Successfully opening a restaurant is a common dream in the entrepreneurial sector, but it’s also one of the most stressful endeavors one can pursue. One in three restaurants close before their third birthday, and the continuing competition makes it impossible to ever take a breath.
This endeavor is demanding and will continue to push you, but the profits and success can be more than worth the effort.
- A Complex Menu
Know what you do, and do it well. It really is that simple, and most applicable when creating your restaurant’s menu. One of the worst mistakes a new restaurant can make is creating a menu that’s far too complex and complicated. More isn’t always better. Guests don’t want to spend half an hour reading through your menu offerings. In general, the more varied your menu, the more your plates suffer. Why? Your chef can’t focus and practice what he or she does best. You always must buy a larger amount of ingredients, which often means ingredient quality decreases due to cost concerns. Focus on your core strengths and give your chefs the chance to hone their craft in a specific area. This will result in a picture perfect dish each and every time, and lead to happier customers.
- Forgoing a Liquor License
It can be difficult and expensive to procure a liquor license, but the investment is worth the payoff nine times out of 10. Alcohol sales make up a significant portion of restaurant revenue, and ensuring you are equipped to satisfy customer desires is key. It’s best to pursue a liquor license that allows you to sell liquor, wine, and beer to best handle customer wants. These can be difficult to come by. Most states and counties limit the amount of licenses available in a particular area, so generally you’ll need to pursue a permit from a private seller. This means prices can skyrocket, although there are a variety of licenses available. Type 20 licenses are generally the least expensive, while Type 47 licenses can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Do your research and decide which permit suits your business.
- Undertraining Your Staff
Few things are as important in restaurant success as customer service. Cutting corners during staff training is bound to see waiters underperforming and guests unimpressed with their experience at your establishment. When you do begin hiring staff, make sure they’re thoroughly vetted. Hire individuals that have proven experience in their position. For example, as you’re starting out, you need to find as much cumulative experience as possible. Make sure you’re clear about your expectations from the very beginning, and hold regular training sessions so that new hires down the line are held to the same standard.
- Bad Marketing
Word of mouth doesn’t cut it in this highly competitive field, and you’ll have to invest time and money into restaurant marketing tactics. In any given city there are numerous restaurants vying for the attention of searching patrons, and if you want to stand out, you need to make sure customers know about you. If you’ve never dealt with marketing strategies before and are unsure where to start, it’s a good idea to consider hiring a restaurant marketing company. Also be sure to avoid falling into the mistake of advertising early. You’re bound to run into your fair share of snafus and problems within the first few weeks. Before shouting to the world that you’re open and ready for business, give yourself a few weeks as a sort of trial. This will help you iron out any wrinkles in the process before critics start pouring in. It will also help your wait staff become acclimated to the pressures of the restaurant, and make sure you’re all on the same page before every table is filled.
Running a successful restaurant requires plenty of hard work and dedication. Consider the ways you can best position your restaurant idea for profitability before getting started and keep these tips in mind.