Perhaps it's been on the back burner for a while or you suddenly had the spark over a fantastic meal at your favorite restaurant, either way, you've decided to open your own restaurant. You've seen plenty of them rise from nothing so surely you can do it too?
But jumping in head first is probably not your best option especially when 23% of restaurants fail in the first year of operation. Not very rosy, is it?
To ensure that your new restaurant doesn't fall before it's even begun, we've put together 8 points that you should consider before opening your restaurant.1. Think about your idea
You've got your idea and you're ready to get creating. But before you jump straight in, think about some of the advantages and disadvantages of opening your venue.
Not only is opening a new business pricey but it takes a lot of time and effort. Check, and double check your finances and ensure the builders you choose understand your vision. Then be sure to check the local market.
How many venues are opening up in the area? Are they going to be competing with you? If you find yourself worried that your venue may get lost in the rush of openings hitting the market, why not hold off for a few weeks? This will ensure when it comes time to open your venue, you are the star attraction.
2. Investigate your competitors
As mentioned, find out how many and what kind of restaurants are going to open in the near future. Moreover, check out the number of places there are in your area and city and what food they are selling, visitor statistics, marketing strategy, and location.
With this knowledge, you will be able to build a strong strategy and prevent competitor's mistakes happening within your own business. It, of course, won’t guarantee success but will give you a great chance to be better than your competitors.
Then, you should write a clear business plan, where you should add each stage of starting and managing your idea. Your business plan encompasses your whole idea in one document and allows your business partner and any financial institutions to easily see where you are headed. Your business plan is the tool you’ll use to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is a smart choice.
4. Think if you need a business partner
You've got your business down on paper and now it's time to decide if you need some extra helping hands. A great business partnership all comes down to whether the person you partnered with truly envisions your venue. Make sure you find someone that understands your vision and is willing to go the extra mile to make it come to life.
If you've chosen to find a business partner it's probably because opening a business is a new venture for you. Not being 100% comfortable with what you are doing is ok and needing a helping hand to guide you and provide advice is just another step to helping your dream venue open its doors.
5. Create a unique menu
If you do not have a clear plan for what kind of cuisine you want to represent in your restaurant, then you should think about what foods you enjoy. Why not sit down with a cookbook or visit your favorite restaurant and see what makes their menu so appealing?
Once you have a general idea of what you would like to include, you can go ahead and create your menu. This can be done in a few different ways:
- Hire a chef and ask them to prepare unique meals based on your cuisine of choice
- Create a menu according to your expertise
- Update known recipes and add exclusive details to them
6. Restaurant reservation software
You should provide your customers with an opportunity to easily find your restaurant, book a table, take a look at the menu and check out reviews.
This is where restaurant reservation software comes in handy as it is able to perform all these functions in one place. In fact, the majority of restaurant diners think that technology helps their guest experience, according to a study from Toast.
Using a restaurant reservation software also makes booking a table at your venue much easier for your guests, and the statistics reflect that: 47% of restaurant consumers said that making reservations online is easier than making restaurant reservations in another way while 34% said they’re more likely to choose restaurants that offer the ability to make online reservations.
With so many people now online 24/7, bringing your business into the web space will not only help people find you but help you find them.
7. Get marketing
As everyone knows, we live in a digital era, where the Internet rules.
For the successful promotion of your restaurant and in order to be closer to customers, you need to care for the online side of your business.
Creating a page on Instagram is always a good idea. With it, you can provide your visitors with useful information in the form of visual content such as food or venue photos. You can also repost your clients’ posts about your restaurant to create more of a buzz. Don't forget to use #hashtags that are suitable for your photo to help attract more customers.
- Your restaurant website
Create a website for your customers to use. This allows you to share your location, contacts, price, menu, special offers, and events. Do not forget that visitors should have the opportunity to contact you in a few different ways - phone, email, social networks. If a customer fails to get in contact with you this creates a very poor experience.
8. Think about the opening event
Everything's ready and now it's time to get those doors open. But first, it's time to think about your opening event.
Your opening event is a way to introduce the community to your venue. It could be a day or evening with special offers, live music, special guests and so on. A great option is to invite popular social influencers and journalists who can provide your restaurant with a review.
Don't forget to post your event on social media before, during and after to create a buzz and get the word out about your venue!
Opening a new business isn't easy and requires a lot of dedication and hard work. There may be struggles but there will also be triumphs. Whether you are opening your business tomorrow or next year, planning and preparation are key to your success.
Kate Lawson is a Content Manager at EatApp.co, a restaurant reservation software. She is a specialist in relationship, lifestyle and travel topics.
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