Are you excited and passionate about starting your own restaurant business? Anyone that tells you it’s easy may be leading you on. But with your commitment and hard work, it can be incredibly rewarding. Following these steps on how to start a restaurant business can help you along the way.
Starting a restaurant is a long, grueling process that is often thankless and has a high rate of ending in failure. You’ll struggle to make ends meet with every challenge, and it will sometimes seem impossible. Any number of people won’t believe in you. There will be long nights followed by long days, followed by long nights. You will be responsible for the ultimate failure or success, and much of your work will be done behind the scenes. This isn’t to keep you from starting the restaurant business of your dreams, but to make sure that you’re fully committed before you start. It is far easier to want to start a restaurant than to put in the time, effort and thought necessary to start a successful restaurant. But, if you manage to pull it off, you can have one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. If all of that encourages you rather than deterring you, you can proceed to learn how to start a restaurant business.
Creating Order From Chaos
It is far easier to succeed in a carefully thought out system than in a chaotic mess. Because of that, and the many steps required to open a successful restaurant business, it can be incredibly advantageous to use checklist software to ensure you never miss an investor’s scheduled call or to submit your paperwork by the deadline. With the Zip Checklist app, you can carefully monitor your progress and add in your staff as you hire them. You can set the tasks for your employees and mark it as a priority, or even answer their questions in the comments section. With a working system, you and everyone you work for will always be on the same page and work as a productive front, rather than a chaotic, scattered mass. When choosing between order and chaos, especially in the restaurant business world, choose order. Choose Zip Checklist to make sure you and your employees are all working together to create the most successful business possible.
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Making Your Concept A Reality
Once you have a system for management and the will to go forward, you will need a concept for your restaurant business. This is one of the most fun parts of the process, but make sure to keep things realistic. Make sure your restaurant doesn’t bore you because if you aren’t interested, no one else will be either. Conversely, check with friends, family, and a few strangers to see if your idea is only interesting to you. If no one else is interested, nobody else will come. When deciding on what concept to use, consider the restaurants in your area. Are you differentiating yourself enough? What will get people talking?
After your concept, you need to go hunting for a proper location. This can make or break your restaurant business, so feel free to take ample time tracking down the right location. That being said, don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good. Consider important factors of the location, such as average foot traffic, parking, nearby popular businesses, and nearby clientele that would be interested in your concept. All of these are key aspects you will use to decide your final location to start your restaurant business. Again, take your time and track your progress and notes with Zip Checklist. Rushing through any part of this process is bad, but this is a particularly easy step to get wrong and doom your business before it even starts.
Speaking of easy to get wrong, you also need to give your restaurant a name. Don’t spend as much time on this as you did the location, but still give it more thought than the first idea that comes into your head. The best names are clearly identifiable as restaurants and are memorable enough for customers to know where to return to. Also make sure it’s something easy to spell from hearing it, as people will likely need to Google your restaurant business to find the location to return. As a test, run a few names by your friends and get their initial reactions. A week or so later, ask them to write down as many names as they remember from when you asked them their opinion earlier. This accomplishes the dual task of getting their first impressions and whether each name is memorable enough to stick in customers’ heads. Keep track of everyone’s reactions and comments in the comments section of tasks in the Zip Checklist app. Of course, the style of the restaurant will determine the style of your name. A quick-style service restaurant isn’t going to be called Nebuchadnezzar, and a high-scale restaurant business is not going to call itself 24-Hour Satisfaction – at least not for long.
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A step worthy of as much time and attention as your location is your business plan. This is the critical step where you get your entire plan on paper. Write down your target audience, pricing plans, machinery, employee structure, etc. Every cost should be written out, as should every monetary resource. Leave no stone unturned. Spend much longer on this than may seem necessary. Also, use this time to evaluate if starting a restaurant business is the right choice for you. This is usually a time before you’ve began to pay for rent, machinery, and labor, so make sure everything makes sense on paper. This is the last point before things become complicated to back out. Manage your progress and look at all you have left to do on Zip Checklist. Are you as confident now as you were when you started? If so, you might have the necessary resolve to succeed in starting a restaurant business.
A large part of these considerations should be financial. Who is providing the start-up capital required for this restaurant? How will you repay them within your current plan? If it is your money, consider the risk you’re taking before you proceed. Track these commitments in Zip Checklist to ensure you do not forget to pay needed bills and have to close.
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Your restaurant business has to operate legally, so as soon as you’re sure about the restaurant business and your finances, start the paperwork for your licenses and permits. These can take a while to process, and you need to have them in time for the opening.
Hire a head chef early and work with them to make menu options that reflect your concept. Part of the consideration for your concept should have been the appeal of the food, so test that and perfect it at this stage. By rigorously preparing your dishes, you’ll have them down to a system in time for the opening. Keep notes on the reactions you get from people and what you think you can improve through Zip Checklist. Keep your menu updated and shared with your head chef through the Zip Checklist app during the process.
As for other staff, interview them thoroughly. While you have been worrying about the concept, money, and food, a majority of what the customer will experience will be your staff. They decide how good your service to customers is, so work hard to ensure the people you hire will treat customers right. Train them easily with a checklist of procedures to review, and what order to teach them in. A few more tricks to managing new staff can be found here.
With a little more preparation, time, and management with Zip Checklist, you can make sure your restaurant is cohesive enough to open. You’ll get a bit of free marketing buzz at the beginning just by opening, so make sure to capitalize on it and give customers amazing experiences to start spreading by word of mouth. There is no magic bullet to make sure your restaurant doesn’t close like many others, but with the time and effort you put in through this guide as well as the Zip Checklist task management system helping you keep employees clear on their responsibilities and accountable, you will have given it the best shot.