Hospitality businesses and many others have been negatively impacted by the stay-at-home restrictions and uncertainty brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
However, life must go and on and, if facing a tough last 18 months or so has made you reevaluate your life, you might be keen to finally make your dream of opening a new restaurant a reality. Before you open the doors and invite people in, here are some key things to work on.
1. Research Thoroughly
The first step is to understand the market well in your area. Learn about your target audience and what they like and earn, how they shop and discover products and services, the times of day they eat, etc. Determine who your new restaurant target market is, so you can design a premise, menu, and other factors based on these people.
You must also research the competition. What is out there already, and where do you see a gap? How are other restaurants currently serving the target market, and where do they excel and fall short?
Test out these dining experiences wherever possible, especially any venues that offer anything close to what you plan to give to your customers regarding food style, ambiance, pricing, and so on.
2. Develop Fresh Concepts For Your New Restaurant
All of your research will enlighten you on how you might develop a concept for your venue that is fresh, new, and enticing to the demographic you want to target. You’ll need to come up with a unique experience to offer clients so you stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Once you develop this idea, design all processes, creations, marketing, etc., around this concept so that every element and consumer touchpoint places diners firmly inside the look and feel you are going for, and there is no disconnection or confusion.
Every detail must consider your concept, including your new restaurant’s location, fit-out, branding, customer service, website, music choices, dinnerware, and more.
3. Choose the Best Location and Consider Fit-Out Carefully
It is tough building a successful hospitality venture if you don’t find suitable premises. Whether you buy a freehold or, more likely, rent a place, you need to be sure you choose a location with plenty of foot traffic and that people will see when driving by. It should also be easy for people to get to by public transport or park at.
When checking out venue options, think about how many diners you want to fit in and if you’ll have the cooking capacity to make the number of meals required per night to make ends meet. Examine the kitchen facilities and factor in any renovation costs you’ll need to cover as well as fit-out expenses.
A crucial success factor is how restaurant premises come across to potential diners. You must create ambiance and a welcoming vibe and fit out your space in a way that maximizes the number of people you can serve while also leaving plenty of room for people to move about.
You may want to add in other elements, such as a live music spot, too. Every component of the fit-out should tie in nicely to your business concept and brand.
It pays to think about setting up a bar environment so people who need to wait for their table can have a drink and something to nibble on to keep them happy and engaged. Buy comfortable yet appealing restaurant stools that fit nicely along the bar.
Consider hiring an expert mixologist, sommelier, or bartender to create exciting drinks, too. This might even be part of your concept to generate buzz.
4. Develop a Comprehensive Business Plan
Help yourself turn your new restaurant into a successful venture by developing a comprehensive business plan well before launch. Planning in this way will make it easier to check that you’ve thought everything through and, if you need to get investors or a loan, it is something you’ll need available.
Your business plan should note factors such as your concept and branding ideas, target audience, the competition, location, and financial costs and projects.
Describe the key roles and responsibilities of each owner. Use your business plan to nut out the types of team members you require and develop processes to ensure you can offer consistency of meals and dining experiences.
Your plan can cover all your marketing and sales ideas plus the legalities you need to consider. For instance, work out the business structure and determine which licenses you must obtain and what is required to get them.
Being prepared and strategic about your new restaurant before you open it will help you cut costs and avoid common pitfalls. Test and measure as time go by so you can keep improving, too, and you are much more likely to create a business that has been around for many years.
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I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.