Have you ever wondered how some restaurants become huge successes while others fail?
This happens all the time: same street, similar concept, decent food and service. But for some reason, one of the restaurants is empty while the other one is packed.
There are many factors that contribute, but one thing is for sure – if you want to learn how to start a restaurant, you need to come up with a solid restaurant business plan and learn from business owners that succeeded.
Here are some tips that from the seasoned restaurant professionals that might tip the scales to your benefit.
1. Use Your Space Wisely
Many people wonder how to start a small restaurant and make up for the size of the venue. The truth is, you don’t have to run a big restaurant to make it work. Make up for the lack of space with excellent takeaway service.
2. Pick Your Location Carefully
Two elements of the “right” location are a busy area and easy access to the restaurant. If it is not the busiest of the areas, at least make sure transportation options are viable.
3. Choose the Colors with Care
People react strongly to colors so think twice before choosing the theme palette for your restaurant. Think reds, oranges, and even greens, but forget about blue. People don’t associate blue with food and it suppresses the appetite.
4. Don’t Forget the Lights
Make a simple test: place a lovely arrange plate of food under the white, neon light and then place is next to a soft, dimmed or ever candlelight. See the difference? That is just one small illustration about how important the lighting is for your restaurant. Plus, people are now taking food photos more than ever, so lighting is even more critical than ever before.
5. Make the Most of Your Kitchen Design
Having a functional and well-equipped kitchen is one of the most important things about a restaurant. It is much more than nice design and restaurant appearance. A well-designed kitchen makes the difference between a hot or cold soup, fast and slow orders, and happy or frustrated employees.
6. Mind the Tablecloth, Linen, and Furniture
The secret is to find the balance of the latest, trendiest, hottest designs, as well as the most functional options when it comes to furniture and linens. Pick the pieces that will inspire your guests to take pictures and brag about your restaurant, and also allow them to be comfortable enough to spend time there.
7. Don’t Forget Storage Space
This needs to be organised flawlessly to ensure productivity and good flow. Keep frequently-used items easily reachable and push those that you don’t use frequently to the top shelves. However, regularly check the labels and expiry dates. You cannot afford mistakes in that department.
8. Dress Up Your Staff
When thinking about how to start your own restaurant, don’t forget basic details like staff uniforms. They will make your restaurant look more professional, inspire trust between staff and customers, and allow your team to feel camaraderie and have a better attitude toward work.
9. Be Precise about Portion Sizes
Your prices need to be competitive. It will be easier for you to achieve this if you control your portion sizes. This helps planning the costs ahead, ordering in bulk, and avoiding the need to raise prices.
10. Create a Thoughtfully Designed Menu
Make it fun, interesting and exciting, but also readable and understandable. Your menu is a reflection of your entire restaurant, so keep that in mind when choosing fonts, colors, and the overall theme.
11. Offer Something for Everybody
Always keep a close eye on food trends and try to follow them as much as possible without overstepping the borders of your restaurant theme. For example, it’s now beneficial to include vegan, low carb, and gluten-free options. It is also important to respect the most common dietary options. It shows professionalism and class and builds a loyal customer base.
12. Tell People What’s in Their Meals
When designing a menu, make sure that you list the ingredients for each of the menu items. That way, your customers will be able to make better choices and enjoy their meals. You’ll also save time for your waiters as they will not have to recite the list of ingredients if a customer inquires.
13. Revise Your Menu Grammar
Grammar might be the last thing on your mind when planning the menu of your restaurant, but make sure it’s flawless. Typos, wrong word choices, and similar slips makes you look sloppy and hurts the professional image of your restaurant.
14. Revise Your Menu Items
If there is a menu item that is not selling – drop it! Replace it with something new and innovative. This revision allows you to become more profitable and to surprise your guests with new menu items. It’s refreshing and a good business move at the same time.
15. Emphasize the Most Profitable Items
Another good idea when it comes to listing your menu items is to put your highest-margin meals first and last on the list. Those are the items that people remember the most, so boost your sales with this easy trick.
16. Have an Excellent Website
Your online presence is of great importance because customers today look at restaurant websites before they choose a place to eat. Your website needs to reflect the image of your restaurant and match its theme. You need the option to book online and it’s also beneficial to offer to-go options that can be ordered online.
17. Learn Basic SEO
In today’s digital world, every business owner needs to know at least basic SEO in order to keep their business up and running. Luckily, there are online courses, tutorials, and lessons in abundance.
18. Rule Social Media
Social media is the modern pillar of the word-of-mouth marketing. Make profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Additionally, offer free WiFi that requires people to like your page in order to get access free Wi Fi. Be active and responsive on social media and get involved with the online influencers. You should also set up a blog and even organise events for bloggers. All that does wonders for your marketing.
19. Create a Loyalty Program
Around 75% of people claim they would shop with brands that have loyalty programs. These statistics can be utilized for a restaurants as well. Come up with an enticing, easy-to-follow rewards program to incentivize loyal customers.
20. Organize Blogger Events
Bloggers – potentially those with large online followings – can help create a buzz around your business. Have a new menu? Set a menu launch and have food and lifestyle bloggers over to try your new offerings. Aside from coming and experiencing your new menu, bloggers can write about the experience on their blogs as well as share photos of the venue and food on their Instagram and other social channels.
21. Create a Restaurant Blog
Blogging about your restaurant can be a great way to spread the word and attract more customers. There are loads of ideas for blog posts such as recipes, events, or stories about how you started; your staff; or behind-the-scenes aspects of the restaurant are great starting points.
22. Introduce a Proper Cleaning Schedule
You can never be too careful with sanitary and hygienic conditions when it comes to running a restaurant business. However, there are so many details to maintain cleanliness. In order not to miss anything, create a detailed and precise cleaning schedule and monitor it closely.
23. Sanitize Each Utensil Individually
Invest in a industrial utensils washer. That is the only way you can be sure that all utensils are sanitized and perfectly bacteria-free. Your customers’ health is in question and you cannot afford to put that in danger.
24. Don’t Forget Your Bins
Washing bins is extremely important. It’s easy to forget about them but they harbor a lot of bacteria and other germs that can contaminate your venue. Hose them down but make sure they don’t hold the water, since that can attract pests.
25. Never Underestimate Hand Washing
People sometimes forget to wash their hands. Therefore, nice and well-designed reminder posters about how to wash hands properly are more than welcome in restaurant washrooms – both for your guests and your staff.
Some of these tips may seem obvious, but the most of them essential components restaurant business. They deal with your design, marketing, sanitary conditions, and your online presence.
You need to cover all those bases if you want to succeed in such a competitive industry. Of course, there’s a lot more you need to know about running a restaurant. For 100 more tips and strategies, read 126 expert ideas for your restaurant business plan for a head start.