For many people, opening a restaurant is a lifelong dream. But as with most dreams, making it come true can be challenging. Someone doesn’t become a restauranteur overnight. In fact, opening a restaurant is often a long, drawn-out process that can wear down even the most passionate potential restauranteurs. This post will make the process a bit easier by providing a simple-to-follow checklist for opening a restaurant.
Decide On Your Restaurant Concept
Owners always have the option of franchising an already well-established restaurant. While doing so requires them to pay a franchising fee upfront, it also gives them immediate brand recognition. The built-in customer base provides a leg up on the local competition. But for owners who want to craft a restaurant in their own vision, proper time and consideration should be given to the restaurant concept.
Your restaurant concept includes its food, menu, atmosphere, and service style. Even your restaurant’s name should make sense in the context of everything else. Ideally your concept should be unique enough to differentiate your foodservice from other establishments. But at the same time, a concept that is too unique might alienate potential customers. So it’s a delicate balancing act. Food is the foundation of any successful restaurant, so try to base your concept around what dishes you offer.
Choose a Location
It’s always best to thoroughly scout surrounding areas before buying or leasing a building. After all, you don’t want to open a pizzeria down the street from a town’s favorite pizza joint. The more foot traffic a location receives, the more potential customers you’ll have. Of course, buildings in busier locations are costlier. It’s also important to know the demographics of your community. If you’re in a college town, fast food and fast casual will likely fare much better than fine dining establishments.
The savvy move when it comes to identifying a good location is to find an up-and-coming area that’s undervalued in the real estate market. If you anticipate the area will receive more traffic in the near future, it could make a perfect location of your restaurant. Buying or leasing a building that was previously set up as a restaurant can help save you some money. Rather than having to do construction to set up gas and water lines, everything will already be in place.
If you’re wondering how to open a restaurant with no money, the simple answer is to get some. Cash is just another of the many things needed to start a restaurant. So whether you want to borrow it from a friend or a family member, take out a loan, or just dip into your savings, you’ll want to figure out the money situation upfront. After all, there’s no point in putting in hundreds of hours into brainstorming and research if you don’t have the wherewithal.
If you’re relying on investors to fund your restaurant, you’ll likely have to present a detailed business plan. And even if you’re not relying on outside investors, formulating a business plan is a great way to know exactly where you’re going. A good business plan should include everything about your restaurant – concept, location, revenue projections, estimated costs, and local competition are just some of the many topics it should cover.