“Restaurant” translated from French means “to feed.”
The first restaurant appeared in France in the 17th century.
The only dish offered was a soup; there were no options for drinks, hot dishes, appetizers, salads, etc.
Nowadays, the term “restaurant” is much more profound in its meaning; it includes various menus, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and a high level of service and comfort.
Everyone who thought about starting their own business sorted out what sphere will be convenient and exciting to do business in, and which will bring the grist to the mill. As polls show, the most popular sphere “in interest” is a restaurant business. But what type of business is a restaurant? Many people want to open their own cafe, bar or, if finances and ambitions permit, a gourmet restaurant. The niche of public catering is not saturated enough. Therefore, there is a place for bold undertakings and fresh ideas.
Covering the costs will take one to five years, depending on factors such as location, restaurant type, price policy or even staff and their salary. But the risks in the gastronomic business are significant enough: about every third restaurant “burns out” within 12 months after it opens.
For all that, the restaurant business is prevalent. The share of eating out-of-home expenses in Northern America varies between 40-50%. It is approximately the same in Europe and much less in Russia and Middle East region.
To be the owner of a restaurant is prestigious. However, to have a successful restaurant business, you need a competent concept, a tasty cuisine, and a professional team. So, you will have to learn a lot to realize the difference of how to make a restaurant and how to run a successful restaurant.
“How to start a restaurant for dummies?” is the question you have to face with. How to start it from the very beginning? We should not say it is easy. Starting a restaurant equates to an art. The base of the restaurant is a unique idea which you will have to push and expand. It’s something that depends on you. The rest will be acquired through the disclosure of this idea and work on it.
In this regard, many of our fellow citizens are thinking about opening their own catering establishment. In this article, we will try to answer questions about how to open a restaurant, cafe or bar; where to start from; what steps need to be taken to open a restaurant; how much it costs to open a restaurant; what prosperous restaurant tips are; what the business plan for a restaurant is; what makes a restaurant successful; and many others. If you are ready to become restaurant entrepreneur, you are welcome to familiarize yourself with this article.
So, if you are not afraid of risks and you want to be involved in restaurant building, where do you start and how do you run a restaurant?
First and foremost, it is necessary to determine the style: to which category of the price range the restaurant will belong and what is a focus of the cuisine will be.
The “winds” of the cookery can also be diverse - these are restaurants focused on the cuisine of a particular country: Japanese, Italian, French restaurants, Irish pubs, German taverns. Or it can be traditional restaurants with a diverse menu, but different levels - from luxury class to the most basic home-made style dishes.
Today, in various sources, it is possible to see a few variants of segmentation of the market of public catering. Here is the option based on the division of the market into two primary segments: food and leisure.
A simplified variant of this typing is the following:
Fast Food - quickest service, low prices, may include a place to dine or just drive-through or walk-up windows to pick up the order.
Fine Dining - high prices, comfortable atmosphere, bar is available, professional level of cooking staff, more time to wait, place where you will prefer to pay for spending time, not only food.
Fast Casual - quick service, food has better quality and is considered healthier, food is ordered at the counter and tables for dining are available (possible to order food and go).
Casual Dining - middle prices, the food is similar to fast-casual, table-service dining style, waiters are available to serve the food, dishes are simple, the menu is extended enough or can be specific to some cuisine.
Also, we should mention the separate kind of restaurants - internet restaurant. Many people would prefer not to walk to the place to have food, but rather order it online. Sure, the minimal support such as courteous service and patient operators are needed. Usually, internet restaurants offer casual dining food; prices will include the cost of the delivery.
At this point, the restaurant opening requires you to choose the servicing type. You need to define that before or after having the information about the building location, your preferences and the money you plan to spend on this restaurant startup. When building the concept, you need to know how to start your restaurant.
The other significant constituent of setting up a restaurant is carving a niche in the food industry. The main point here is competition. And the question you should ask yourself is: “What can I do/offer better than my competitors?” It includes the “flavor” of your small restaurant (or the big one) will have. This trait can be a specific dish or cuisine (special receipt or fresh farm products, vegetarian food, etc.) that attracts customers to your restaurant opening, lucky hours (early bird or night owl) and other promotions.
