Opening A Restaurant? Avoid Making These Common Mistakes
As your restaurant business begins rolling along, you may get caught up in the excitement of the reality of your dream coming true. You finally set the opening date and you want to make sure everything is taken care of for that one exciting day. In your rush to meet apparent deadlines, you may overlook or miscalculate portions of your restaurant business that could be detrimental to you in the long run. When opening a restaurant or other foodservice business,
make sure you avoid making these very common (and very costly) mistakes as the owner and operator.
Opening Before You’re Ready
Once you have set the date to open your restaurant, you will want nothing to get in the way of throwing open your doors on that exact day. However, this could be more harmful than helpful. If you aren’t ready to open on the day you had planned, it is better to push back a little than to open with things still needing to be done.
Another good idea is to not have your grand opening on the first day you are open for business. Your first day is going to be hectic with all the new routines being put into place. This chaos will be added to if you make your grand opening the very day you begin accepting customers. If you plan to have your grand opening a week or two after you initially open the doors, this will give your employees time to get used to the processes and operations of your foodservice business. These previous openings are called “soft openings” and give you time to work out the kinks and unforeseen problems before your grand opening.
Lack of Funding
Another common mistake made by first-time restaurant owners is not having enough capital or underestimating the costs of opening. If you don’t have enough funding, you could end up justifying cutting corners that should not be cut. On the other hand, you could find yourself having insufficient funds due to overspending initially. Try not purchasing equipment at the beginning that is not absolutely necessary to your restaurant. For that necessary equipment, consider leasing equipment to keep some of your money on-hand for emergencies or unforeseen expenditures.
These problems all come back to your business plan. If you did not take the time to create a reasonable and effective business plan prior to taking any actions toward the progression of your restaurant, you will most likely find that you will run into a variety of problems for which you are unprepared.
The worst thing you can do on your first day open is to be unprepared. The first impression you make on your customers is likely going to last for a long time. If you have customers who are not treated appropriately, have servers or wait staff that seem clueless, or have an overall atmosphere of confusion, your customers are not going to have a very positive first experience in your establishment. One way to avoid this happening is to make sure that your employees have been properly trained in their positions. It is a great idea to have literature that employees can study and become familiar with prior to starting work.
Bad or Ineffective Marketing
Don’t think that the only marketing or advertising you need to do should be done prior to your grand opening. Yes, this is a very important time to get your name out to the public and to draw in some initial customers, but you should make sure your initial advertising splash isn’t your only advertising splash. Shortsighted marketing plans will do you no good when it comes to continually bringing in customers. A good rule of thumb is to set aside 2% to 4% of your business’ annual gross income to advertising.
With just a little effort, you can put your restaurant ahead of the game. Knowing what some of the most common mistakes made by other start-up restaurants will help you steer clear of those same mistakes. Prepare yourself and your restaurant for success by taking some of these tips to heart.