So you want to open a restaurant? Great! Here are five key suggestions that will help make it a success!
#1. HIRE A CONSULTANT
- Every successful venture, from mountain climbing to financial planning to a surprise birthday party for your sweetheart, requires planning. The more risk involved in the venture, the more important it is to have an experienced and qualified planning team in place to ensure success. Having a qualified Food Service Consultant on board will help make your restaurant a success!
- A consultant will…
- Help you navigate through local code issues.
- Select equipment that fits your menu.
- Understand the long-term cost of ownership of equipment.
- Design work space for staff efficiency and workflow.
- Make sure you have sufficient storage.
- Maximize the use of your space.
- Consider staff and customer safety issues.
- Design for positive customer experience.
- Foresee expensive errors or omissions.
- Communicate effectively with other professionals involved in your project such as the architect, engineers, health inspector or contractor.
#2. CREATE A UNIQUE STORY
- To stand out from the crowd, your restaurant must have a unique story.
- Consider your passions.
- Think about the “Why?” of creating your restaurant.
- As a restaurateur, who are you and why do your want to embark on this restaurant endeavor?
- Make your story the story of you or of your brand.
- Communicate your story through the decor, your food, your drinks and even the personality of your staff.
- This story must be authentic and come from the true nature of the restaurant.
- The better the story, the more people will enjoy it. They will relate their experience to others and do the marketing for you.
#3. BE SUFFICIENTLY FUNDED
- I have a business associate who makes a living buying like-new restaurant equipment, at auction for pennies on the dollar and reselling it. The reason his business is so successful is because so many ambitious and passionate restaurateurs launched their business without sufficient funding. The result is they simply ran out of money before the business became profitable.
- Here are a few recommendations to be sure you are sufficiently funded.
- During the design process, your Food Service Consultant can tell you what to budget for your build-out and equipment package. From this information, you can estimate what your start-up costs will be.
- Your Consultant can also help you determine how much staff you will require, as well as, advise on ongoing operational costs. From this, you can estimate what your gross receipts need to be in order to realize a profit.
- In addition to startup costs, have at least 18 months of your own salary in reserve. You may own a restaurant now, but you still have to eat (and pay bills)!
- Don’t forget to include the cost of an aggressive marketing campaign during the first few months of business.
- The tragedy of so many failed restaurateurs is that, had they counted the cost FIRST, they would have either been sufficient funded or not gone into business at all due to lack of sufficient funding. Opening a restaurant without sufficient funding and being forced to close soon after is no joke. It can be financially devastating.
#4. HIRE AND TRAIN WELL
- Your staff will be the collective face and voice that tells your story. If they don’t tell it the same way you want it told, your customers will never truly experience your unique story.
- Here are some considerations:
- Hire people whose demeanor, personality and service ethic are consistent with the story of your restaurant.
- Create a system of practices and procedures that will effectively communicate your unique story.
- Train, train, train your staff in these practices and procedures.
- Test, test, test your staff and hold them accountable for performing your practices and procedures.
- Those who do not perform must be replaced with those who will. This is essential for telling a consistent story and providing consistent service to your customers. Don’t make your customers out to be liars! If they have a good experience and share it with friends, make sure their friends have the same experience. This can only be done through a proper system of hiring, training and accountability.
- Invest in your employees. Since your employees are the face of the restaurant, they are who your customer comes in contact with most. Make sure they have everything they need to do their jobs properly. Keep them happy and invite their involvement and support.
#5. OBSERVE AND ANALYZE
- Observe all the aspects of your restaurant.
- Collect data about customer experience, staff performance, food costs, spoilage, etc.
- Identify patterns.
- Identify trends.
- Identify time and money sinks such as hours or even days that you’re open and making no profit or dishes that require a lot of prep time but fall short on the profit margin.
- Identify what generate the most profit (staff, products, hours, specials etc.): In one case, on evenings when certain staff were working the restaurant’s profit was 15% larger. Not surprisingly the manager tried to have that staff work as often as possible. In addition, these individuals were recruited to create practices and procedures for training new and existing staff.
- Analyze the data and make corrections as necessary. This is crucial and often overlooked. It is not easy and takes a lot of work, but it is worth it!
One additional thought. If it is financially feasible, hire someone to run the day-to-day operations for you. This will free you to continue developing the business, creating new initiatives and growing your customer base. It will enable you to work ‘on’ the business and not ‘in’ the business, so to speak. This will provide you the ability to keep your eye on the big picture. Your story is your standard. Provide the leadership and create the accountability necessary to tell your wonderful, unique story! Best of luck!
At the PES Design Group our mission is: “Designing functionally innovative, attractive and profitable c-store and food service facilities on time and on budget”. Our promise to you is, that whatever your project may be, we will approach it as unique. We will use our years of experience to design innovation and uniqueness into your project helping you to set yourself apart from the rest. We will also use innovation to solve challenging issues such as space, time and budget constraints.
About the Consultant
Jim Richards (Jr) is the Managing Member of Cademan Enterprises, LLC and Food Service Consultant with PES Design Group’s Southeast Office. During his 25 years of experience in the Food Service Design Industry, Jim has encountered countless design challenges that he has successfully overcome through experience and innovation.
Call us today for a FREE consultation about your project! 800.850.6638