To 2017 and Beyond! Get Your Restaurant Off To The Perfect Start
Owning a restaurant can be one of the most rewarding and lucrative small businesses niches — if the business is designed to stand the test of time. The food service industry is strong because, in our culture, food is an experience. We do not simply go out to eat because we are hungry. People go to restaurants because they want to experience their meal. They want to share a meal with friends or family in an environment different from their day to day lives.
It is important to consider these expectations when designing your business because a restaurant that can combine a well-rounded menu with an inviting decor scheme and a unique atmosphere is one that is definitely going to thrive for years to come.
“The Right Stuff”
An effective, efficient and functional kitchen starts with having the right equipment. It is important that when budgeting for your business to open that you allot a decent amount of funds for purchasing the necessary equipment. Good quality, professional-grade commercial kitchen supplies are going to give you the advantage you need to really get your restaurant off the ground. For example, finding a quality POS system will prove essential, rather than a normal cash register. Professional equipment is more efficient, durable and tends to last longer than small appliances bought for the home. Also, commercial kitchen supplies and equipment often comes with quality and repair warranties – which will save you a ton of money on replacing equipment if something were to happen.
A Customer-Friendly Menu
A restaurant’s menu is one of the most important aspects of the business. The food selection and quality are what draws people in – and often what brings them back. When designing your menu -you must first decide what type of overall theme you intend for your restaurant to have. Will you be serving classic Americana dishes? Do you intend to serve only Italian food? Whatever the focus of your menu – make sure it’s not something already overdone in the area which you are opening.
Once you have your restaurant’s menu niche – it’s time to plan your dishes. You are going to want to plan out a thoughtful well-rounded menu that focuses on your niche but offers options for everyone. No matter how specialized or unique your food – be sure to offer options that are kid-and-picky-eater-friendly. Burgers, Fries, Salads, Soups, Chicken. These are popular choices for people who do not like to try new things and there’s one in every crowd. Remember – if you can’t cater to the entire party — they will go somewhere that can.
Additionally – when planning your menu – make sure that your signature dishes aren’t so complicated or exotic from your niche that they turn people off. Say you opened up a sports bar/restaurant for example. Nearly all of these facilities serve chicken wings of some variety. It would be perfectly acceptable to change things up and offer a twisted Asian chicken wing with Asian-inspired seasonings and sauce. It’s new, it’s different – but at its core, it’s still a chicken wing and still appropriate for the environment. On the other end, adding several cabbage and noodle based Asian dishes to the menu would probably catch people off guard and turn them off because that’s not what they are looking for. Quality, Innovation, and variety that fits your niche — those are the most important factors to focus on when planning a menu.
Atmosphere and Decor
Another important aspect of designing a successful restaurant business is the decor and atmosphere of the dining area. Traditionally – some of America’s favorite chain restaurants tend to create their dining atmosphere based on the type of restaurant they are. Chili’s, for example, features Southwest Americana decor while Outback displays Australian themed decor. That works for a lot of restaurants – but it’s not entirely necessary. The main points you want to focus on are the comfort of your guests and creating a unique experience for them.
The type of seating you offer can very heavily affect the customer experience. Regardless of the food niche, you are in – remember that one of the main reasons that people go out to eat is to spend time together or to commemorate special occasions. Having said that – you may want to consider designing dining setups that facilitate a comfortable, inviting social experience. Plush comfortable chairs, rounded booths and intimate table designs are great ways to create a social-centric experience that draws your patrons in and makes them feel at home.
Marketing, it’s a Must!
No matter how well designed and successful your restaurant is – if you are not taking advantage of social media and marketing – your business is missing out on a lot of potential business. Most people you come in contact with utilize social media every day for both personal and business use. These outlets are a valuable resource for your business and a great way to connect with your regular and future potential customers. Create profile pages on social sites for your restaurant and update these pages regularly with new information, special deals, events and throw in a few contests that involve sharing the posts and tagging friends to the page. Creating repeat customers means you have to get them in the door for their first meal — even if that means offering a freebie now and again.
If you are going to invest your time, resources and funds into starting a successful restaurant, it is important to take steps to help ensure that this business you create is going to flourish and be able to stand up against its competitors in the market. Quality supplies, a well-planned, well-rounded menu, a welcoming atmosphere and decor in addition to the use of valuable social media marketing are just a few of the key points to visit during the planning stages of launching your business – but they are certainly the most important.