Being a great cook or having a talent for entertaining doesn’t necessarily make you an excellent restaurant owner. This is a mistake many entrepreneurs have made over the years; in fact, over half of restaurants fail within the first year.
There are many factors to be considered before you open a restaurant, café, deli or pub. Consider the issues below before you decide to open your own restaurant business. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good place to start.
You’re going to put in long hours.
Don’t think that just because you’ll have people working for you that you won’t have to do more than your fair share of work, too. In addition to doing your typical owner duties (paperwork, inventory, purchasing), you’ll put in hours on the floor, too. Any given day, you may have to fill in for wait staff, cooks or even dishwashers. You’ll be the face of your establishment, so you’ll always want to be available to thank customers and answer questions.
You’ll be working with (and for) people.
If you aren’t a fan of managing people and dealing with everyday crises from your staff, owning a restaurant might not be for you. You will have to make out schedules and possibly change them along the way – if you’re an understanding boss. Also remember that you’ll be serving customers whom you’ll have to make 100% happy day in and day out – and they won’t make it easy for you all the time.
You’ll need some savings to fall back on.
Almost every business, not just restaurants, goes through a dry spell from time to time. Having some savings squirreled away just in case your restaurant gets off to a slow start or if, down the road, you experience some lean times.
You need some accounting know-how.
Whether you do the books yourself or hire a professional to do it for you, you’ll need a clear financial plan. You need to know what is realistic within the first weeks, months and up to the first year. You’ll need a clear plan to achieve those goals. Ultimately, you’ll need to know exactly how much you need to make in order to pay the bills, your employees and yourself.
You’ll need to choose the correct location.
Everyone knows location is everything. It will determine your clientele and what businesses surround you. You’ll also need to know what permits – if any – are necessary for your restaurant and whether it is more economical for you to buy or rent a space. Creating a sensible floor plan is yet another part of location.
You need to know your competition.
Part of that overtime you’re going to put in as the boss is researching the competition. Find out what other similar restaurants are in your area and what makes them successful. Set yourself apart with customer service, décor, and menu items.
You need to draw the right clientele.
Once you have planned every aspect of your restaurant, you’ll want to draw the customers who will enjoy your restaurant most. This will affect where and how you advertise. Decide if you will be attempting to pull customers away from similar restaurants or if you are aiming at a brand new set of diners. Most importantly, figure out how to make them come back!