If you want to be a restaurant owner without experience, don’t worry; it can be done! People will always need to eat, and yes, there’s the option of having a home-cooked meal. However, every once in a while, there’ll be a need to break the monotony. With proper strategizing and planning, you’ll overcome all uncertainties. It’s also a bonus if you work with someone who knows more than you do about the industry. The following is a guide you can use to help you in your journey toward opening a restaurant with no experience.
Choose The Type of Restaurant You Wish to Set Up
Choosing a concept and type of restaurant should be your first step towards opening a restaurant with no experience. If this is a dream you have had for a long time, you probably have had many wild ideas about how you’ll visualize your restaurant. However, when it’s time to bring your dream to fruition, you must be intentional about the ideas you want to bring to life. Important questions to consider at this stage include; what type of restaurant you want to open? What style of service will you be offering? And what cuisine do you want to specialize in?
How you choose to brand your restaurant is important in ensuring you stand out from the rest of the competition; let’s face it, there are many players in the industry, and it’s not going to be a walk in the park. Ultimately, creating a brand is about how you want your clients to feel when they walk into your restaurant. Have a clear vision and mission statement reflected across all platforms. A business’s most critical aspect is having a unique brand. Think about it: how often have you passed up going to a small café with excellent coffee and instead gone to one whose brand is more recognizable?
Create Your Menu
Now that you have already decided on the cuisine you want to specialize in, the second step in your journey towards opening a restaurant with no experience is deciding what items you want to feature in your menu. As much as it’s tempting to include many items in your menu, take a step back and carefully think through it. Your menu items ultimately determine the skills your employees should possess, the horde of hungry clients you’ll attract, and the equipment you’ll need; be organized about this, and don’t rush the process. Some important decisions you’ll need to make when developing your menu include;
Your menu, of course: You may have many items your staff is struggling to cook well or a few that your staff can deliver perfectly. Which of the two restaurants would you prefer to run? However, many can be relative. According to Gregg Rapp, a menu engineer, guests may be overwhelmed when choosing an item if you have more than seven items on your menu. So, let’s go with seven as the magic number.
Menu pricing: it’s important to remember the business side of your journey towards opening a restaurant with no experience; ultimately, you’re looking to make a profit. It’s important to reasonably price each item on your menu to make a profit, but not so high that you turn away prospective clients. How you price your menu items depends on the location of your restaurant, your target market, and the restaurant’s theme.
Have a Business Plan
It’s important to have a business plan for your restaurant, as with any other business. One thing you should consider when opening a restaurant with no experience is that it’s not cheap, and only a few restaurant owners can fully finance themselves. According to Tosttab, you can spend 175,000 to over 700,000 dollars when opening a restaurant; of course, the amount may vary depending on whether you own the restaurant building or rent, the furniture, equipment, and location.
If you don’t have enough savings to facilitate the opening of your restaurant, you may need to seek financial assistance. The amount you need should include licenses, building repairs, and equipment. Your business plan is a great tool for securing funds from potential investors or other money-lending facilities, as the plan seeks to demonstrate that the business will succeed. A typical restaurant business plan should include; an executive summary, concept, competitor analysis, company overview, ownership structure, staff needs, marketing strategies, and an estimated financial summary.
Choose A Location
The location of your restaurant is essential when opening a restaurant with no experience. It’s a process that requires sober thinking and planning as it could potentially affect the success of the restaurant business. Therefore, the first and most important thing to do is to do market research; this includes carefully analyzing potential customers and competition within your location of choice. It’s equally important to study the demographic to try and get a feel of the potential clients’ dining habits and preferences. For example, if an area is inhabited mainly by students and young adults trying to find their bearing, setting up a high-end restaurant in such a place won’t be a good idea.
The second thing to consider is your budget; according to the Legacy POS to Cloud Platform, the amount you spend on a location should not exceed ten percent of your revenues. Therefore, spending a fortune on a site makes no sense when you could get a different location at a fraction of the price. Your budget will also affect your decision to either buy or lease a restaurant location. Buying a restaurant will cost you more; getting the funds to buy the location may be difficult, especially when opening a restaurant with no experience. Therefore, it may be wiser to start your restaurant business by first leasing the location and then working your way up to buying it.
Repair Your Parking Lot and Get Your Roof Inspected
By leasing a restaurant location, you can invest more capital in transforming your new location. If, for example, the property you have decided to rent is a former residential house, a lot of renovation is needed to transform the space into a functioning restaurant. You may first hire a local sealcoating service and commercial roofers to ensure the pavements leading to the space and the roof are in good condition. If the parking lot is dilapidated or needs renovation, renovate.
