Restaurateurship 101: Start Your Own Business in 2022
Starting your own restaurant is easy. No, just kidding. It would take a lot of time and a lot of planning before you could even really get to Step 1, but it’s not impossible. Through this narrative, we will be tackling what you need to do and to know before starting a restaurant business. Especially with how things have changed after 2020 and 2021, there are so many things to consider.
According to an article published by the University of Las Vegas (UNLV), the first establishment we could really call “restaurants” originated in Paris in the mid-eighteenth century. The word “restaurant” is derived from the French word “restaurer” which means “to restore” or “to revive”. It could also refer to a meat broth or thick soup that allegedly restores ones’ health.
Now, the history of restaurants can be tackled in a different discussion, but what do you need to do before starting one of your own? Having a restaurant isn’t just about having good food, it has a lot of branches that if you are starting one, you have to be knowledgeable of.
So, without further ado, let’s start discussing the fundamental steps that will guide you before starting your own restaurant.
1. SCAN AND DEFINE YOUR TARGET MARKET
Scanning is one of the most overlooked steps in conceptualizing an idea for a business plan. Yes, you do not go straight to making a business plan! Scan first. Know your target market. Target Markets have segments that you most likely will want to focus on as no single food operation have universal appeal. With that being said, let’s look at the main categories under the Target Market.
- Millennials – possibly the prime target of a business under the food industry. These are people on the go and typically resort to fast-food and/or quick service places. Examples: burger and pizza places, drive-thrus.
- Generation X – born between 1965-1980, these people are very much concerned about getting the service that their money’s worth. They also favor quick-service places in which they can relax and enjoy. Examples are salad bars or different kinds of buffets.
- Baby Boomers – born between 1946-1964, are the main targets of upscale restaurants. They are big fans of family-friendly places that provide formal and excellent service.
- Empty Nesters – people that have kids that no longer live with them. These segments are usually not that concerned with the price but are more focused on great food and sophisticated ambiance.
- Seniors – ages 65 and older. They are generally with fixed incomes and possibly not visit upscale restaurants often so they tend to go to family-friendly restaurants with reasonable prices. They also love places that offer senior menus with the right prices and serves the right portions for them, as well as places that offer early-bird promos and the likes.
2. CREATING YOUR FOOD CONCEPT
Creating your food concept is not just about identifying what type of food you want to serve. You also have to consider the experience that comes with it not just to pique possible consumers’ interests but to hopefully keep them as your customers.
A food concept is having a more specific aim towards the direction your restaurant will take. Do you want to serve seafood? Will you be making a Steakhouse, a Family-Style Restaurant, an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet, a Bakery, or a Coffeehouse?
You must first determine which specific segment of the foodservice industry you want to join before you can begin any serious business planning. While the various types of food-service businesses have many commonalities, there are also many variations.
3. CREATING YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
A thorough business plan gives you a clear output of the vision you intend to bring to life especially if you intend to reach out to investors or apply for a loan. A business plan is the most critical part of starting your restaurant, therefore, you have to take time in laying out the concept clearly, well detailed financial information; your starting capital, for example, as well as expense forecasts. It should also include your marketing plan, the hiring process for employees, training programs, your menu, and pricing, anything crucial in the process of running the restaurant must be included.
4. CHOOSING THE PERFECT LOCATION
Location is a very crucial thing when it comes to starting a business, and this applies to all, not just for restaurants. Location is one of the elements that could possibly make or break you. In choosing your location, you must put into mind the accessibility of the place, enough parking for customers, the kind of restaurants that are around the area; are they QSR (Quick Serving Restaurants)? Fine Dining? Is the area too high-end that some customers might get intimidated or lose interest in visiting your restaurant?
Choosing a location is important as it sets the pace and adds to the ambiance you’re aiming your restaurant to have and to be.
5. CREATING YOUR MENU
Menus (along with the food/products you will serve) is probably the spine of your business. It’s what makes it. This is where you get to showcase the food that you want to sell to the world. Make sure it is easy to read, understand, and properly sorted out; Starters, Entrees, Desserts, Drinks. This is where you add the twists—unique food/products that only your restaurant is serving—but also remember to put food that consumers are familiar with.
6. CONVEYING YOUR RESTAURANT CONCEPT CLEARLY
Here is where you set your theme for your restaurant. Your interior and exterior (if available) designs will set the mood. You’re serving Italian? You showcase images of Italy, have different kinds of pasta in jars, and have them displayed. Do you want to serve Japanese food? Have your interior capture the feeling of Japan. The thing is, it doesn’t always have to be exactly accurate, but gives the customers the gist of it, or it could also be how the consumers think it is.
Some restaurants even have their staff play along to further add experiences, like those cute Japanese maids wearing cat ears in cat cafes, or staff being able to speak the language their cuisine is. Your concept defines your restaurant. Have fun with it, place photo booths or a nice area where they could take pictures. Those mentioned are just some of the many examples of gimmicks that give you an edge. It gives you a unique selling point that if planned and executed properly will generate good income.
7. CREW/STAFF HIRING
In hiring, the owner must be critical and hire the person they deem is capable of carrying the brand and having the right talent for the job. People have skills they use in order for the process to work and it’s only fitting to hire people knowledgeable in the field especially has the ability and confidence to sell your product.
8.CHECK AND SETTLE LICENSES AND PERMITS FOR THE RESTAURANT
Before opening your restaurant, it is better to acquire licenses or permits to operate a business. These licenses are from the government possibly commending or giving people some warning about your restaurant. For example, not having a business permit and being reprimanded by someone from authority (city hall inspector, etc) could result in a violation, then if not settled could lead to penalties, if not a lawsuit. The government also uses this to ensure public safety when it comes to food and hygiene.
9. CHOOSE YOUR RESTAURANT NAME WISELY
Unique restaurant names are easy to remember and/or could pique someone’s curiosity. Be creative in choosing a name that you think perfectly suits and embodies the restaurant you envision.
10. GET INSURED PROPERLY
Finding the right insurance policy to cover your business premises, the furniture, the kitchen appliances, cooking tools, the alcoholic beverages and food you’ll be serving, and the staff who will be working for you is crucial as well. You want to make sure that in any case there are unfortunate incidents that may occur, you have the security and protection of a good insurance plan.
And there you have it. After choosing your name, register it and in some cases, trademark it. Always remember to not hold back on the guest experience and give them your best as it is the key to customer retention. In winning their stomachs because of the wonderful food, you also win their hearts if you give them warm and great service, earning their loyalty when your service is consistent.
Businesses are not always perfect. You never know what kind of customer your staff will encounter, but what you can do is ensure the quality of the food, the ambiance, the music, and the experience. Having read all of this, you are now ready to open your restaurant. And with that, we wish you good luck!
START YOUR BUSINESS RIGHT!
Are you still in need of more information with regard to your food business? Whether you’re just starting out a small business as an entrepreneur or you have had your restaurant for quite some time, just call us toll-free today at 1-877-658-2472. We’re more than happy to look up the best policy or review your existing plan for you.