Running a popular restaurant is a dream for many people. Achieving this goal requires good planning, hard work and a large amount of research. It is not something you can just jump into because you have culinary training. Here are five insider tips about how to open a successful restaurant.
Focus On Research before Committing To Anything
Over 30 percent of new restaurants close after a year. Part of this is because the owners did not do extensive research. Spend time researching every aspect of your venture. Look at the local competition. See what the demographics of the area are like. Research what foods are popular, what foods are missing and what restaurants have failed in the past. Get to know the local culture really well. You want to look for a niche that you can easily fill without much competition.
Choose a Location That Suits Your Restaurant Specifically
Location can make or break a restaurant. Choose a location that suits your restaurant specifically. Do not pick a spot just because it happens to be busy or near a mall. Research the neighborhood, previous restaurants in the area and the current crop of businesses. Find a spot where your restaurant will fit in and be attractive to residents. Additionally, find a space where you can create a truly functional kitchen with space to work.
Hire an Experienced and Competent Staff Early
Your staff is going to be key to the success of your restaurant from the moment you open. There are 1.1 million restaurant cooks working today. Carefully assess each applicant and choose only people who are experienced and dedicated. You need knowledgeable cooks and chefs. Your servers should be friendly, communicative and customer-oriented. Have at least one or two people with business experience to help run registers and coordinate things when the restaurant is open. Do not ever rely on friends or family without restaurant experience.
Create an Exceptional Customer Experience
Create an exceptional customer experience when designing your restaurant and policies. Try to make everything special and unique from the moment people walk in the door. Add value to the experience with small perks for each table. Do not hold back on quality furniture, lighting and decor. Brand the experience and train servers to express that message through actions. This will contribute greatly to your success as a restaurateur.
Start Marketing Weeks before Opening
A final tip is to start marketing weeks before opening. You want to create buzz and excitement around four weeks ahead of your opening date. Invest in this strategy. Take out local ads in papers. Use localized online advertising. Put up signs around the neighborhood. Contact local news organizations to see if you can get some earned media. You must do this in order to attract large crowds the first days you are open.