What is it about restaurants that attracts so many of us to the idea of actually owning and running one? Does knowing how to start a restaurant make us the ultimate entrepreneur? With all of its intricacies, does knowing how to run the restaurant efficiently say something more of our business skills?
Maybe the idea of having the career tag ‘restaurateur’ and a team of chefs providing superior nosh is just cool.
But if we should go about starting our own restaurant, what do we have to do? And just how important is being ‘green’ in a sector where cleanliness is absolutely essential?
We’ve put together a 10-stage general guide to the art of setting up, establishing and running a restaurant. You never know, reading this might even convince you to go for it!
Starting a Restaurant
1. Restaurant Concept, Name and Menu – These are actually essential in establishing a share of the market. Your concept should tell a story, with everything from the colour scheme of the interior, to the lighting, to the cutlery, plates and table linen carefully chosen.
2. Equipment and Suppliers – This is not just a matter of cost efficiency but also a matter of quality. From choosing the right kitchen hardware, to opting for eco-friendly kitchen mats and cloth roller towel dispensers in the restrooms, getting this right from the off can save money and headache in the future.
3. The Right Staff – The chef is the soul of a restaurant, so finding a talented one is essential. But your regular kitchen staff and front-of-house floor staff is just as important. Also, consider uniforms, as they project a professional, well-organised image that diners find reassuring.
4. Proper Financing – Keeping start-up costs as low as possible is a key element of the whole procedure – though not at the expense of quality. So, assessing the quality versus price is important if you’re to turn a profit.
Running a Restaurant
5. Keep On Top of Everything – Running a restaurant is a huge undertaking, but we like Restaurant Doctor’s list of 5 simple points:
- Control (taking a hands-on approach to everything)
- Cost Effectiveness (prioritising spending)
- Cleanliness (establishing the right procedures from the start)
- Customer Service (happy diners will be back)
- Creativity (‘trying new things’ keeps things fresh)
6. A Humming Kitchen – The Chefs King, Gordon Ramsey, had this to say about the role a well-run and professionally staffed kitchen plays. “Chefs and their brigade have become today’s theatre and in many cases are taking to the actors stage like seasoned professionals,” he stated in a lengthy article published on Chefsworld.com.
7. Get Pricing Right – There is a bit of psychology at play here, but getting the pricing right can play no small part in getting diners through your doors. Special deals are fine, but if prices are too low then consumers might think there is something wrong.
Marketing a Restaurant
8. The Right Marketing Campaign – Getting your restaurant off the ground means a lot of marketing and promotions. Focusing on the local community is the best way, since it is usually locals who’ll dine there. There are lots of techniques, but knowing your demographics is important.
9. The Value of ‘Green’ – There is now a distinct swing towards ‘green’ dining amongst mainstream diners. People like to know their local restaurants are good for the environment, so keeping facilities, food supplies and waste management policies in line with environmental principals is more important than pleasing the Health & Safety guys.
10. Give Diners Something Positive to Talk About – Basically, if you get everything else right, your diners will tell their friends. And with social marketing (Facebook, Twitter etc), the good word can spread faster and wider!
Of course, this is just a fraction of the things you need to handle, since knowing how to run a restaurant successfully means understanding a lot more. Taking advice is hugely beneficial, so be sure to read more on the points above in the links below.
Sources / More Information:
1. ‘Choosing and Creating Your Restaurant Concept’, Food & Beverage Underground – www.foodandbeverageunderground.com/restaurant-concept.html
2. ‘Acquiring Kitchen Equipment for Your Restaurant’, Dummies.com – www.dummies.com/how-to/content/acquiring-kitchen-equipment-for-your-restaurant.html
3. ‘Restaurant Staff’, Setupmyrestaurant.com – http://www.setupmyrestaurant.com/staff/
4. ‘Restaurant Startup Costs That can’t Be Overlooked’, Foodblog – http://foodblog.knowledgeshare.info/restaurant-startup-costs-that-.html
5. Restaurant Doctor.co.uk www.restaurantdoctoruk.co.uk/Philosophy.htm
6. ‘Gordon Ramsey How to Run a Restaurant’, Chefsworld.com – www.chefsworld.net/news_details.asp?NewsID=clFS
7. ‘Setting the price’, Marketing Psychology Group – www.marketingpsychology.com/price2.htm
8. ‘How to Create an Effective geo-Targeted Restaurant marketing Campaign’, Restaurant Commando – http://restaurantcommando.com/restaurant-marketing/how-to-create-a-effective-geo-targeted-restaurant-marketing-campaign
9. ’2012 Trend: Consumers Continue to Favor “Green” Restaurants’, Marketwatch.com, The Wall Street Journal – www.marketwatch.com/story/2012-trend-consumers-continue-to-favor-green-restaurants-2012-02-06
10. ‘What is Restaurant Reputation Management’, Social Media Experts – www.social-media-experts.org.uk/restaurant-reputation-management.htm