5 Secrets That Will Make Your Restaurant a Success
by Gloria Martinez Founder of WomenLed.org
Want to turn your love of food into a thriving, successful business? If you want to open a restaurant, you need to have the right planning and tools in place to help your business succeed. Too many restaurants fail because owners don’t follow a few simple but important steps. To help you put yourself on the path to success, consider these important tips from MEHKO Mikey.
Establish Your Business
While every city, county, and state has unique rules, chefs need permits to sell food in their communities. Often, the first step in getting these permits is to formally establish your restaurant’s business entity. Because they are easy to set up, offer tax benefits, and provide protection of personal assets, limited liability companies (LLCs) are a popular choice for new business owners. They’re also quick and affordable to set up when you use a service like the Zen Business website, especially compared to working with an attorney.
Once your business is registered, you can apply for your restaurant license. Keep in mind that in many areas, you’ll need a separate permit if you plan to sell alcohol.
Focus on Finding the Right People
If you’re going to start a new restaurant, you really cannot do it all by yourself. You need to find dependable, hard-working people to help you cook, serve, clean, and provide the best service to your customers. It’s one of the things you need to get right from the start.
Of course, your hiring efforts are going to begin with some interviews. Use these tips to conduct your interviews in a way that screens for the kind of personalities and work ethic you are looking for. Be sure to ask them about themselves and why they are interested in the position. You can learn a lot about people just by allowing them to talk, and you can also get a feeling for whether you click together. Hiring smart is one way you can keep labor costs down and keep people around who you know you can rely on to help you succeed.
Stay on Top of Your Budget
Opening a restaurant takes more than a love of food. You have to be able to keep your finances in order as well. Start by knowing exactly what you need to open a restaurant of your dreams. Most people spend, on average, around $200,000 on just the initial expenses and fees involved. That sum does not cover staff, decor, or equipment costs, but there are ways to save on those secondary opening expenses.
Try looking for quality used equipment instead of brand new items, and also carefully consider what kind of technology your restaurant really needs to thrive. Once you have your budget and initial expenses all planned out, you can start looking for ways to finance your restaurant. Consider looking into SBA options or even loans to help get the cash you need to make your dreams a successful reality.
Attract Customers You Love
If you’re going to own a restaurant, you’ll need to dedicate a lot of your time and energy to it. So, it helps to have customers you actually enjoy being around. To find your target audience, you should start by taking a long, thoughtful look at yourself. Think about what makes you happy and what you would like to offer that is different from other businesses in the area. Do your homework, and don’t be afraid to ask friends for advice or use surveys to learn more about your intended clientele.
You can also try networking at local businesses and events to learn about what’s in demand. Once you have your customers in mind, start marketing your business. There are so many free advertising options you can explore, from creating buzz using social media to hosting special events.
Think About Starting Smaller
There’s definitely a lot to think about when opening a restaurant. If you feel overwhelmed and are not quite in the position to take on the costs, time, and effort involved, why not start with something a little simpler? Plenty of successful restaurants have gotten their start as a food truck and grown their business from there. Since used food trucks can be found for as little as $20,000, this is an affordable way to dip your toe into the food service business. Not ready for that commitment, either? Consider hosting a pop-up event. You can partner with local breweries or businesses to host small, limited-engagement events to create some real buzz around your new business.
When food and service are your passion, opening a restaurant could be the perfect fit for your life. You can start smart by taking the time to plan, perfect, and pour some passion into your new business so you can help it succeed from opening day and beyond.