Restaurants have a very healthy profit margin. This entices many think about opening a restaurant. Even though the profit margins are high, it is not an easy task running the restaurant day in and day out. There will be multiple problems that arise while running a restaurant that could be detrimental to your business. Still, one could consider a few things before opening a restaurant so that the number of future problems arising can be reduced drastically. It is good to know the crucial yet basic odds and ends of the restaurant businesses. Here is a checklist that will help you in having your bases covered before opening a restaurant.
Know Your Market
The customers of your restaurant will be near and around the location of the restaurant. As it is essential to have customers regularly for the sustenance of your business it is highly critical to have a deep understanding of your prospective customers, which are the people that are geographically proximate to your restaurant. Since these people will make or break your business, you need to understand them. So, invest a great deal in the market research before taking every other step that is involved in opening a new restaurant.
Every last thing will not go as planned how much ever time was invested in creating the business plan. This does not be an encouragement to have no plan at all. So one of the primary bases to be covered is to have a sound business plan which before investing in your business. Starting a restaurant without a business plan is akin to playing chess without anticipating future moves.
Having a sound business plan ensures that all the basics have been covered to open the restaurant. Transferring an obscure idea in your mind to a structure will help you gain confidence in your restaurant and it will make it easier to navigate future problems when a target and route is thought beforehand.
As mentioned earlier, patrons for your restaurant will be from your locality. Also, it can be viewed in the reverse manner the locality of your restaurants will determine the kind of patrons you attract. There are a lot of factors to be considered while choosing the location for a restaurant. Demographics and psychographics of people in the locality, rent, foot traffic in the area, parking availability, transport connectivity, raw material availability, availability of employees, the kind of food you serve, service level, beverage policy, regulations, and the list goes on.
The locality in which the restaurant is affects the customer perception towards your restaurant. Not just the locality, even the businesses that are adjacent to your restaurant will also be partly responsible for the customer perception that will be formed. So, immense care and research have to be taken before deciding on a location.
Restaurants is majorly a service-oriented business. Employees play a major role in deciding whether the business thrives or goes bust. Everyone must have had a bad experience at a restaurant caused by an employee there. Even regular patrons will ditch a restaurant if the service provided by the employees is below expectations.
Even though kitchen staff and cleaning staff are extremely important it is the customer-facing employees that a customer encounters directly. If the experience from them is not above expectations, the perception of your establishment will change in the customer’s mind forever. This can never be altered. The experience from employees acts as a proxy for the experience at your restaurant in the mind of the customer. So significant care has to be taken in hiring and training employees especially customer-facing ones.
Operation is a broad umbrella which covers everything from getting permits to washing the dirty dishes. There are a lot of processes involved in the smooth running of a restaurant. The raw material of the required quality has to arrive fresh and on time. Attendance of a sufficient number of employees has to be ensured every day or every shift. Service level has to be maintained always. The orders must be fulfilled well within the expected time. The place has to be kept spotless without much interference to the guests. Keeping tab and billing have to be streamlined. Payment systems have to be up and running without fail all the time. Staff salaries have to be paid without fail on the set schedule.
Along with that finance is also a major part of operations. Investment needs to be secured well in advance. The raised money has to be allocated judiciously. Proper cash flow has to be ensured. Payments to the suppliers and staff have to be regular and cannot break the schedule. There is monthly payments, bills, commissions, insurance to be paid. There is a cost associated with maintenance and whatnot. There always need to be reserve cash for emergencies too.
Running all this is not a simple task at all. So a well thought out scheme has to be implemented from the beginning to ensure the smooth running of the restaurant. Any glitches that might occur will have a cascading effect. The interlinks between the various operations of a restaurant are such that disruption in a small element may cause the whole restaurant to a halt.
People have to know about the existence of your restaurant for them to be your patrons. First of all, the front of the restaurant will act as a great promotional tool. Even for passers-by, the storefront gives them a perception of what to expect from your business.
In this online world, it is easier to reach your customers. It is cheap, and effective to promote your business online. At the same time, it is also easy to get the name tarnished online. Both the sides of the coin has to be kept in mind.
Always the best promotion a business can expect is word of the mouth. Nothing beats that. It is the high levels of quality, service and justifiable cost that will motivate your customers to recommend you. So, in essence, your product itself acts as promotional material.
You have remained in the mind of the customer, so your restaurant will be on the top of the consideration list of your customers. It the perception that a customer that has formed in the mind of the customer that brings them in through your front door. Delivering at par or above their expectations brings them back.
There has to be an anchor or a simple idea to store your restaurant in the mind of the customer. The name of the restaurant, logo, the ambiance in the restaurant, the attire of the service staff, the cutlery and crockery. To keep your restaurant in the mind of the customer, your brand identity have to be encountered multiple times. Custom made and custom branded items will help retain the name and logo of your restaurant in the mind of the customer. This will ensure that your restaurant will be at the top of customers mind.
This is Not the End
This is not an exhaustive list of things that will ensure the smooth opening of your restaurant. But these are some of the essential things to be considered. The changing dynamics will always throw open a new problem, so always be flexible.
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