Whether it is an online business or a brick-and-mortar business, starting a new business is always exciting and terrifying at the same time.
This goes double when starting a restaurant. The competition is fierce, unexpected things can happen, the costs of things can be overwhelming, and finding a market for your restaurant can be tough.
While mistakes are expected when it comes to starting a restaurant, there are also things that can be done to reduce these mistakes and make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.
Nothing will ever be perfect when it comes to starting and maintaining a restaurant. Paradoxically, restaurant owners who think it is a good idea to develop Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and micromanage every last thing about their restaurant are often the ones who suffer the most.
Here are five things that you should consider before starting a restaurant.
Strategy #1: Do not be shy with signs
Human beings are visual creatures. For millennia, we have been using our eyes as our main source of stimuli, and it will be that way for a very long time.
The more something pops out in our vision, the easier it is to set this stimuli off. This is why neon open signs and neon beer signs have been used in establishments for centuries.
One of the worst decisions any restaurant owner can make is thinking that only a couple of neon signs is enough for people to see their establishment.
This cannot be further from the truth. While it is true that too many signs can make a place unpleasant, having only a couple is just as bad. Instead of only having one or two signs, consider connecting four or five.
Strategy #2: Refuse the temptation to become a one man/woman army
It is very difficult for a restaurant owner to not be paranoid about his or her business. One of the biggest mistakes any given restaurateur can make is to control everything.
And by everything, we mean everything: How much money goes in and out, what gets ordered, what gets 86’d from the menu, the design of the restaurant, everything.
While it is very important to have the final say in what goes on in your restaurant, it is equally important to outsource everything you can. Your servers and cooks can also function as accountants and interior designers if they are taught well enough.
And in this age where information is everywhere, doing this is much easier than it used to be. Offer incentives for those team members who work in the front and back of the house who elect to learn more.
Strategy #3: Do intimate research on the demographics of where your establishment will be located
Learning about demographics are boring, and that is precisely why a restauranteur could have a very good idea but receive very little business then close in a year. They do not take the time to learn about what’s going on around their establishment.
Do not let this happen to you. Sometimes being different isn’t the best thing to do.
The demographics of the area where you want to do business will dictate what your restaurant should offer. Different people go to restaurants for different things.
When doing research on these demographics, you should concentrate on the age, income, school enrollment figures, and employment figures of the area. These will determine what your restaurant should offer.
Strategy #4: Resist the temptation to be a one trick pony
While it is in-style to be a restaurant that specializes in one kind of cuisine, this is a very risky move.
Think of all the most popular restaurants out there. What do they all have in common?
In most cases, they have something for everybody. They understand that very few people want to just eat or drink one thing and one thing only when they go out to eat.
This does not mean that you need to have hundreds of items on your menu or having dozens of variations of a certain dish. Nor does it mean you cannot specialize in one kind of cuisine.
It does mean that you should be willing to have a menu that is one ounce more diverse than you might have wanted. If you are opening a steakhouse, offer a couple of salad choices. If you are a vegan restaurant, offer a few things on the menu that are not vegan.
Strategy #5: Know your competition and stand out
There is more competition for a restaurant now than ever before. It is easier than ever for somebody to order restaurant quality food from the comfort of their own home without needing to go to a restaurant.
It is also easier than ever to prepare the same kinds of things offered at the most upscale restaurants, thanks to the availability of cookbooks and video tutorials.
Restaurants now need to worry about a lot more than what other restaurants offer. They now need to worry about much more than that.
This is why it is more important than ever to stand out when it comes to owning a restaurant. Now more than ever, it is not about just offering well prepared food and drink, but offering an experience.
The experience should be what is focused on.
There is maximum pressure on anybody who opens a restaurant. The demands are great, and it is a challenge for anybody. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information out there that will help you. Use this information to take some of the pressure off and use some of that energy to make your restaurant massively successful.
This article has been written for Times of Startups by Lara Douglas. Lara is a young woman who loves interior designing and home decor. She is passionate about new trends and fashion forward home décor ideas. She regularly posts at Neon Signs Depot.