You will no doubt be fired up and ready to show the public how amazing your beautifully-prepared dishes, offering customers an awesome menu that really tempts their palette, but there are other aspects of opening a restaurant that needs to be sorted if you want everything to go to plan when you open your doors.
Whether it is choosing the right crockery or installing restaurant accounting software, here are some of the things you need to think about before you are ready to start serving customers and winning their praise.
Learn the ropes
Many of us dream about owning our own business and running a restaurant is a popular idea for a startup, especially when you think that your cooking skills and recipe ideas are well received by friends and relatives.
However, there is a world of difference between cooking for pleasure and running a restaurant where you have to make a profit by keeping customers happy every time they come through the door.
One of the best pieces of advice would be to get some experience in a restaurant so that you can see how others are doing it and get some valuable insights that you can use when you start your business.
Check your numbers
You should not start any business without stress-testing your math and making sure that you can make a profit.
It is important to be able to calculate your gross-to-net breakdown in order to know how many customers you need to dine with you each week based on the average spend per head.
Be realistic with your calculations and do some what-if scenarios so that you have a good handle on your financial calculations and targets.
Get to know your potential suppliers
Another key aspect of running a restaurant business is to negotiate keen prices with your food suppliers.
Clearly, food is a major expenditure and the majority of successful restaurateurs are very adept at keeping their food costs low and quality high, achieving the perfect combination of great food at profitable margins.
Sort out your business structure
You will need to decide what legal structure your business will take at an early stage.
If you are going into business with someone else you should draw up a partnership agreement and it would be a good idea to get some professional guidance on whether your business should be a corporation, sole trader, or LLC.
Use your website wisely
Every business needs a website and even when you are opening a restaurant that requires people to visit your premises you should not underestimate how important a good website is.
You can use the site to highlight menu options but you should also ensure that customers can book a table and get in contact with you.
Make your food stand out from the crowd
Your restaurant should be able to develop a positive reputation as quickly as possible and in order to achieve that aim, you will have to get your food offering just right.
A classic rookie error is to spread yourself too thinly and offer a menu that is a fusion of cultures and tastes.
If you open a steak restaurant, for example, there is no confusion about what will be on the menu.
Work out what you do well consistently and focus on that style of food. Diners will then think of your restaurant when they want to eat a certain type of food.
The right staff can make or break your restaurant
Think about your own dining experiences and you will almost certainly be able to think of a meal out where the staff were so rude or unhelpful that it completely spoiled the night and you probably won’t even remember what you ordered.
You might have all the qualities to run a restaurant but you can’t do it all on your own, which is why your mission should be to handpick staff who reflect your values and commitment to quality.
Another useful tip would be to think twice about calling on family and friends to help you as this can put a strain on your relationship and you might it hard to give orders.
How are you going to finance the venture?
Starting a new business is never as simple as opening the doors for business and welcoming paying customers from day one.
It takes time to build a business and money too.
Running a restaurant requires a certain amount of capital investment because you will need to finance the acquisition of kitchen equipment, furniture, and other key items that you need to be able to trade.
The very fact that you are a new venture can make it difficult to find the finance that you need, which is why it is highly relevant that you clearly sort out your financing options at an early stage of your plans to open a restaurant.
Pick a decent location
There is no getting away from the fact that location is a key factor that influences the potential success of many businesses and your restaurant needs to be in a good location if you can find somewhere suitable at the right price.
A restaurant business that has been open for some time can often get away with a secondary location because people are willing to make the effort to get there as they know the food makes it worthwhile.
Take your time trying to find the best location possible for your budget.
Study the competition
Market research can be invaluable in helping you to see what someone does well and what aspects of the customer you could improve upon.
Even though you might be in opposition at some point, there is often an opportunity to enjoy a good relationship with rival business owners, allowing you to gain valuable tips and avoid some potential mistakes.
By studying the competition and talking to them about their experiences it could help you to hit the ground running when you open your restaurant.
If you have these and other critical points on your checklist it should prove beneficial to your prospects for business success.