Do you dream of owning your own restaurant, but aren’t sure how to take the first step? By laying proper groundwork, you can set yourself up for success and not get heavily into debt. Here is important information on how to get started with your very own restaurant and not go broke.
Who’s in your bullseye?
Identifying your clientele is an important step toward your business’s success. Shopkeep suggests visiting some of the restaurants you love and studying regular customers to better understand your own target audience. Weigh the demographics in your mind, everything from age to income level. Use that information to tailor things to the people you intend to draw. For instance, sports-minded customers might want to see games on TV and jerseys on the walls, so you’ll want to factor in the cost of TVs into your startup costs. Your target audience will also play a role in location selection. If you want to catch professionals at lunch, you need to be in the business district. And whatever you decide, check into the food safety requirements the locale and restaurant classification requires.
Think outside the box
Do you have a great idea and not a lot of funding? Finding ways to cut startup costs can be challenging, but thinking outside the box – and outside of four walls – can make a big difference. Consider opening a pop-up so you can keep your expenses sliced thin while showcasing your talents. It’s a great way to minimize your investment and utility costs, build a following, and draw the eye of investors. You can get your feet wet in a variety of circumstances, which will build your experience and skills for the long haul. Start with your own clever concept, and go from there. Aim to break even right away, and learn what menu choices and processes work. If you need to invest in a vehicle for your venture, make sure you shop around first to find the best pricing; here is a good place to start.
For many restaurateurs, the joy of developing their business extends beyond the menu and into the ambiance of the project. Are you envisioning something elegant, or is your dream more along the lines of kitschy and quirky? For example, Limani (an awesome seafood restaurant in NYC), envisioned bringing the Mediterranean to Manhattan and installed a very cool looking, mini pool in the center of their restaurant. Whatever you’re seeing in your mind’s eye, Upserve recommends postponing major restaurant decor expenses and aiming for just a couple of high-impact elements. Think in terms of lighting, paint colors, and appropriate upholstery. If you need some investors for your basic starting costs, consider reaching out to people you know. Check in with those passionate about your vision, or start a crowdfunding account. You might be pleasantly surprised by the people in your personal network who are willing to pitch in!
A key to drawing customers in is getting the word out. Thanks to the internet, you can reach a great many people with a few clicks of a mouse. Social media and email are great ways to plug your new venture, and you can do so at virtually no cost. Developing a website is another important marketing tool. Be sure to include information about your menu, location, upcoming events, and a little about your identity. To add spice to the adventure, one idea is to start spreading the word well in advance of your opening day. Building anticipation will make customers excited and start talking about you before you ever serve your first meal.
At your fingertips
Keeping overhead costs low is important, and when you’re first starting out, chances are that you’ll be spread thin in terms of time and energy. OpenTable recommends employing some tech tools that streamline processes and keep your time use efficiently. Everything from timekeeping to inventory tracking to cost analysis can be done via apps and gadgets. If you are in a position to hire assistants, research your candidates to keep labor costs low. Hiring people with experience as well as signs of loyalty can mean less training and turnover, but make sure you’re paying a reasonable wage that will keep your employees happy since they’ll be the face of your business; the cost of rent alone in Melbourne is AU$1,502 for modest living quarters.
Be smart about building your dream. Identify your audience, keep costs low and plan carefully. You’ll be a successful restaurateur in no time!