At all, customers usually look for several qualities in caterers such as:
You have to find the best way to express how useful and innovative your set restaurant is. Looking at the fact that your competitors (they are always available and always dangerous) keep up saturating the market, you need to build a particular “selling point” to distinguish your restaurant business among the rest of similar establishments. You will need to analyze your business plan not only answering the question “How to start a restaurant?” or even “How much does it cost to start a restaurant?”, but foresee the possible problems and come up the solution for each of them.
Also, you have to situate your niche: with an example of fast food restaurants that are open like McDonald's: they are popular, not expensive, but considered as unhealthy. However, McDonald's as a company positions itself as the alternative, fresh and healthy fast food option because they control the level of salt and fat in their food and use technology to get fresh veggies, cheese and meat. This gives the company its own niche within the saturated fast food market.
At this point, we can also say about the audience. Can restaurant carve a niche by aiming the specific category of consumers? The primary goal of this kind of strategy is to find and satisfy the needs of a particular part of the audience. You can target children with specific entertainment needs, students with budgets and who need a place to do homework or talk to friends, or people in business who prefer dining with their investors in a calm and airy atmosphere. Also, you can train your staff to address clients by their names or offer personalized menus for special events.
To differentiate you from the other competitors will help such called valued-added offers. It can be free samples of dishes or drinks, complementary products, the possibility to order the food online with fast home delivery, the permission to stay in a restaurant with animals, etc. Some of the small cafes or pick-up and go coffee houses write a wish on the bottom of the cup, or offer to write your name on it. It personalizes the service and makes customer feels special visiting your place.
Price is also the factor which can influence on carving your niche in the restaurant business. Do not forget that in any segment of the market you have to keep on supply-and-demand balance. A low price doesn’t always attract consumers. For example, the owner of an Indian store put up for sale a beautiful collection of ornaments from turquoise in the middle price level, although the product itself looked much more expensive. Unfortunately, it was not popular and began to “stagnate” the sales. The owner desperately reduced the price to almost the minimum profit rate, but this subject did not improve sales. Then the occasional mistake helped: one day she returned to the store after reviewing the prices and met a happy saleswoman who was hurrying to please the owner with stunning news. The collection of turquoise has been successfully sold today. Having no clue what caused the change in customer’s minds, the shop owner rushed to the storefront and noticed that the price tags for turquoise and neighboring jewelry were mixed up. Turquoise cost three times more of its original price set in similar type competitor’s shops, however, it helped this collection to go into the hands of happy customers. Surely the buyers were guided by the elementary logic: the product has an excellent reputation and high quality since it has a relatively high price compared to competitive stores.
It will be quite easy for you to carve your niche when setting up a restaurant if you are familiar with what you are doing, have a passion for food, and are a chef wanting to impress people. In case you love what you are doing, the question “How to open up a restaurant and how to lead successfully” will not be an issue for you.
A restaurant that starts with a business plan is a successful restaurant. Opening a restaurant is a serious affair. The first thing you need to consider in running a restaurant is your business plan. However, how do you write a business plan which makes your restaurant successful and not ordinary? Your restaurant plan should look professional, not allowing others to think that you are just screwing around with opening a restaurant. A big or small restaurant that starts with you and your aim to conquer the world (or any exact location or target audience) is a polyhedron. The concept is a center, and you need to pass a long way to reach each of its edges.
“The point of a business plan is to show that you’ve done your homework,” said Charles Bililies, the owner of Souvla: a fine casual Greek cuisine restaurant in San Francisco. It received national acclaim since opening in the spring of 2014.
Most of the restaurant's plans have a similar structure. So, how do you create a restaurant business plan? Here we will show you short break down of the main articles:
Probably you stopped your attention on the article about a Financial plan and asked yourself the question: “What is a restaurant startup costs?”.
So, it does not matter are you opening fast food restaurant or amazing luxury one, the restaurant planning is required to brighten the restaurant business model and realize what is your business about, how much does it cost to open a restaurant and what difficulties can appear on your way as a restaurant entrepreneur.
Average total funding varies from $100 000 to $500 000 and more for a higher level of offering services. That is for reputable restaurants. How much does it cost to open a small restaurant? The bare minimum you need to have is $30 000 - $50 000.
