
It All Begins with A Concept
Starting a restaurant business requires more than a healthy dose of inspiration and passion. First and foremost, you have to be clear about what you want your restaurant to turn out. Conceptualize. Decide if you’re going all out on your own and establish an independent restaurant, or if you’re going to operate a franchise. Is it going to be a fast-food resto or a fine-dining restaurant? There are pros and cons, either way, so make time to explore and weigh them carefully.
If you’re establishing an independent restaurant, you must come out with your own brand. Remember, there’s a lot of competition out there, so having your own brand matters greatly. It will give you identity and keep you focused. Whether it’s seafood, organic, purely vegetarian, all-meaty, all-grilled, bread and pastries, health food, or something else, make your brand something people will look forward to.
When you’re clear about what you want, it’ll be easier to design your restaurant. Take to the internet your need for ideas and floor plans. Maybe pin ideas in a Pinterest account. The internet is also a good place to look for relevant information on personal loans online, business, and personnel development.
Write It Down: Create A Business Plan
Creating a business plan will help ensure you’ll start on the right foot and stay on the right track. Likewise, a sound business plan will make it easier to secure funding from investors or lending institutions should you need it.
Essentially, your business plan must include an executive summary, an overview of your company, a look into the market you’re breaking into, an identification of current trends, strengths, and challenges, details of your products and services, your marketing strategies, your financial projection, and a composition of your management team.
Figure it Out: Estimate the Costs
You’ll also need to figure how much capital is needed to jumpstart your restaurant and keep it running for the next few months, at the very least. Calculate all the costs, including manpower, overhead, cost of licenses, and so on, and see if your savings are enough to cover them; otherwise, consider securing funding.
The Right Place at The Right Time: Claim Your Spot
Location is an important factor to consider when opening a new restaurant. You will want to go for one where there is a lot of foot traffic and is easily accessible by your target market. Also take into account your competitors in the area, as well as the local labor cost.
Secure All the Required Licenses
Don’t put your credibility on the line; make sure to secure all the necessary licenses and permits before starting your business. If you need to consult a legal adviser, do so in order to avoid facing legal battles and expensive inconveniences in the future.
Shop Around for Supplies & Suppliers
If you’re going for the long haul, make sure your suppliers are in it, as well. Evaluate your suppliers’ capability to provide a steady flow of supplies at the most reasonable cost without compromising quality, of course. You may even want to engage in a prime vendor relationship or ask your vendors for discounts.
Build Up Your Restaurant Team
A team can make or break a business, so make sure to hire the right people who are right for the job. Basically, you’ll need an executive chef, an assistant chef, a general manager, cooks, servers, food runners, dishwashers, and cashiers.
You’ll also need supervisors, officers, and staff to handle human resources, accounting and auditing, purchasing and receiving, and undertake other roles to support your frontline. When choosing your team, carefully select from your pool of applicants based on their qualifications and standing in the community.
Get the Word Out
If you want to be known quickly, take advantage of social media platforms. Get the word out about your business via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like; post photos of your products and services, updates and promos. Invest in the services of social media influencer to spread the word about your business.
It’s also a good idea to create a website and to get your business listed on the business directory.
It can be a bit overwhelming to think about all these things, but take a deep breath, digest all these pieces of information, and just give it your best shot.
About the Author
Lidia Staron has been working as a writer, editor and literary coach for 5 years. She contributes articles about the role of finance in the strategic planning and decision-making process.