If you’ve finally decided to take the next step and open up a restaurant of your own, you’ve probably been faced with the question, where do I start? Maybe it’s always been your dream but you’ve been too afraid to go through with it. After all, opening a restaurant is challenging work. However, there are many things that you can do to make the process simpler. In this article, we’ll cover 5 things you can do before opening a restaurant to ensure your venture is a success.
Choose the right location
Location, location, location! Choosing the right location is key to running a profitable establishment, especially if your digital marketing budget is on the lighter side. Keep in mind, this is a decision you have to make before applying for a loan as well since it will determine the cost of your rent, lease, or mortgage.
Before settling on the perfect spot for your restaurant, there are various factors to consider. Is there a lot of foot traffic in the area? What’s the visibility like? It’s important to have a lot of people around at all times in order for your restaurant to get noticed. Visibility should be taken into consideration as well. For instance, you wouldn’t want your restaurant to be on a side or residential street where no one would pass by it.
Also, take note of the competitors nearby. Do they offer the same cuisine you want to serve? Do they already have many regular customers? Going up against a well-established restaurant with a similar menu and in the same area could put you at a substantial disadvantage. For example, if you’re opening up a pizzeria, you wouldn’t want to go up against a restaurant that is known for being the best in the city. So, the best thing to do would be to steer clear of it. In general, you want to decide on a location that will give you the opportunity to thrive as a newcomer.
Apply for financing
No matter the location or size of venue, you’re more than likely going to need a loan to make up the costs. Before you can apply for any kind of financing, you must make sure you have the right paperwork in place. You’ll need three tax returns, a personal financial statement, and pay stubs from your previous (or current) place of employment.
Here are some tips before applying for a loan:
- Regularly keep an eye on your credit score. The higher it is, the easier it is to get the loan you desire.
- Create a strong, accurate, and detailed business plan. This is important for establishing a good point as to why you need a loan. Having all of your goals, ideas, and funds in place gives the lender a better understanding of the kind of loan you need.
- Pick the right lender for your restaurant. Not all lenders are equally qualified and it’s best to take your time and talk to a few different ones. A good lender will offer you various repayment options and customizable choices. For instance, Lending Loop can provide you with many options for a small business loan including personalized rates.
Invest in the right tools
Using your loans to invest in the right tools is necessary for managing your restaurant efficiently. Currently, there are many apps you can use to enhance operations. Though, we recommend getting an all in one manager app that integrates well with your POS system to make things easier.
With a restaurant or bar inventory app, you’ll be able to cut costs by only ordering the stock you need to meet customer demands. Taking inventory manually will eat up all of your time and stress out your staff. This could lead to a decline in many areas of your business including customer satisfaction. For example, you could risk not having the right inventory in stock to please your visitors.
Also, some bar manager apps like WISK give you the ability to cost cocktails. This could come in handy when opening up a new restaurant and putting your menu together. With precise beverage costs, you’ll be able to know exactly how much you’re spending on each drink and price them accordingly for your menu.
Build a (functional) website
Although building a website takes a lot of time and money, it’s something that will boost conversions in the long run. From being found in Google’s search results to allowing individuals to make reservations, you’ll definitely have more customers with a website. Now, your website doesn’t have to have a complicated design or anything like that It just needs to have good user experience with informative and valuable content as well as a sufficient contact page. A full menu is another thing that will help potential customers plan out their meals and ultimately, decide if they want to visit or not.
Additionally, make sure your website is optimized for all desktop and mobile devices. You don’t want users noticing different formatting issues from any of their devices. This could cause them to navigate away from your website and visit a competitor’s instead. Also, remember that most users actually view websites from their mobile devices. That being said, making sure your website is mobile-friendly at all times is a necessity.
Put together a unique menu
People love trying new (and even strange) food. That being said, when you offer things that no one else is offering, you’re bound to get attention. Even if your restaurant is a classic burger joint, there are many ways to spice things up. Don’t settle for the regular “cheeseburger” or “mushroom burger”. Instead, create your own unique recipes to get people to keep coming back. For instance, The Works offers various unusual burgers on their menu like, “Six Degrees of K’vin Bacon,” which has 3 different types of bacon. Overall, offering something different is one of the most effective ways to create buzz for a new restaurant.
In addition, don’t forget to consider the beverages. Customers are more likely to visit a restaurant that can offer more than the usual gin and tonic or Manhattan. For instance, Station Cafe & Kitchen offers a few keto-friendly cocktails on its menu. It’s no secret that being accommodating to all diets can get you more customers. Something like this appeals greatly to the many individuals who are on this popular, but strict diet.
Overall, there is no end to things you must take into consideration when launching a new restaurant. However, we’ve covered some crucial ones in this article. From deciding on the right location to crafting the perfect menu, there are many important things to think about before moving forward with your restaurant plans. Though, it will all be worth it when you’re finally running your own restaurant.