7 Questions To Consider When Starting A Restaurant Business

Are you thinking of starting a restaurant business? Your chances of making a profit are high if so, as food-based businesses are unlikely to go out of fashion. People do need to eat, after all!

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But before you move forward with your restaurant, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself first. By considering the following well in advance of opening day, you stand a better chance of success. Starting a restaurant business is one of the unique business ideas! Identify whether it is also a favourable one.

1: Who Is My Competition?

This is a question every business owner needs to ask themselves, regardless of the product they sell. But as restaurants are more common than many other business types, it’s especially important, as you will need to assess the competition and find a way to be different from them.

Ask yourself:

a. What food does my competition serve?

b. Where is my competition based?

c. What kind of customers does my competition cater to?

When you have answered these questions, you will have a better idea of who you’re up against. You can then consider menu items that aren’t being covered elsewhere or you can think about finding business premises in a location that isn’t over-saturated with the type of restaurant business that you’re thinking about opening.

You can also consider your customers. If local restaurants are failing to meet the needs of cultural groups or people with certain food intolerances, for example, you could fill the gap in the market by meeting the needs of such demographics.

2: What Permits And Licenses Do I Need?

The licenses and permits you will need will depend on your home country so this is something you will need to research. You could run into legal trouble if you move forward without the correct business licenses and permits in place and this would spell disaster for your business.

Your local government office will be able to help you further, so get in touch with them to find out more.

3: Who Do I Need To Employ?

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For the smooth running of your restaurant, you will need to fill a number of job roles. Invariably, these will include:

a. Waiters

b. Chefs

c. Bartenders

d. Floor managers

e. Pot washers

f. A kitchen manager

However, beyond these common job roles, there are other people you might consider having on your side. These include:

a. Marketing staff

b. An accountant

c. A sales team

When it comes to who to employ, you need to think of your employment criteria. You might only want to employ people with prior training and experience, for example, especially when it comes to chef and waiter roles. For other roles, you might decide to train them in-house or let your employees learn through experience.

For some roles, you can outsource instead of employing people directly. This can be true when it comes to accountancy and marketing as you don’t necessarily need to add such personnel to your payroll. This might make your life simpler as there will be less paperwork and accounting for you to manage and you will have fewer legal hoops to jump through as well.

4: What Technologies Will I Need?

When it comes to technology, your first thought will probably be your kitchen. It needs to be well-stocked with such equipment as:

a. Commercial ovens

b. Water boilers

c. Plate warmers

d. Dishwashers

e. Dough mixers

f. Meat slicers

And so on!

But beyond your kitchen, there are other technologies you will need to consider. These include:

a. Point of sales terminals

b. Contactless payment solutions

c. Self-order kiosk (especially if you’re thinking about a fast food business)

d. Printer (for paper receipts)

e. Cash drawers

You might also want to consider the apps or software programmes that will manage restaurant schedules, provide training for new employees, monitor your accounts, and enable delivery options for takeout customers.

5: How Will I Market My Business?

To ensure a steady stream of customers, you will, of course, need to advertise your business. You can do this by advertising in local media, setting up your own website, and using any social media tips you can find online.

You can make sure you’re listed on local dining and restaurant apps and websites too, such as Yelp, Zomato, and Open Table.

It’s important to remember that your biggest marketing tool will be your customers, so encourage them to advertise your business for you. They can do this by posting pictures of your food on their Facebook and Instagram pages and writing reviews for your website and social media channels.

You can also:

a. Send out email newsletters

b. Invest in paid ads

c. Start a blog

d. Give out free samples to passers-by

e. Generate interest from food bloggers/influencers

f. Outsource to SEO/copywriting/ marketing professionals

For more detailed information, check out these restaurant marketing ideas and continue your research online.

6: How Much Capital Will I Need?

Not only will you need to afford the rent for your business premises but you will need to cover the costs related to your employees, equipment, and marketing too. You will also need money in reserve as you aren’t guaranteed to make a profit straight away.

In some cases, it might be possible to save money by renting equipment and hiring staff on a part-time rather than full-time basis. You can also cut costs by:

a. Looking for affordable vendors/suppliers

b. Controlling customer food portions

c. Comparing utility costs

d. Finding free ways to advertise your business

After working out how much capital you will need, you can do what you can to raise money. You can do this via business and equipment loans, investors, crowdfunding, and any grants that may be available.

If you can market your business successfully and benefit from the services of a good accountant, you should be able to make back any money you borrow to ensure your business isn’t in debt indefinitely.

7: Do I Have What It Takes To Run A Restaurant?

To run a successful restaurant, you will need to be committed to making it work. For starters, you will need to be passionate about what you’re doing as this will give you the incentive to carry on if things get tough. You will also need a few core skills, such as people management and business planning, to make sure your business operates effectively.

Of course, you can pick up the skills you need via training opportunities. But when it comes to passion, you will already know if you have this or not. If it’s lacking, you might want to change your business idea and choose something that you are passionate about.

If you do decide starting a restaurant business, we wish you every success!

[All images were downloaded from unsplash]