The other interesting inquiry is, “How do I open a restaurant with no money?” However, we can give you an encouraging answer: You can make your restaurant business plan aimed to attract investors; they will be your angels in case it works.
The other option is to choose a small restaurant business and manage a food trailer or coffee van. However, this will require $7 000 - $10 000.
The other creative approach to the issue of “how to start a restaurant with no money?” described by John Kunkel, who has opened ten branches of the Mexican eatery Lime. “I was beating down every door for traditional financing, and then took out equity on my home, maxed out my credit cards, and was borrowing $500 from everyone who said 'hello' to me,” says Kunkel, whose first venture was a bakery on South Beach in Miami.
So, we can assume that a small restaurant business plan or a big one is your holy grail in building your restaurant. It will help you to understand how the business will work, attract the audience and potential investors who can maintain your business. Do not hesitate to search for ready-made business plans, learn what the main features are, and learn how to make your restaurant business plan better.
Location is crucial to your business plan, and a convenient choice may save you a lot of time for recouping and some funds for advertisement. Magnificent design, a luxurious menu, and perfect service are entirely useless if the restaurant is in a bad location. The location of the small or big restaurant defines the audience, competitors, traffic, suppliers, etc. This category should be balanced with all other indexes.
Customers are the primary factor to consider when choosing a restaurant location. You should research the population of the place you want to put your restaurant in, as well the ages, habits, needs, and occupations of the people in the location. There are three main ways to describe your audience:
There are a lot of ways to find out needed data. One of these is the Internet space. Sites that specialize in statistical analysis can help an enterprise understand the surrounding demographic situation.
Even if your restaurant has a unique idea, enterprises that are just starting their business need every competitive advantage to form a permanent client base. So, do not ignore the positive side of an excellent location. There a few features needed to attract the attention to your restaurant:
For example, there is no sense to open a big luxury restaurant near the university where the primary audience is students. You should pay your attention to small restaurant business plan or even on opening fast food restaurant where they will have the possibility to buy a cup of coffee and have a fast meal.
So, the location of the restaurant is one of the most important features which you can make its “flavor” if that is chosen conveniently. Also, the location of the restaurant and the rent will influence the cost of opening a restaurant. And do not forget to take care of legal aspects!
The menu is not only the list of dishes, drinks, and appetizers but the way to offer customers precisely the thing they want, catch the attention. A common mistake of beginning restaurateurs is to take up the layout of the menu at the last moment. When the interior, signboard, and logo are ready, it is difficult to make the menu suitable to the atmosphere of the establishment already created.
It is logical to start with the menu; this point is much closer to your restaurant concept than the other ones. The image of the establishment is expressed in the choice of cuisine and key dishes, and then comes the turn of the interior and style. Even the uniform of the staff depends on the menu! Imagine a waitress in a kimono with a menu offering American style grill menu.
Creating a menu for a cafe or restaurant can be divided into several stages:
Planning a menu, you need to understand what kind of people will come to you. Starting from this, it is necessary to build the overall pricing policy of the open restaurant. Do not rush to include in the menu dishes, cooking standards of which you do not know for 100%. Consider supply disruptions, seasonality and price increases.
You should always guarantee the excellent quality of dishes and the exact time of their preparation. Do not forget that all efforts will be in vain if your staff can not sell culinary masterpieces. Continually test new layout models.
You need to take into consideration the size of the menu. It can be “short” or “long” type one. It is better to have both. The “short” one will contain special offers (season, breakfast, holidays, etc.) and the “long” one will be the full list for detailed research. However, a menu has not be confused with the booklet demonstrating special offers of the week or month, which are often used as a rug for serving the dishes or as a pyramid on the table. Do not forget to make a separate menu for drinks, wine card, and bar!
For successful development of the enterprise in the market of public catering it is necessary to monitor national and world trends in this area. What kind of cuisine is at the top? What new ingredients are now popular for cooking? Are people enthusiastic about eating healthy and vegetarian cuisine, or are facade and steakhouses more popular? Knowing the latest trends in the catering industry can tell the restaurant what changes in the menu would be relevant. For example, “for the menu, it is necessary to include a juicy pork steak or a light salad in the style of fusion?”
