Starting a restaurant is no small feat. Your passion, taste, and love for food are on display for all to see. And of course – you want to get it right. But before you fire up the stoves, set the tables and swing open those doors for your new customers, there are a few things you’ll need to consider in order to make your restaurant opening the success you know it should be. From the ins and outs of a well rounded business plan, to an irresistible menu, there’s plenty to think about. Let’s take a look at the 5 most important things you need to get right before starting a restaurant.
Business planYeah, it’s a little unglamorous, but before you can get started on this new culinary journey, you’ll want to have a solid business plan from which to launch. For this, try to be as comprehensive as possible. That means thorough research into your target audience, scouting potential locations, understanding competitors, making sure your finances are in order, and a bunch of ideas on how you’ll get your name out there. Think of this plan as the blueprint for everything to come. It’s there to kick start your operations at the start, and it’ll act as a guiding reference point for your business as things really come to life.
Target audienceSo, who is it that’s actually going to be dining at your restaurant? Don’t know yet? It’s time to find out. Knowing your target audience is the most important step in starting a successful restaurant. Once you know and understand your ideal customer, planning all other aspects of the business becomes easier. It’ll help inform your decor, menu, location, pricing and overall marketing strategy. And while it could be easy to sit back and hope that most people will love the experience you’re offering, it’s vital that you get super specific. Really dig into the demographics of your target market. The more you know about them (age, income, lifestyle, likes and dislikes) the easier it becomes to meet their needs.
Great locationThere’s an age-old staying that really hits home when it comes to opening a restaurant: Out of sight, out of mind. If your venue is in the wrong spot, how is anybody supposed to find you? It won’t matter how good your menu or service are, people simply won’t even think to visit your store. And you know what that means – no customers, no sales. To avoid this potentially business killing mistake, do your best to scout a location that’s accessible, has a solid flow of foot traffic, and most important of all, is in the heart of where your target market hangs out.
Licenses and permitsWhen it comes to regulations, the food and hospitality industries must strictly adhere to many important rules that keep customers safe and businesses running smoothly. For restaurants, you’ll need to consider all state licenses and permits, including your business license, liquor license, as well as any relevant insurance and all occupational health and safety related documentation. Some of these are a little harder to get than others, so make sure to allocate sufficient funds towards them, and ensure that you leave ample time to get all of them signed off and approved.
Well thought out menuIt should go without saying, but your menu will be the heart and soul of your new restaurant. It’s what brings people out of their homes and into your venue. And if you’re a restaurant that uses digital signage, having a versatile and extensive menu on display is a great way to bring more people into your store and keep them updated on the best promotions you have on offer. Showcasing all of your best items will give people the chance to try new and exciting dishes that can only be found at your restaurant, and ultimately, it’s what diners will talk about long after they’ve paid the bill. So with all of that in mind, be sure to carefully craft and fine tune your menu before opening your doors. Experiment, taste, repeat. And once you think you’re onto something, get feedback from family, friends and other industry insiders who can all offer you varying perspectives. A wide selection of input is invaluable, and once it’s time to plate up, you’ll have a well-rounded menu that lives up to the hype and keeps people coming back for more.
In summaryIf you’re ready to take the leap and open your very own restaurant, the above tips will get you a fair chunk of the way there. But to spread the word and keep people coming back once things are opened, you’ll need to consider in-store displays and signage. With Mandoe Media’s digital signage solutions, you can easily display and update your menu as it evolves, keeping your customers informed and your brand front of mind.
Written by Lachlan Ross
Marketing Manager at Mandoe
I’m a SAAS-focused marketer with 10+ years of experience who likes to think I’ve got a way with words - thanks for stopping by and checking out this blog.