Restaurant tables and chairs

The Complete Guide to Keeping a Restaurant Afloat

It’s no secret that the restaurant industry is a tricky one to get into. A lot of businesses like this open, run for a year or two, and eventually crash under the weight of their own work, with very few making it past the two year mark. Of course, there are loads of professionals out there which can help with this. When you’re first starting out, though, it makes a lot of sense to do the learning for yourself. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the steps which you’ll need to take if you’re going to run a successful restaurant.


Initial Planning & Research

The first part of this journey is going to involve some planning and research. Before you can start a business, it’s crucial that you have a good idea of the competitors you’ll be facing. It wouldn’t make sense to open a burger joint right next to another one, as you’d always have to battle for customers, and this would hurt both companies. If you can find a similar company which is more than a ten minute walk away, though, you can use them to gauge how successful your ideas might be.

Along with researching the market you’ll be joining, it also makes sense to put some time into making a business plan for your restaurant. You will need to have an idea of how many customers you need each week to make enough money, along with having a direction to grow in, and this is just about impossible without putting into the form of a plan. You can find loads of guides which will teach you about this work. Sites like can be great for those starting out in the restaurant business, as they will give you an idea of the work you’ll have to do to find success.


Securing Funding

Once you have a plan in mind, it will be time to start figuring out how much this is all going to cost, and, more importantly, where the money will come from. Opening a restaurant won’t be cheap, though you may have to do some local research to figure out how much other businesses have had to spend. You can find some common funding sources below.

Your Savings: If you have enough money saved up to be able to start something like this yourself, it will be well worth going down this route. Without having to deal with the burden of debt or sharing equity when you start out will give you a good head start.

Investors: For those without enough saved up, the next best option will be finding an investor. While this will mean that you will lose a portion of the business, you will also benefit from having someone with experience to work with. You should choose an investor who has worked in the food industry in the past.

Loans: Borrowing money isn’t always a good idea, but starting your business with a loan can often be a great way to launch it into success. You will have monthly repayments to make, but this will only add to the pressure to succeed, and some people are able to thrive in this environment.


Designing A Restaurant

With some money in your pocket, it will be time to start designing your restaurant. This will start with some branding, with colours and your logo reflecting the type of food you intend to serve. A Spanish restaurant, for example, will often be decorated with yellow and red, as these colours are commonly associated with the place. Of course, though, there is more to restaurant design than simply picking some colours.

The Location: Choosing a good location for your restaurant is essential. You need to be in a place which will attract the type of customers you want to serve, along with being free from too much competition. This can be a hard thing to find, and you will need to do loads of research before you settle on your location.

The Decor: Once you have a building, it will be time to start focusing on the decor on the inside. This is a big job, and there are a lot of companies out there which specialise in making it easier for business owners, though they are usually quite pricey. You need to keep your brand in mind while approaching this.


Designing A Menu

Designing a menu is a challenging process, and this is an area which causes a lot of despair for restaurants around the world. The single most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t change your menu once customers have started eating from it. You can add options or take them away, but you should avoid refreshing the whole thing, or regular customers will struggle to know what they are in for when they arrive for each meal.

Along with creating a menu which doesn’t change, you will also need to make sure that each of the dishes you choose will be available all the time. If you can’t source certain types of food for half of the year, it will be crucial that you’ve planned your menus for this. Most restaurants will rely heavily on their head chef to help them with this process. This will be covered in the next step, and is a route worth considering if you don’t have any menu design experience.


Finding A Team

No one can run a whole restaurant by themselves, even when it’s quiet. Even just opening for the day can take a tremendous amount of effort, and you’re going to have a range of areas which need to be covered. This means that you’ll need table staff, bartenders, and chefs, at the very least, and may find that you have room for others to join your business. Finding professionals like this may take some time, and it’s usually best to use social media to get it done for free.


A Trial By Fire

It will take a little bit of time to get all of the finishing touches done on your restaurant, and you can use this time to get your team ready to work. Before you open properly, though, it will be worth doing a test opening, giving everyone the chance to settle into their roles without a huge amount of pressure. This sort of event can be for family and friends only, though you shouldn’t charge anyone for the food they eat. Going through this will highlight any weaknesses you team might have from the very beginning.


Marketing Your Restaurant

Finally, as the last area to consider, it’s time to think about how you’re going to market the place once you’re ready for customers. Social media is one of the best places for this, providing you with a platform which can open the doors to loads of different markets, and it doesn’t cost anything to use it. Along with social media, it can also be a good idea to get yourself onto other services. Most cities and towns have their own food discount and delivery apps, and these can be great for restaurants which haven’t established themselves yet.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to get started on your restaurant. This sort of business is never easy to get started with, and a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that they know best, even if they haven’t done anything like this before. It’s worth listening to the people around you, though, as you can never be sure which ideas will strike gold, and it doesn’t matter where they’ve come from.

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