The other critical component of the restaurant menu is a design of the menu itself. The restaurant menu is not only the list of the dishes you offer, but that is visit card of your establishment. So, you can make it unique and extraordinary (if your restaurant type allows), anyway we would recommend hiring a talented graphic designer. It will cost you some share of the budget, but you will be able to put some graphics tricks and make visitors interested in not only observing the design of your recently opened restaurant, estimating the staff work. Such menu “tricks” will occupy the visitor as they wait for the waiter or search for dessert or something else. The menu is your showcase of the drinks and food; you can present it in style and display creativity.
One more important things: do not hesitate to add your logo and restaurant name as more as possible. Any other big restaurant company can “help” you with this. In case that is your first time of planning the menu and you do it yourself, you can always research the menus your competitors have to assimilate it with the one you are working on.
Without people, your restaurant is just a decorated room with no life. Except for the visitors, you always have your devoted and fair team. A person cannot do everything alone; they always need people to rely on, which can be entrusted with certain obligations. A restaurant business requires certain staff. Their work will influence the quality of services and the level of your establishment (because restaurants start-up costs will be higher).
To open a restaurant, you will need to recruit special staff (a waiter, a barman, a cashier), kitchen staff (chef, sous chef, cook), administration (manager, administrator, hostess). In this case, it is a recommendation to develop a training program that corresponds to the high turnover of staff that is one of the healthy characteristics of the restaurant business. It should be useful but as short as possible.
Unfair employees are one of the most common problems in the restaurant work. Therefore, it is essential to equip the institution with CCTV cameras and control systems to avoid the inconvenience from customer’s side and personnel as well.
However, how and where to find professional employees. And how much you are ready to pay for their professionalism? Remember that qualified personnel requires special treatment which is manifested in a decent salary, social package and respectful attitude from the management.
There are a lot of ways to find the staff for your restaurant; you can use employee referrals, job boards, and career sites. Also, you may find the people who are ready to learn something new and offer them good experience if they are new in this sphere.
First, you need to focus your actions on the search for a stunning chef cook. To hire a chef, you should use a special agency. In a fine restaurant, the person you hire will be a head chef cook, but in an open fast food restaurant, you will hire a head cook. Both will have different duties and require a different quantity of cooks and other kitchen workers to help. If you are pretending to impress visitors in your high-class restaurant with the specific cuisine, you may even look for the foreigner as a chef. The chef may ask for special conditions and rights; for example, the opportunity to leave twice a year to visit family at home, comfortable housing next to work, etc.
The size of the chef’s team depends on the number of seats in the restaurant as well. Usually, there are 20 people of kitchen personnel working for 100 places working in two shifts for ten people each.
Cooked food should be carried to the customer with careful hands of a waiter. Find a professional waiter is a difficult task. This position is frivolous and suitable only for students as a temporary part-time job. With the growing awareness of restaurateurs, this stereotype is a thing of the past, after all, the client’s satisfaction depends on the waiter. It is desirable to motivate employees with a decent salary and career prospects. A waiter is an envoy, a diplomat who directly influences the customer. They have to be patient, attentive and knowledgeable regarding the menu and prices, know the standards of the restaurant. They are the keepers of the reputation of your restaurant in the same way as your chef.
The other position is a manager. A general manager should be hired to overlook restaurant operation and control the quality of food and satisfaction of visitors. The duties will vary according to your restaurant type. Another management position is assistant managers who take care of the employees, their schedule or needs. An accountant should handle finance, ordering and pay vendors and suppliers, payroll, taxes, etc.
Also, you should take care of the other people required for technical operation of establishment: cleaning, delivery (if available), advertisement managers, photographers, animators, etc.
Convenient staff will help you to make your restaurant an independent organism in which all its structures work together, and everyone knows their responsibilities. The best to gain this purpose is not to forget about thematic dates or events for employees to unite the team.
Restaurants, like other businesses, often find that the best way to succeed in the market is apposite advertisement and promotion of the restaurant concept.
What is the restaurant? What is the restaurant for you and the people around? Does it have any influence on the restaurant industry at all? Creating your restaurant is the first step, then you need to prepare it for a hard life in the competitive market.
To run your restaurant business without having the intention of making money, you need to understand precisely what trends exist on the market and to learn everything that your competitors have and what they do not have.
