If you’re thinking about opening your own restaurant, you’ve probably heard the statistic that 90% of restaurants fail in their first year. What might be an encouragement to learn, however, is that that’s not actually true. The information to back that statistic up isn’t out there, and it looks like only 26% of restaurants fail in the first year, although the following two years can also be rocky. Still, if you’re thinking of starting a restaurant business, you want to be prepared. Here are some roadmaps to success.
Starting a restaurant comes with many challenges, and you don’t want any to take you by surprise. In order to make this decision, you’ll want to know all of the risks you may be heading into. Some things to consider are the time a restaurant takes–it’s a real job, with heavy hours, even if you’re not on staff. Family and friends might not be the best choices for staff, since if tension runs high, you can’t turn to them for support. You’re all wrapped up in it together. You also can’t assume that customers will come in on their own. Just because you’re there, with doors open, doesn’t mean people will arrive. You’ll likely have to draw them in.
Make financially smart decisions
Most restaurants fail because of poor financial choices. Whenever possible, save money. Go local for your kitchen appliances and furniture with companies like Olum’s, and go with used furniture when you can. Avoid high rent. Have money ready for the first 16 months. Promote effectively. And, choose the right location. Location could be everything–your restaurant has to match your clientele. If you make the right financial decisions from the start then your business is more likely to stand the test of time and last a long time. If you don’t have the money to hand to start your business right away then you may need to apply for a business loan. Make sure you are aware of the small print and requirements of loans, some ask that you sign up and have life insurance for loans. This is so there is some collateral in place if the worst was to happen before you have paid off the loan.
Please your clientele
That launches straight into our next topic, which is about pleasing your customers. It’s important to know the kind of people in your area. If you’re an indie Thai place, you’ll likely do well near a college campus. If you’re a milkshake and burger joint, you’ll likely do well by the beach. Pick a theme for your restaurant and make sure it vibes with the locals. If you’re in a city, small considerations like Green Safe Products, eco-friendly disposable products, will almost certainly get you favor and approval.
Last but not least, have incredible food. People will enjoy your decor. The quality of the service will play a big role in their satisfaction… but ultimately, people will come back for your food. If your menu selection or quality is unmemorable, you may have a harder time creating returning customers. Stick to items you can prepare fresh, without wasting ingredients, like a mac and cheese place with common ingredients in every dish. Make your menu smaller if you need to. If you can find or create recipes that wow, you’ll get the best kind of advertising possible: customers recommending your restaurant to their family and friends.