Thanks to Thomas Hawk for the image.
There’s never been a better time to start a restaurant business. Whether you like the idea of a small food stand right through to a Michelin star restaurant, it’s all possible. The number of people eating out is higher than ever. This looks set to grow as it becomes ingrained in future cultures. The younger generation is the biggest ever group of people eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We are also eating a more diverse range of food. Our culture is more ethnically diverse than ever and we are open to all kinds of food.
The market is wide open, but competition is fierce. The reality is that most food businesses fail within the first year. Don’t let that scare you off. They failed because they didn’t plan. They didn’t read posts like this to help them understand what they need to do. Your business can be successful with the right planning and some creative thinking.
Select a service style
Before you can even get into writing a business plan or build a menu, you need to hone the service style. Typically that will fall under three categories: upscale, midscale and quick service. Quick service, as you’d expect, is fast food and street vendors. Midscale is any reasonably priced, family restaurant, accessible to most. These are the two most common restaurant startups. Upscale joints are those with michelin stars and the very best chefs. Starting one of these from scratch will be very difficult.
Select a concept and target market
You need to find a niche and an audience. New restaurants must compete with the commercial giants. Chain restaurants dominate the high streets now. In order to stand out, you need a unique concept that taps into a particular market. It could be traditional English food in a rural town, for example. It could be a particular ethnic cuisine in a densely ethnic area. You’ll have to figure this one out for yourself. Do your research on the local area. What food opportunity is missing? Use that information to refine your menu.
Bring the costs together
Adding up costs can be the hardest part as there are so many to consider. You’ll need to contact every supplier you can think of; from linen suppliers to restaurant menu printing services. You’ll need to get rent quotes and exact figures for the ingredients on your menu. Get at least two quotes for every product and service you’ll need.
Draw up a business plan
Once you have a table of costs, you can begin to put together a full business plan. The most important factor in any restaurant is this simple question: How many meals do you need to sell to make a profit? You need to get your numbers down to this one figure and make sure they add up. Work from how many you need to sell a day and that will inform your pricing.
Once you’ve got a plan that works, it’s time to get up and running. You won’t get people in your restaurant without a solid marketing campaign. Think of creative marketing ideas both online and in the real world. Get it all right, and you’ll have a successful restaurant business in no time.