The restaurant industry is beyond doubt a very lucrative sector to venture into if you do it right. Since you have already decided that you would want to start a restaurant business, your next big thing is to make a checklist of things on how to start a restaurant, so that you don’t miss out on anything.
How to Start a Restaurant Business: Checklist
While starting a new restaurant can be interesting, it can also be an overwhelming affair. Hence, the main things that must always be in place that will ensure that you have a successful restaurant are:
1. Finalizing On A Concept
You must decide on a solid concept for your restaurant. Having an innovative concept will automatically uplift your image in the eyes of your customers, and will make your restaurant a more interesting destination. Hence, before finalizing on the restaurant concept, do a proper market research. Try and know what are the cuisines that the customers are liking these days, which are the concept which is not properly exploited by the restaurateurs. Choose the ones on which not many restaurants have worked on. However, if a particular concept or theme has been consciously ignored by other restaurateurs, find out the reason. Perhaps that area and audience is not suitable for that concept; doing a market research becomes essential to avoid potential failure.
2. Create An Actionable Business Plan
You need to have an awesome plan for your restaurant. Without a proper plan in place you can hardly go ahead with your restaurant, which involves, getting investors on board, budgeting appropriately, creating an attractive menu, getting a professional chef on board, hiring the needed number of staff and the like. Hence, creating a business plan will be your first step towards creating your dream come true. Make sure that you have the basic prerequisites in your business plan, which comprises of a business overview, industry analysis, SWOT analysis, operations plan, financial analysis, and marketing plan. With these written on your business plan in a comprehensive manner, where you can return to every now and then, then you can hardly go wrong, it will solve all your ‘how to start a restaurant’ queries.
3. Select The Location
This is by far the most important thing to consider while starting a new restaurant. A restaurant with a brilliant concept but in an extremely poor location will hardly prosper. Hence, when finalizing the location, make sure that you do a research about where your restaurant’s format would work out the best. Select the location, where you can find your targeted audience easily. For example, starting a fine dine restaurant and instead of opening it in a posh, corporate locality, you open it in a university area, this will be your biggest blunder. This is because hardly any university gore would like to indulge in such an expensive luncheon every now and then. This shows how important it is to start a restaurant in an area which is easily accessible and where you can attract your targeted audience easily.
Find out how to select the right location for your restaurant here.
4. Get Your Licenses In Place
While starting a restaurant in India isn’t a cakewalk, getting your licenses in place is a greater task. This is one of the most important things that you must consider when you are creating a checklist on how to start a restaurant. There are a variety of licenses that you might require like, FSSAI, Liquor license if you are selling liquor at your restaurant, health/trade license, eating house license, shop and establishment act, GST registration, approval from the fire department, lift clearance, music license, certificate from environmental clearance, and signage license.
Here is a complete list of the licenses you need to open a restaurant.
5. Do A Comprehensive Market Research
Without having a clear understanding of the market in the surrounding area, you can hardly plan to have an upper hand over your competitors. Hence you need to know which restaurants are doing well and which ones aren’t, and the main reason for the success or the failure of the competitors in the market. A comprehensive understanding of how your competitors are working in the market will help you to plan accordingly so that you can have an edge over them when your restaurant comes into play.
6. Sort Your Finances
Sorting your finances is one of major things to consider when you ask how to start a restaurant. Often people acquire finances to just open a restaurant, and not think of the running capital involved. It usually takes 1-2 years for a restaurant to reach breakeven. Thus, you must have separate start-up capital and working capital when you start a restaurant. Getting investors on board will be one of the most important things to do since without money you will not be able to run your business. It doesn’t matter if you are meeting the sources from where you can meet your potential investors like, a bank, small business bureau, or private investors, bring all your paperwork and get them neatly organized, in folders and portfolios of the different investors.
7. Find Sources To Hire The Best Staff and Train Them Well
Your restaurant will be incomplete if you do not have a good staff on board. Try and get a very experienced head chef who will be able to run your kitchen seamlessly. When it comes to hiring other staff is not an easy job. You will have to look for the prominent ones on job portals, hover around the social media, advertise in newspapers, and use the word of mouth for spreading the news.
Your work does not end by simply getting the best staff on board, you must train them well. Arrange for regular training sessions and provide them with a manual which will refresh their memory from time to time. You should train your staff to upsell well, which will automatically help you to increase your sales.
8. Create a Smart Menu
A menu will be the face of your restaurant. Hence, make sure that you design a stellar menu for your restaurant. Menu engineering is a difficult concept that not many are able to master. Hence, it is recommended that you have proper chefs and consultants on board who will help you with your menu forecasting and menu engineering.
9. Get Right Equipment In Place
What is a restaurant without a proper and modern equipment? Different dishes need different types of equipment. Hence, first decide on your menu, what all items you want to serve at your restaurant and how many customers are you planning to serve at the same time, and depending on that you can make arrangements for the equipment. You can then do a market research as to where you can get the best equipment at affordable prices.
10. Have A Grand Opening
Your grand opening will be your first official entry in the market. You under no circumstances can go wrong on this day. You must start preparing, right from the very first. Your opening must always be divided into two parts, a soft entry, and a hard entry. In the soft entry try and welcome your family and friends, let them explore your restaurant and your food. This is especially important because it is always better to get a third party opinion from your close people before you actually open up to the world. Once you receive the reviews from them, you can bring in the necessary changes and prepare for your grand opening. On the D-Day, you can bring in a well-known band or a musician, give out discounts especially buy one get one free types, and see how it becomes impossible for you to manage the crowd at your restaurant.
11. Market Your Restaurant Well
Last but not the least, unless you market your restaurant well, you will not be able to stay within the sight of your customers. Venture into both online and offline marketing. Create social media pages for your restaurant and upload videos and pictures as your restaurant dresses up for the inauguration. Running marketing campaigns is another very interesting way to attract the eyes of the customers. Before your inauguration, you can set up a stall in front of your restaurant where you can distribute free samples in small quantities to the passerby to acquaint them with the items they can expect from your restaurant. Prepare a comprehensive marketing strategy can help you a long way to make a mark in the industry.
Refer to this ultimate checklist on how to start a restaurant business. From market research and creating a business plan to purchasing equipment and hiring the right staff, we have you covered!