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10 things to consider before setting up a restaurant

Thinking of opening up a restaurant but not sure how to go about setting up a family business? Grab a pen and paper, and get ready to learn some handy tips!

Location

Where your restaurant is located is going to tell you what clients you’ll have. Is it near a holiday resort, a top hotel, or maybe in a residential area? Be aware that the type of area you’re in will affect the clientele you’ll attract.

For example, if you’re setting up a restaurant with the intention of sharing the best recipes you found during your round the world trip, then perhaps locating your restaurant near a university would be a great idea!

However, if you’re opening up a restaurant specialising in fast food, try considering somewhere with a huge number of people passing by every day: for example, tourist attractions, cinemas or parks. Remember that customer satisfaction is key to running a successful business, so try to get ahead early by thinking about what people in that area would be wishing they could eat!

Competition

Who your competition will be is also going to be very important to the future of your restaurant. Make sure to take a look around different areas and check out what restaurants are already open there.

If you have a specific theme or idea for your restaurant, make sure you’re the first one around to show it off! If there are only fine dining restaurants in the area, perhaps there is room for a cafe or fast-food restaurant. Invest a little time and do your research into what other restaurants are offering locally, and your business will be much more likely to succeed!

Client needs

So now that you’ve settled on where you want your restaurant to be, how do you choose which building you would like to rent? Well, first consider how busy you’re expecting to be.

Visit other restaurants in the area and see how many customers are dining there on Friday evenings, or Monday lunchtimes. What kind of customer service are they giving? Take into account that, depending on whether you're expecting 20 or 400 customers a day, you will need a differently sized restaurant.

Remember that to satisfy customers you will need to provide bathroom facilities and ample room for tables and chairs.

Type of restaurant

What type of restaurant are you looking to open? This question might seem hard at first, but ask yourself three candid questions:

  1. What food will the restaurant be serving?
  2. How quickly can you turn over the food?
  3. What kind of clients are you expecting to visit?
With answers to these three questions, you can get better idea of whether you’re looking to open a fast food restaurant, a traditional restaurant, a family restaurant or even a speciality restaurant.

Try to be honest with yourself and write down the answers to these questions; then, you can start thinking about your next steps.

The property

Consider whether the building has windows which the customers will be able to see through, as it will make the restaurant seem larger. Are you planning on having male and female bathrooms located separately, or together? Are there facilities for disabled people? Where can customers wash their hands? Taking these things into account will leave all your future customers even more satisfied!

Kitchen equipment

The great news is that by now you may already know what type of restaurant you’ll be opening, and you have an estimate of how busy your staff will be. You can then start thinking of what else you actually need. Be sure to consider if the kitchen will be large enough for you to fit everything you need in, and make sure you equip cupboards with the right cleaning products that fit your needs. You can try and save yourself some time choosing (and hopefully save some money too) and experimenting with other dishwashing products, and start using a trusted dishwashing liquid.

We recommend using Fairy from the start because it effectively cuts through grease on plates, pots, pans and other utensils. Not only will it help you clean plates for your customers, but it can also help you save valuable time. For your daily washing up needs, you can also mix Fairy dishwashing liquid with water in a bowl or sink and use the solution to wash your dishes, but ensure to use it up within the day and do not leave it overnight for hygiene reasons. Read our article if you would like more tips on how to equip your kitchen

Below is a list of all the items you need to consider before equipping your kitchen:

  • Fridge - Large or small?
  • Freezer - Walk-in, upright or industrial?
  • Oven and Grill - Gas or electric?
  • Hob - (Gas or electric?)
  • Dishwasher
  • Sink
  • Pots and pans
  • Whisks, blenders, mixers
  • Cooking spoons, spatulas
  • Storage cupboards
  • Cutlery
  • Crockery
  • Cups and Mugs
  • Glasses
  • Chopping boards

Hiring great staff

Perhaps you already have someone in mind for head chef; if so, great! But if not, after ensuring their cooking meets your new restaurant’s standards, try to test what attributes the person has. For example, is he/she is a good leader?

If you will be hiring multiple staff members, would your chef treat staff well as a manager in the kitchen? Are they resourceful? If the supplier had not delivered an essential ingredient for their recipe, would they give up and go home, or would they try to figure out another solution? Make sure you take your recruitment process seriously and give thorough interviews. As a new business owner, remember, it is your job to make good decisions, and this can start with hiring good staff!

Money for promoting

Advertising will be a key part of opening your new restaurant, so we recommend you set aside some of your budget for it.

Now that you know what kind of restaurant you want to open up, start thinking about where you want to advertise. If your clients are typically families, try advertising on a family-orientated local website or in a newspaper. If you’re thinking under 30s will be dining there, consider investing in paid promotion on social media.

Inventive menu

Make sure you leave space for the chef to give his own opinions as well as your own. Try making a list of five main dishes you would like to have served to your clients. Do they have similar ingredients? If so, great! That’s an easy way to make ordering from suppliers easier and will save you money by buying in bulk and managing only a few items for inventory.

Business plan

Where do you want your business to be a month after opening day? How about a year? Set yourself clear goals in your business plan so that you always have something to aim for. Read our article on creating a successful business plan for a great way to start your restaurant career!

These ten considerations are some examples you can use to kick-start running a successful restaurant. You can also read some of our other articles to gain more valuable tips on how to start a small business or look at other credible resources online.

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