Here’s something really interesting: in 2008, there has been a total of 945,000 restaurants in America. This fact reinforces our claim that dining-out is indeed a lifestyle in America, the people’s way of adapting to their surging fast-paced way of life. You look at all these restaurants everywhere and you would wonder how restaurateurs fill-up their place with customers- there are just so many of them. But this boom in the industry means that there are, indeed a lot of patrons out there, and that business entities have their reasons why they are lured to invest on the restaurant industry.
Other than being deemed as a highly-profitable business, a lot are attracted to this commerce because of the nature of the trade, which involves fun and entertainment – wining and dining. There are those who are really just passionate about good food. But truth be said, putting up a restaurant is not an easy feat. Restaurant owners are expected to know and make decisions on a whole range of things — the restaurant’s funding, conceptualization, design and layout, business requirements, menu and specialties, down to the chef’s coats and waiters’ aprons.
Here’s a guide to putting up a restaurant, focusing on two aspects: the conceptualization of your business and the physical aspect of your restaurant.
CONCEPTUALIZING YOUR BUSINESS
Come up with a good business plan. Many restaurant proprietors fail in the business because they rush into operations right away, hoping to generate cash flow at once. Many think that just having good food, good location, a steady flow of customers and an instant profit make a successful eating place. What they often forget is that what makes a restaurant tick is staying power. And one of the best ways in achieving staying power is by coming up with a good business plan. Through this, the proprietor gets to analyze the potential of his business—its strengths as well its weaknesses, the risks and the opportunities. A good business plan includes good analysis of the product, market analysis, strategy and implementation, management and employee summary, and the financial plan.
Clarify your ideas. After coming up with the business plan, by this time, you have already narrowed-down your options on the service style and your restaurant concept – whether you want a fast food, a café, a pub or a bistro; casual dining or fine dining. Do you have a restaurant theme in mind? Your theme would tie up all the other aspects of your preparation, from the decoration down to your waiters’ aprons. Put all your ideas in writing to make clear what you have in mind. If you are having problems writing them down, then that means you need to give it more thought.
Plan your menu. Decide on your specialty offers. Your menu sets the layout of your kitchen, as well as allows you to decide on the equipments to purchase. It is also strongly interconnected to your target market as well as your location.
PREPARING YOUR RESTAURANT
Plan the layout-out. Take into consideration the size needed for your dining and kitchen areas, as well as the dishwashing and storage areas. You will also need comfort rooms as well as a space for administrative work.
Give extra attention to your lighting design. Remember that proper lighting is a big factor in creating the ambiance of your restaurant like your menu covers— dramatic lights focused on the tables highlight the food, whereas glowing atmospheric lights make the customers look good.
Know which restaurant equipments you need. Planning your menu well gives you a clearer idea what equipments you need – ice maker, broiler, microwave, refrigerator, grill. You might also need dishwashers, cook top, food prep tables and several others.
Give special emphasis on graphics. Visual presentations play an important role in creating your restaurant’s general look. From the exterior signage’s to the table linens, down to your restaurant’s apparels, like cook shirts, neckerchiefs, hats, towels and linens, formal wear for your food attendants, waiters’ aprons, chef coats and pants, menu covers, and many others.
And of course, don’t forget to facilitate the legalities of your business. Look into the regulatory requirements needed to operate a restaurant, both on city level as well as state level. Insurances are needed too, considering that restaurants are prone to potential accidents. And there’s a whole range of inspections – from safety inspections down to plumbing inspections.
By meticulously preparing all these things, you are laying down a good foundation for your business. Enthusiastic and devoted restaurateurs do not consider these steps as a list complex and tiresome details, but an exciting, fun journey towards the success of their new restaurant business.