Top 15 tips about How to Open a Restaurant
The below to-do list gives you an idea about the things you must do before you open the door for your first customer.
- Restaurant Location: It is a crucial factor for the success of restaurant business but not mandatory, because location is NOT a competitive advantage any more for restaurant business unlike other shops and stores. But choosing a location with higher footfalls always helps.
- Define Your Market Target: The most important aspect of restaurant business. There are more than 20,000 restaurants in London alone (TripAdvisor), hence the competition is huge. Therefore, it is important to choose a niche market, create a theme around it and serve to the chosen market. You shouldn’t be just like a next-door curry house or a takeaway shop.
- Map Out the Opening Plan: This include logo designing & branding, pre-opening marketing campaigns, opening date, hiring head chef, menu planning, interior designing, website designing, EPOS systems, marketing materials designing & printing and staffing.
- Logo, Branding, Menu & Website: Start working on the logo concept, branding, menu & website designing. Your logo and branding must reflect your restaurant theme and must be appealing to your target market. If possible hire an integrated restaurant marketing agency who can help you through the entire process.
- Pre-Opening Campaigns: Get on social media ASAP. Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Create profile on each one of them and run paid campaigns targeting your local area and let people know you are opening soon. Design and print “WE ARE OPENING SOON” banners along with logo and contact details and place it outside.
- Stocks & Equipment: By now you must know what stocks you might require and contact the relevant suppliers and get all the required equipment in place.
- Register in Local Council and Get all the Required Permits: UK law states that if you are starting a food business you must register it to the local council. Do that, it just takes few minutes to fill up a form. Follow this link to get more information regarding permits and registrations. (https://www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/startingup).
- List Your Business on Google & TripAdvisor: It requires valid landline number to do so, if not there are few other alternatives. It is not mandatory but getting listed will help you in long term marketing objectives.
- EPOS (Restaurant Point of Sale): There are many restaurants still operating without point of sale system, but having a restaurant EPOS is helpful. Hand written bills and using old methods to calculate sales is simply a waste of time and effort.
- Printing Menu & Marketing Materials: Either find a local printing company or simply Google them. You will find many. If you hire an agency ask them, they could refer you some of the reliable printing companies. Get the menu, visiting card, posters etc. printed.
- Staffing: Start advertising about job opening as soon as you get the keys for the restaurant. You can use a recruitment agency, post ads on Gumtree, Facebook, Twitter, window poster and can also let your family and friends know that you are hiring.
- Soft Opening: This is the day when you invite your family and friends and make them taste your food and an opportunity to find and rectify any loopholes. It is simply a practice.
- Grand Opening: This is it, the most important day of your restaurant business. Make sure you promote as much as you can about the grand opening day. Put an offer for the day. Invite local VIPs, influencers, food critics, bloggers and media people.
- Promote, Promote & Promote: Once you open the door to public, you might see a good flow of customers for few weeks or may be months sometimes. But DO NOT STOP PROMOTING. Sometimes people just love to try newly opened restaurants. Even if you see a good flow create some offers like “Opening Week Offer” etc. Distribute leaflets locally at least for minimum 3 months, use Social Media, SEO, collect Email & Phone database and keep on promoting.
- Great Food, Great Environment & Amazing Service: All the above points will be not being worth and your time and investment will be drained out if you do not serve delicious food in a great atmosphere with passionate staff members.