How To Open A Restaurant

Get ready for a very busy, adrenalin filled, emotional roller coaster when you decide to open a restaurant. Opening a restaurant shares great similarities with a juggler. There’s a million little pieces to the puzzle and you'll have a lot of things "up in the air" all at the same time.

You also need to be prepared for some negative comments and criticism from friends, finaciers and family when you first announce your idea to the world. Yes, the restaurant industry has a low success rate. But, if you really have the passion to create a unique, entertaining dining experience you could become financially independent. (I won't be one of those negative voices!)

To Open A Restaurant You MUST Have A Plan

how to open a restaurantOne of the first things needed before you open your restaurant is a really great, extremely detailed, well researched business plan. This includes determining what type of restaurant you wish to run down to every miniscule detail. Theme, cuisine, staffing, demographics, hours of operation and liquor sales (or no liquor) are all aspects that need to be clearly thought out and planned for.

Taking a business management course in a post secondary institution would be incredibly beneficial. It’s also a good way to network through student business conferences. Networking is especially important when looking for an investor. The majority of rookie restaurant owners generally don’t have that kind of up front money to cover all start up costs.

To Open A Restaurant Start By Setting A Date

open a restaurantIt’s important to set a date to open your restaurant and then create a schedule that works backwards. Then take every single item, supplier, task and issue and figure out when you need to get started on that to make sure it’s ready by opening day.

Here’s some examples

- how long after leasehold improvements are done until the building and health inspector will issue your permits?

- if you need to hire tradesman add a few weeks for delays, unknown issues and them not showing up as promised!

- what things need to be printed (menus, napkins, business cards, table cards, etc?) How long to design, approve, re-approve, make changes and print?

- When do you need to start hiring staff to make sure you have a good base to select resumes from, train and have ready for opening day?

- How long will it take to tweak the initial menu, document the exact recipes and source the best value suppliers?

- How long is the approval process to get a credit card/debit card terminal hooked up and activated?

The debit/credit card terminal was my biggest issue. I actually opened my restaurant and had to run “cash only” for the first 3 days. (how embarrassing!)

Set the date you want to open your restaurant, put every single item on a spreadsheet and work backwards.

Enjoy The Process Of Getting Ready To Open A Restaurant (Really!)

Every time I’ve been involved in opening a restaurant it has been one of the most hectic and exhausting things I’ve ever done. There’s a lot going on all at once. Excitement, fatigue, frustrations, little triumphs, electricity, laughter, anxiety and a pace that accelerates as you move towards opening day.
I must say that I don’t think I’ve ever felt so alive as when I’m making that last crazy dash to get everything in place to open a restaurant. Please take the time to enjoy the process. Be kind to the people that are working hard and helping you open a restaurant.

And lastly, the crazy pace and the long days that going into getting ready to open a restaurant shouldn’t distract your from your real priority.

Getting a restaurant open is really just the first step. Your main priority as a restaurant owner will be to fill the place with customers, deliver a great experience to those clients, have a great staff that reduces your work load, and make growing profits. Occasionally an new owner will be so focused on the steps to opening their restaurant that they don’t have the energy or the planning in place to do what is necessary after the opening.

Please keep your priorities of a long term, profitable business in mind as you go through the craziness of getting ready to open a restaurant.