But how do you open a restaurant that will keep up with the market? There a few examples of current market trends:
Sure, these statements are just examples, the real list will be much detailed once you know the kind of the restaurant you want to start. However, one generic thing is not changeable for now: your restaurant should find the place on the internet and social networks.
More and more institutions (not only in the restaurant industry) strengthen their presence in social networks, using them as a means of communication with the target audience. The main trends in this direction: receiving feedback, tracking the opinions of visitors to neutralize the negative sides, attracting the attention of potential customers. Also, that is the way to know what your customers need. Communication is the first thing in developing. So, how much to open a restaurant you need to give to receive feedback? We would say quite a few.
If we talk about technological trends in the market, we should note the popularization of the electronic menu, which allows you to update the positions without reprinting all the menu copies (as with a traditional paper menu). Electronic menus give you the opportunity to provide clients with a broader, more detailed and colorful description of each position.
Many establishments develop their own mobile applications, which serve as a useful tool for increasing loyalty. With the help of applications, the restaurant informs customers about discounts, promotions, hold contests.
You may monitor the activity of your competitors and the market trends. You can read feedbacks about the other restaurants and the offers from customers. Information is the biggest value, and we have free access to it, so that is a bloomer not to use it and do not have the tools for exploring Internet space.
You should remember that you do not have to do everything by yourself. Sometimes (we would say “in major cases”) that is better to hire specialists who can take this responsibility and work on your image on the market. Even if your business plan is perfect, there are a lot of abruptness appears. Be flexible and remember your concept, but be ready to react to market trends. Being restaurant entrepreneurs, you have no risk only in one thing - people love to eat tasty (until the time we will use pills except the food, but there is a long way to get it).
Anyway, we will stop on the primary Internet conquer tool - your website.
Your opening restaurant website is a window to the modern technological world where you can create your unique place to present the establishment and make Internet audience be aware of its existence.
Most traditional restaurants consider their primary task to be feeding guests tasty with high-quality dishes inside the hall, and the delivery, in this case, goes on the back burner. People appreciate their time in the 21st century, and they do not always want to go to a restaurant or cook at home. At this point, they will prefer to search on the Internet and find your website offering stunning options for them to be fed and satisfied.
Customers who appreciate the order and their time will undoubtedly leave feedback about your fantastic restaurant at your delightful and technologically convenient site.
Of course, a website without advertisements doesn’t always allow visitors to find your restaurant on the Internet, but a website is always an excellent way for them to learn about your restaurant as well as its prices, menus, special offers, and work schedule. Perhaps they will be interested in your institution because of the events that take place there. Maybe the short biography of the chef will seem interesting and trustworthy. Posted pictures or videos will help people to see what is your design, how does your staff look like, etc.
So, the benefits of the restaurant website are the following:
We can talk a lot about all the benefits of your site, but the questions are still open: “What do I need to open a restaurant online?”, “What is the cost to start a restaurant website?”, “How much it will be to launch it and maintain?”
If you have a good restaurant, you must have a high-end website because that is your face in the network. We should realize that investing the time, money and other resources is essential. At this point, if your business is serious, you should search for professional assistance regarding this matter. Remember the golden rule of each business type: miser pays twice.
You can review Elegant Cafe and Restaurant Templates, ready to be used and requires just your personalization if you wish to add it. Even the most demanding restaurant owner will be able to find a template to taste. This collection is represented by more than 500 various designs with high functionality, good customization level, and 24/7 technical assistance in case you need advice in implementing some stunning idea on this ready template.
Do not forget that your visitors start to love your establishment with the eyes. Using full-width design on your website and adding a slider with photos of designs, smiling personnel, cooked dishes and maybe even some words from your professional chef will make customers curious and intrigued. They will love your restaurant even before visiting it.
Most Elegant Cafe and Restaurant Templates are adapted to all applications including mobile phones and tablets - they look great on full screens. Likewise, you can choose the package with a ready website, and the high pro support team will do everything for you while you are busy with the other staff.
You can check and find out plenty of fantastic classy platforms for your fine dining restaurant or genuine and cozy ones for your small restaurant or coffee house.
