Overlooked Areas When Starting a Restaurant
So why is the restaurant down the street always packed and booming with business when yours rarely sees 5 tables of guests per night? Many restaurateurs seem to overlook some important factors that may make or break their restaurant. In the early planning stages it would be advisable to create yourself a checklist for opening a restaurant.
Identifying your target customer is one of the most important areas that many overlook. When asked who their target customer is many will say “everyone” .
However as they say “you can’t please everyone”. You should identify your customer type and that will help you determine more factors to come such as location and type of restaurant. Target customers could be families, older retired persons, young professionals, tourists, even children. These questions must be answered using market research for you to enjoy success.
When identifying your target guest you must take your restaurants location into consideration. You need to determine what type of area you’re located in and use those demographics as a selling point.
Market research should begin at your local library and finding local business information, as well as published articles in magazines, journals and newspapers. Find out what your community likes to eat and what things they are looking for in a restaurant. Visiting other local restaurants is also an important for market research. See what these restaurants are doing to bring in the customers. And see where they are lacking, and opportunities to capitalize on.
Talk to people and not your friends and family – get a wider range of influence. Your friends and family will often have similar ideals. Make a list of questions to ask and when you meet people ask them those same questions. Record their answers and over time you will have solid research that will be less likely to be skewed.
Location, Location, Location
Location is extremely important to the success of a restaurant. And access to your restaurant is also very important. Yes is needs to be visible to passing automobile and foot traffic. But the customer needs to be able to access the business quickly and easily. If they are driving on the highway and do not see you restaurant until they are at the exit to access, are they really going to turn around at the next exit and return.
And at that same location are there 5 restaurants between yours and the closets neighborhood? You better think of how you are going to draw people to past those 5 other restaurants and get them to make the extra effort to come to you.
Competition Is Good But …
We all know that competition is good for the consumer. But too much competition is not good for you. Evaluate your surroundings to ensure there are not too many similar concepts in the area. For example if you are opening a pizza shop make sure there are not three other pizza shops right down the street.
Be Unique – Have A Unique Selling Proposition
Having a concept for your restaurant is something that is also overlooked. Make sure your concept is unique to your area. Is it an “all you can eat buffet”, “sports themed” featuring local teams including professional, down to high school, or is it “open 24 hours”. These are all unique selling features.
Give customers the WOW factor. Make your guests feel welcome and at home, while providing them with excellent customer service and a great meal.
Don’t Run Out Of Cash
Plan for the worst of expect the best. You should plan on needing $100,000 – $150,000 capital when starting up your restaurant. Have an error free business plan presented to your bank and loan officer. This will ensure you can pay your employees, pay for food and beverage costs and have money for bills and utilities before you start to see a profit coming in.
When starting up a restaurant it is always important to have these overlooked areas double checked. By making sure your restaurant is at its optimal potential will help your profit and your guests will have the experience you’ve been dreaming of.
At Workplace Wizards we understand you are excited about opening your own business and we want to see you succeed. We would like to help you succeed. We would recommend our forms and checklists for starting a restaurant. But whether you take a look at them or not, planning and preparation can help alleviate a lot of future stress for you and your family and solidify your long term success.