Five Tips for Opening a Restaurant to Boost Your Chances of Success
The concept of opening a restaurant isn’t complicated on the surface. You cook food that other people eat and enjoy. Although the concept may seem simple enough, running a successful restaurant is anything but simple.
From making sure you make enough money to operate a tenant restaurant to making sure you pass health inspections and offering meals people look forward to eating, there’s a lot you have to do to make sure you aren’t forced to close your doors. These tips are sure to help.
Negotiate Your Lease
There are a lot of things your landlord is going to do to ensure they collect rent on your property. For example, they may provide a lower rate for the first few years, but increase it later, or they may raise rent prices depending on your profit margins. These are normal things you can expect from your landlord, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that you don’t have some say.
You should definitely attempt to negotiate your lease. That includes negotiating the terms of your lease when you first rent the building, but it also includes negotiating your lease if you have been in the building for years, or if you’re opening another location, especially if you have been successful. Your landlord is likely to negotiate better terms if you have a strong business plan or you have proven that your concept is a success.
Test Your Menu
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because you think the food you’re cooking is tasty everyone else will believe the same thing. When creating your menu, you should test the items you want to include before you print them on paper and order the ingredients.
Testing the menu might mean inviting friends and family over to try a few of your menu items, or it might mean hosting a soft opening where people are invited into the restaurant to order from your preliminary menu.
The key to this step is being open to honest feedback. You might be surprised to learn that people simply don’t like one menu item while they think adding a special ingredient to another menu item would make it better. Take their feedback into account and make changes to your menu before you open.
Hire the Right People
No matter what kind of business you have, it is extremely important to hire the right people. It is especially important when it comes to restaurant staff.
If you don’t hire qualified chefs, your food isn’t going to be very good, and people aren’t going to want to eat at your restaurant. If you hire servers who aren’t worried about cleanliness, you could find yourself in trouble with health inspectors, and if your staff aren’t dependable, you could find yourself waiting tables in order to keep your restaurant open for the night.
There are many tips out there on hiring the right people, but one of the best is simply to pay your employees well. The more you pay, the more professional your applicants will be.
Advertising a restaurant is very different than advertising other types of businesses. That’s because restaurants are completely dependent on local business. You can’t sell dinner online and ship it across the country like you can other items!
There are many ways to promote your restaurant to local residents. Just a few ideas include:
- Have a social media presence on multiple platforms
- Offer coupons and discounts in local print ads
- Create a customer loyalty program
- Build a beautiful, informative, and intuitive website
- Create an email list and send newsletters with coupons often
Open for the Right Reasons
Why are you opening a restaurant? You really have to dig deep when answering this question, as the answer can be the biggest predictor of whether or not your restaurant will be successful.
Passion, dedication, and a bull-headed need to succeed is needed in order to open a restaurant. When so many close within the first few years, it takes many more than 40 hours per week and the ability to weather ups and downs if you want to keep your doors open. If you have any reservations about the time or attention opening a restaurant requires, you aren’t likely to experience long-term success.
Opening a restaurant isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it! If you have the passion and the drive, and you follow the tips on this list, you can boost your chances of long-term success.
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