Give Your Windows a Makeover and Keep Your Space Clean
You could also hire commercial window cleaners to ensure all windows in your restaurant are clean. Also, consider installing commercial blinds where necessary. You want your restaurant to be spotlessly clean, as potential customers detest visiting dirty public spaces.
Another vital step before you open your restaurant is to ensure you’ve all the necessary permits to prove that your restaurant complies with the state’s laws. According to Theresa Navarra, you need about 16 permits to open a restaurant in the United States. Applying for these licenses can be an exhausting process. You, therefore, need to brace yourself and be patient as all of the licenses are important; failure to have all the right paperwork could lead to fines and penalties. Examples of licenses and permits you may apply for include; a food license, business license, liquor license, sign permit, sales tax license, and resale permit.
Design Your Layout With Outdoor Seating In Mind
As you’re getting your permits and licenses in order, don’t forget to get any necessary construction permits; you might need to do construction on your new property when transforming your space to align with your theme. Ensure the process of opening a restaurant with no experience does not come to a halt due to failure to abide by the laws of the land.
Designing your restaurant will include transforming the front and the back of your house spaces; for example, you may opt to have a deck at the front to allow for more sitting spaces. This requires hiring qualified deck builders to help bring your vision to life; ensure they install awnings to make the space more functional regardless of the weather.
Install New HVAC and Upgrade Your Door
You may also consult with different door companies to get their insight on whether or not you’ll need to change the doors that came with the property. A few other companies you may need to contract include heating companies and landscaping companies.
You already have your restaurant design in mind. However, you may need to hire an expert to help you decide what works for your space. Designing the restaurant layout is easier said than done; several factors include the ambiance and décor, furniture, cleanliness, service, and seating capacity. You’ve invested a lot of money in your restaurant business to make it look shady; work with a professional.
Find The Right Equipment and Suppliers
At this stage, you already have your menu ready. Therefore, you know the equipment you’ll need in your restaurant. According to Sam Tell Companies, regardless of the type of restaurant, you can expect to spend between 40,000 to 200,000 dollars. This amount could vary depending on various factors. For example, if you buy new equipment, you can expect to spend significantly more than leasing it.
Fix Up Your Kitchen
If you’re on a tight budget, leasing equipment is a reasonable option; for example, how about leasing a refrigerator big enough to accommodate all the refrigeration needs of your restaurant? Hire a professional to assess the fridge for damage and schedule a true refrigerator repair where necessary. Ensure all cutlery is in pristine condition; take your butcher knives to professional knife sharpening companies to have them sharpened.
You’ll also need to scour the market for suppliers with the best fresh produce. Choosing the right supplier to work with can be daunting as the market is flooded with too many. However, ask for recommendations from other industry professionals, test the supplies beforehand, and visit the supplier’s warehouse to examine the hygiene status. How fast a supplier can deliver is another vital factor to consider when choosing a supplier.
Hire The Right Staff
The hiring stage of opening a restaurant with no experience is essential. This is where you start embedding your desired work ethic and culture. Kick off the process by hiring the management team, who start working immediately to help with the hiring process. Come up with a plan that’ll encourage a high employee retention rate. For example, you can organize employee training programs and give employees discounts and incentives. Make a list of the positions you have at your restaurant, then decide how many employees you’ll need considering the number of shifts you’ll have.
Advertise Your Restaurant
Just one more step, and you’ll be open for business. Spread the word about the newest restaurant in town, including all relevant information, such as the location and cuisine. Advertising will create excitement, and the community will be eager to try out the new place. One main tool you can use to advertise your business is social media. Create challenges and campaigns to get people talking about your business. Plaster the entire community with flyers advertising your business to reach those without an online presence. Once you’ve gotten enough people psyched, your next step is;
Host a Soft Opening
This is an important step when opening a restaurant with no experience. It serves as a practice run to help you prepare for the grand opening. Typically, a restaurant owner invites a limited number of people to dine. The goal is to identify and address areas of concern before the grand opening. The diners may include friends, staff, family, and community members.
Opening a restaurant without experience isn’t a walk in the park, leave alone doing it as a novice. Going into this industry without experience can easily scare anyone. But if you’ve got the passion and the budget for it, you can easily pull it off, but you must be willing to take risks.
You’ll be entering the shark-infested waters of what Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne call the red ocean in their classic Blue Ocean Strategy classic. Nonetheless, your ability to venture into areas that others in the industry aren’t willing to step into helps create a strong brand for your business, and soon your business will establish a niche for itself, far away from marauding sharks. Go for it!