The word “restaurant” brings images of steaming pans and waiters in short sleeves. In the back of your mind, you probably think a restaurant must be loud and filled with smoke and grease. But most people don’t own a restaurant because they don’t know how to start a business and get one off the ground. What steps are needed to open a successful restaurant?
Restaurants have different regulations in different countries, which type is best for a specific kind of food, and even how old you must be to own one. So before panicking, read on for more information about the steps to take to open a successful restaurant.
Get a Food Service License
You’ll need a license if you plan to serve meals to paying customers. In many countries, including the U.S., serving food to adults without a license is a crime.
To avoid legal fines, get a food service license in advance. Thankfully, applying for a food service permit is easy. The only requirement is completing a food service license application and paying a fee.
In some countries, you only need to apply once and then attend regular meetings to receive your license. Check the requirements in your country and see if you can obtain a food service license.
You may be able to get an exception for places like schools and hospitals. If so, speak to your local licensing office and ask if you can get a pass for these places.
Choose a Restaurant Concept and Brand
You can’t open a restaurant without a concept and brand identity. You won’t be able to sell just one type of food, so you’ll have to choose various foods that people in your region will enjoy. You’ll want to pick a name that relates to your location and offers an exciting spin on the type of food you’ll serve.
Create a Menu
A menu must include starters, mains, and dessert options, but it should also include a beverage section for options such as coffee, soft drinks, beer, and wine. Start with basics and work your way up to more complex dishes.
In the beginning, you may not be able to serve many dishes due to time and staffing constraints. For example, the minimum capacity of a restaurant is 20 people, but you may only have 8 people in attendance for dinner.
In this case, it’s best to keep your starters simple and your mains relatively straightforward. As you open your restaurant, you’ll learn which dishes are popular with your community and which ones you should offer more frequently.
A business plan is necessary because restaurant ownership is very different from owning a convenience store or corner store. You’ll need to plan out everything from the start, including when you’ll start serving food, how much money you’ll have at the start, and how long you’ll keep the restaurant open.
You’ll also want to research your competitors to see what kind of business they’re in, including their menu, hours, and products. Make sure to note down any details that you think could help you in the long run, such as the number of tables you want to seat, how much you want to charge per person, and where you want to market your restaurant.
This could be a bank loan or a venture capital investment, but first, you’ll need to apply for a loan. It’s important to note that even though you’ll need to apply for a loan, banks are generally tolerant of startups and will often give you a lower interest rate than a traditional loan. If you’re planning on using a bank loan, see if they’ll partner with you and provide you with a better interest rate.
Design Your Layout and Space
There are a few layout suggestions. First, keep the storefront as open as possible. If you’re planning on serving food, keep the façade open so people can see you.
If you want to keep your restaurant open during the day, you’ll need to pick a location that offers protection from the sun. Look for spaces around 8–10 feet above ground level.
Steps to Open a Successful Restaurant
There are many ways to make your restaurant stand out in a sea of similar businesses. By carefully crafting the look and feel of your restaurant, you can create a unique brand that will draw customers in.