To make the task as simple as possible, we prepared you a 73+ collection of Restaurant WordPress Themes. WordPress is a simple and reachable platform for online blogging. It is made with a set of tools that can help you to create internet publications. It does not require special skills and time. However, if you want to use it from the very beginning, it can be difficult. Nevertheless, Restaurant WordPress Themes is the instrument of Internet running a restaurant for dummies not acknowledged in programming. Big and small restaurant ideas can be implemented in one of the wonderful samples from this collection.
Choosing the correct template and design for your restaurant website, you should define for yourself what tasks it should do. Restaurant setup on the Internet has to reflect all its physical benefits. You can put the schematic of the restaurant hall on the website and allow customers to book the table to their taste. For example, there will be bookings for the middle of the hall to stay in the spotlight, the corner to have a romantic date or conversation, or the table near the window where you can observe the street.
It is advisable to add links to existing profiles in social networks, a form for contacting the site/restaurant administration, a forum for visitors to discuss neutral culinary topics, share experience and thus attract attention to the restaurant.
Elegant Cafe and Restaurant Templates includes the possibility of an electronic menu, which, by the way, would be very convenient to edit and change depends on restaurant event.
The website will work for you even before launching the restaurant itself. How do you make a restaurant opening special for everyone? How do you make people anticipate it as well? Just share information about amazing coming soon events online!
So, a website will be a worthy investment of imagination, time and effort to increase the popularity of your restaurant and help you to find a new audience from the Internet. You may post your photo as the owner of the restaurant and write a short story about starting a restaurant business. So, how much money to start a restaurant life on the Internet? Much less than it will give in return.
The lifespan of a restaurant is about five years, and for conceptual establishments, it’s even less.
Some restaurants are functioning many years, but not excluding the fact they have to change their concept, location, menu, design, target audience and so on.
The main reason for the restaurant closing is when restaurant business model fails or because of the violation of one of the points outlined above.
Almost half of the restaurants are closing because of the unfavorable location. On the second stage is management. The third is the business plan. An experienced manager may find a successful solution even in critical situations. A manager is responsible for all the daily operation of the restaurant, work of all the staff. In manager and bookkeeper hands are all finances and the possibility to save on a purchase. A good manager can come up with non-standard creative solutions which are not something you can add to your business plan. So, the first tip for starting a business is to make sure your “offspring” was put into reliable hands.
Of course, the reasons for this kind are very subjective and can depend on the particular type of restaurant. Sometimes the size of the restaurant, in this case, will not play a role, both large and small restaurants can be at risk.
Let’s look at the main reasons for our opinion, to be prepared in advance for everything:
If you feel that you are in a dangerous situation, you can always use the exit plan and sell your business. Remember, even most successful restaurants can experience bad times. In most cases, you can change disadvantages into benefits, you believe in yourself and the power of your mind, be creative and monitor everything not to lose the opportunity to win.
In this article, we were trying to highlight the questions each entrepreneur rises once have the idea of starting your restaurant. Unfortunately, this niche is complex, so we can miss out on having a good idea.
Anyway, building your restaurant is fantastic, but you have to remember that a thought is not enough for success, you will need to stay patient and ready for challenges.
A restaurant startup is a dream which can become a reality easily. You need to understand that is the thing you want to connect your life with. Research your local catering market, figure out how much it costs to start a restaurant in a particular area, what is the restaurants cost (if we mean the competitor’s restaurants or ready franchise business), find people familiar with legal aspects of opening your own restaurant and understand what is your goal in this business.
You will need to know the cost of opening a restaurant, and the cost should reflect all the resources you will need.
As the conclusion of the whole article, we would like to offer the short Startup Checklist:
All the necessary tools for your restaurant prosperity are around. Your creative approach will be appreciated in advertising and promotion of the restaurant. Regarding the website, you can check the templates and ready websites offered by many companies. One of them is Elegant Cafe and Restaurant Templates with plenty of designs to your taste. You can use simple WordPress theme or get Bootstrap HTML5 and CSS3, Joomla one with high graphic and opened abilities to customize this website, make it the mirror of your restaurant life.
Do not limit yourself to one restaurant only; your business could become a set of a few similar or completely different restaurants. Stay strong and creative! Believe in what you are doing and love your business - these will lead you to success. Take care!
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