Tips for Opening a New Restaurant

Pening a new restaurant is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. There are many areas to consider as you get ready to open your own restaurant, including writing a menu, buying the right equipment and hiring the right staff. To help you get started, I've put together a checklist of everything you need to get to  opening day.

1 ) Choose a Solid Restaurant Concept

Restaurant concepts  are often conceived based on current trends (or fads) in food. Like restaurants built around fondue pots or ten pound burgers, are these going to last? Whereas, a concept built around a diverse menu that offers a variety of classic and new dishes, is likely to be as popular with diners in five years as it is now. 

2)  Check Out Your Local Competition

Don’t underestimate your competition. Maybe you’ve thinking you can do it better. And maybe you can. But that Mom and Pop restaurant that’s been around forever, they are obviously doing something right, to still be in business.

3) Select a Good Location

This may seem like an obvious step in opening a new restaurant, however, I am always surprised when a restaurant pops up in a poor location. Often times a location may seem like good idea, only to find out that for various reasons, it does not attract customers. That’s why storefronts in busy downtown districts have higher rents.

4)  Write a Stellar Business Plan

Now it’s time to write your business plan. This is like your roadmap to opening day. A  business plan  has three main parts:  an executive summary ,  company description, and  a market analysis. Basically you have to give an overview of your  restaurant idea  – the concept, the location, the amount of money you expect to make each year, and so on. Writing a  restaurant business plan can take time, but it is essential that you have clear understanding  of what opening a restaurant  entails.

5)  Meet With Investors

Now is your chance to wow your investors with that stellar restaurant business plan. No matter if you are meeting with a bank, small business bureau, or private investors, bring all your paperwork neatly organized, in folders and portfolios investors can keep.

6) Hire Awesome Staff

Look for a mix of good personality and experience when hiring staff. You may be tempted to hire family and friends, but do so with caution. Relationship dynamics change when one of you is the boss.

7) Write Your Restaurant Menu

At the heart of your restaurant concept is the menu. It is your calling card to the public. Before being writing your menu, consider the size of your  restaurant kitchen, which directly impacts the size and style of your menu. A smaller kitchen will limit the variety of your  restaurant menu. That isn’t to say you can’t offer a wide number of items. Many restaurants have tiny kitchens, but still have a wide variety of items on their menu. The secret to working out of a small restaurant kitchen is cross-utilizing ingredients and learning to work within only a few different  kitchen stations.

8)  Order Restaurant Equipment

Once you’ve decided on your menu, you will know what  type of commercial equipment you’ll need to buy. Often times you can find good quality used equipment at auctions or restaurant supply stores.

9)  Hold a Grand Opening

Once you’re ready to start serving, you can have a quiet opening (also known as a soft opening) followed by a bigger grand opening. This will give you time to work out the inevitable bugs all new restaurants have.

10)  Market with Social Media

Once you are open for business, it’s time to start advertising. If you aren’t sure where to start with your  social media campaign, find other local places and follow them. If you admire a restaurant in a different area from where you do business, follow that restaurant too and see how they use social media. There is no reason to reinvent wheel.