It’s easy to get swept away by emotive details, such as the colour of the walls, the type of music you’ll play and your signature dish but if you’re seriously considering running a restaurant business, here are 5 things you must consider.
You’ve probably already got a spot in mind – maybe it’s a holiday destination you’d love to live at year-round or perhaps it’s a shop front on your local high street. It’s easy to get swept away by romance or low rent and choose a location that’s not suitable for your business. Location is critical to the success of a new restaurant as it dictates ease of access and passing trade. When choosing a location, analyse your options carefully and make sure you fully understand the trade off from being down a side street rather than on the main drag. If a unit has opened up due to another restaurant closing, contact the owners to find out why they shut.
Every restaurant needs customers – and you need your customers to come back, often, and tell their friends. Customer service is one of the simplest yet hardest things to get right. Your goal is to create an environment so pleasant that the bad reviews you get are actually positives (‘One star – the hand-made chocolate with my free coffee was a nougat’). In this social media age, customer service includes social media marketing as well as staff training and on-the-day problem solving.
3.Planning and project management
Few people daydream about writing a business plan, but they’re essential documents for new restaurant owners. Likewise, few people dream of one day dealing with dozens of suppliers while also hiring plumbers, fitters and other trades but capable project management is essential if you’re going to bring your fit out in on time and within budget. Fortunately, a fitout service, like our experienced team here at Fernwood, can save you time and money, making this one must-do that’s easy to tick off.
4.An emergency fund
Even the most experienced and well-qualified team will eventually run across a problem they haven’t foreseen. Creating an emergency fund is the simplest way to prepare. Money can solve a lot of problems – and you don’t need to predict accurately to know it’ll be useful down the line. Of course, as a start-up you may not have much cash to spare. If you can’t ring-fence your emergency fund in a special account, prepare a line of credit or look for items you can do without on opening night and if a problem arises, divert that money to solving your immediate issues. Write a list and fix the snags as your restaurant begins to take off and bring in a profit.
5.Design that suits your theme
Every new restaurant owner has to make some compromises to get the doors open. However, it’s critically important that you retain ownership of your unique selling point also known as your theme. Ideally, you’ll have honed the notion down to a short sentence (e.g. ‘a family-friendly bistro serving South American food’ or ‘an on-trend bar for the late night Instagram crowd’) and it’ll be easy for you to spot elements that support or damage your brand as you build it. At Fernwood, we support our customers’ creative visions with practical design and build advice, helping you make your dream a reality.