Tips For Starting A Restaurant The Right Way!

So you're thinking about starting a restaurant?

Great! I hope you are excited. There will be a lot of people who will try to to talk you out of this. I am not one of them. I've worked in, managed, started, bought and sold restaurants for over 30 years. I'd like to help you by presenting some ideas to consider before starting your restaurant.

tips for starting a restaurantI'm a little biased. I LOVE the restaurant business!

There is an incredible amount of energy, time and attention to detail needed when you're starting a restaurant. Here’s a few quick tips from someone who’s who's been there, done that. Although the planning, sourcing, budgeting and opening can be frustrating (and take a lot of energy). The truth is that actually starting and getting your restaurant open might be the easy part!

Keeping it open and profitable for years and years is the real challenge. (That’s easily forgotten during the start up phase)

(To read how I took a near bankrupt restaurant to profits very quickly click here)

Set Your Priorities For Starting A Restaurant

You will be juggling a million things during your start up, so it’s important to focus and decide on your priorities. Step back from the insanity of getting ready to open and ask yourself this question. “As the owner of this new restaurant, what should be my number one priority?” This is a question that most new restaurant owners don’t think about.

There is so much time and money spent just getting to your grand opening that you don’t consider what is most vital to growing a profitable restaurant. It used to be that if you worked hard on starting a restaurant, opened a nice place with good food, you could be a huge success.

Times have changed. Actually, they keep changing. Some of the things that were very successful 5-10 years ago aren’t necessarily the smart things to do today. Your customers lifestyle is always changing. Your new restaurant must fit in with their lifestyle, expectations, location and pocket book.

And there’s more and more competition from the really big boys! The large chains are doing their best to give the little guy less and less market share. However, the restaurant industry is one of the few remaining industries where ANYONE can pull of the David and Goliath story. If you plan on starting a restaurant that caters to a specific niche, and you do it really well, you can beat the big chains, and be very profitable. (most people still prefer the local hero over the corporate giant)

However, if you spend all your energy planning for your opening, and don’t spend any time prioritizing how you will STAY open, you could be headed towards becoming one of those infamous statistics.

Don’t start a restaurant by focusing on opening day….

Starting A Restaurant With A 5 Year View!

I like to compare the way most first time restauranteurs start a restaurant to the way many brides plan their marriage. These days it’s not uncommon for a bride to fuss over every detail of their wedding day, and plan for up to 2-3 years for that special event. And then, they are surprised when they are headed for divorce court in 6 months. The wedding is only ONE day, focusing on the marriage (which will hopefully last 50 years) , not just the wedding day, should be the priority.

starting a restaurantYour restaurant opening is one day. Your future profits are based on how you grow your business every day after that!

Don’t start out so fast that you burn out before you open!

Traditional, out-dated methods for attracting and retaining customers don’t work anymore. You must be up to date with what works, and avoid the costly mistakes most rookies make.

We all love to decide on our total starting budget, and then spend every penny (or more) on creating the best restaurant possible. How much more successful and profitable could you be a year from now if you could start a restaurant for 50% of your budget instead of spending money the business hasn’t earned yet?

These are just a few things to consider when starting a restaurant.