Everyone wants to be their own boss. Starting a business and being able to make all your own management decisions is something that many people see as something to aspire to. This is especially the case if you can make your business based around something you are truly passionate about. For those who are passionate about food and the culinary arts, starting their own restaurant is the ultimate dream job. But how do you make the dream into a reality? What does it take to have a successful foodservice business?
Starting your own business is a difficult task. There is so much that goes into opening a restaurant business that it is vital to have a real passion for this endeavor. It is not going to be easy. It’s going to take a lot of time, money, and energy. But if you are able to create a successful foodservice business, you will know for a surety that all you put into this project
has been worth it.
Make sure that this is what you want to do before you begin getting too far into the process. A great way to get your feet wet without making any huge commitments is to get some real experience in the foodservice industry before you take on the venture of starting your own restaurant business. Work as a server, busser, manager, cook, anything to get you into a real restaurant experience. Actually being in a restaurant environment will help you know if opening your own restaurant is really something you want to invest in. Working in a restaurant will also give you a better idea of what it truly takes to have a successful establishment. You will be able to see what works and what doesn’t. This experience could be invaluable to you when you are looking to start your own foodservice business.
Once you are positive that you are willing to take on everything that comes with owning and operating your own restaurant, you will want to start planning, planning, planning. The more you plan before you start making concrete steps toward your restaurant, the better prepared you will be for all of the obstacles that lie ahead of you. Rich Melman, the chair of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Inc., has said that 80% of what will make your restaurant a success will take place in the planning stages, before you even open the doors.
Before you can begin doing too much of your planning, you need to nail down your concept. What kind of restaurant do you want to open? Are you looking to open a fast-food restaurant? Do you want to have a diner where people can sit down and enjoy a quick meal together? Are you wanting to own a high-class establishment where guests are most often seen wearing dresses and ties? Narrowing down the kind of foodservice business you want to have will be a huge help when making other decisions later on in the process.
Another thing you will want to know is who your target demographic is. What kind of people are you anticipating being your most frequent customers? While you might be thinking, “Everyone will want to eat at my restaurant!”, it is better to target to a smaller, more specific group of people. You can’t reasonably expect everyone to want to come to your establishment. You can’t please everyone. And if you try to, you’ll end up not pleasing anyone. Focus on a strategic market of consumers and make choices that will reflect what that target market would want.
There is a ton of research that needs to go into making the most effective decisions for your restaurant business. Some of the best research you can do is into the location of your business. While competition is good in some cases, you want to ensure that there isn’t too much similar competition in the area you are looking to locate your restaurant. You want your restaurant to be the place to eat in the neighborhood that its located.
Something else you should research is the average income of your target market and the people in the community where your restaurant will be. This can be a big help when coming up with your menu items and the pricing of the food you will offer to customers. Information like this can also give you a better feel for what is expected in the area of your restaurant and what kind of establishments have been successful or unsuccessful.
One of the biggest concerns most prospective restaurant owners have has to do with money. Where am I going to get all the funding I need to get my business off the ground? While you might not have thousands of dollars saved away ready to spend on opening your business, there are a few options for building up some capital to start your restaurant.
Friends and Family
While having conversations with friends and family about money could be uncomfortable for you, you never know who is willing to help unless you ask. Family and friends are going to be the most supportive people for you when you begin your restaurant.
One of the smartest things you can do as a business owner is partner with someone who has strengths that you don’t. It’s always good to share the load when it comes to opening and managing a foodservice business. If you are lucky enough to be able to find someone who is willing to partner with you in your dream, be sure to take advantage of the joint responsibility that comes along with that.
There are multiple ways that the government tries to assist those who are looking to be small business owners. Loans and grants could be a great way to get the funding you need now. Maker sure you do your research into government help when you are trying to figure out your financial situation while launching your restaurant.
Part of the reason you need a good amount of funding is to purchase or lease the necessary equipment to run your restaurant. When just starting out with your restaurant, try to just get the equipment that you will for sure need. Let your kitchen and dining room grow as your business grows. A great place to start is with leasing restaurant equipment. This allows you to get the products you need without having to pay everything up front.
Once you feel like you have a comprehensive plan laid out for your restaurant, you will feel more comfortable beginning to take steps toward making your dream restaurant a reality. Remember to not be afraid of organization. The more organized you can be, the more in control you will feel. Since only 20% of a restaurant’s success has to do with the food, keep in mind that your restaurant is a business first. Keep your priorities in order and you will have a much easier time opening a restaurant or foodservice business for yourself.