How to Successfully Open a Restaurant

Thinking about opening up a restaurant?

You should know that you’re going to face some very stiff competition. There are more than 1 million restaurants scattered all across the country right now.

But you should also know that there is plenty of money to be made in the restaurant industry. Americans are expected to spend over $860 billion at restaurants in 2019 alone.

You might think that opening a restaurant is as simple as finding a decent location and serving up delicious food. But it’s more complicated than that! You need to learn how to open a restaurant before you get started to increase the chances of your restaurant being a success.

By taking the right steps in the months, weeks, and days prior to your restaurant’s grand opening, you can put it in the right position to succeed. Here is how to open a restaurant from start to finish.

Begin by Researching the Restaurants in Your Area

As we mentioned earlier, there are more than a million restaurants operating throughout the U.S. at the moment. That means that there are likely plenty of restaurants in your area right now.

Research these restaurants to see what they’re bringing to the table. Check out everything from what kind of food they serve to what kind of atmosphere they provide for people.

Ideally, you want to make your restaurant different from all the other restaurants that are already open in your area. The only way you’re going to be able to do that is by doing your homework and seeing what’s out there.

Figure out the Right Concept for Your Restaurant

Once you’ve had an opportunity to look around at the different restaurants in your area, the next order of business will be to figure out what the concept for your restaurant is going to be. Are you going to offer:

  • A place for people to come, hang out, and eat while watching football games on Sunday afternoons?
  • A place for families to come together and eat family-style meals?
  • A place for couples to come and spend some quality time together while enjoying fine dining?

It’s up to you to find a concept that you think will work well in your community. It should be a concept that you’re passionate about for your restaurant.

Come up with a Catchy Name for Your Restaurant

When you’re trying to figure out how to open a restaurant, you might be tempted to get ahead of yourself and come up with a name first. But you should iron out the concept for your restaurant before you do it so that you’re able to create a name that makes sense for it.

The name of your restaurant should be something that helps explain what your restaurant has to offer. Something like “Sam’s Seafood Shanty” is pretty self-explanatory and will instantly appeal to anyone who loves seafood.

At the same time, the name should be something catchy that will burrow in people’s brains so that they remember it the next time they’re trying to decide where to go out to eat. Brainstorm lots of different ideas before deciding on the restaurant name that you like most.

Create a Restaurant Business Plan

You shouldn’t start any kind of business—restaurant or otherwise—without creating a business plan. You’re going to be asking for trouble if you attempt to get a business off the ground without a strong plan for it in place.

A restaurant business plan is just like any other kind of business plan and should include:

  • Executive summary
  • Company overview
  • Market analysis
  • Marketing strategies
  • Financial projections

Your business plan is going to need to be airtight, especially if you plan on borrowing money to open up your restaurant. Spend a lot of time carefully crafting it so that it’s clear and sets a solid foundation for your business.

Put Together the Proper Funding for Your Restaurant

To open a restaurant, you’re obviously going to need a significant amount of money. At the very least, you’re going to need somewhere between $50,000 and $75,000 to get started.

If you have money set aside in your savings account to open your restaurant, great. But if you don’t, you’re going to have to find another way to get your hands on the necessary funding for your restaurant.

Crunch the numbers to see exactly how much you’ll need to spend. Then, consider borrowing money by:

  • Asking family members and friends to think about investing in your business
  • Turning to local investors in your city or town for investments
  • Taking out a loan from a local bank or credit union

No matter who you try to borrow money from, make sure that you provide them with a copy of your business plan. It’ll show that you’re serious about opening up a restaurant and giving it every chance to succeed.

Find the Best Restaurant Location

After you’ve successfully secured funding for your restaurant, you can start to bring it to life. Begin by looking around for the right location for your restaurant.

In a perfect world, you want to position your restaurant in a place where people will either drive or walk by it all the time. Visibility is very important in the restaurant industry, especially when you’re starting a new restaurant that people might not be familiar with yet.

You also want to make sure that you rent a space that you’ll be able to open a restaurant in. Check with the owner of the space to see if opening a restaurant in their building is going to be an option.

And of course, the space that you rent should be the right size for your restaurant. Whether you want something big enough to fit a dining area and a bar area or something small and quaint that will fit just a few tables, your location should fit your needs as far as size is concerned.

Obtain the Necessary Equipment for Your Restaurant

You’ll need quite a bit of equipment to run a restaurant. From commercial refrigerators and the Best Commercial Freezers to commercial ovens and grills, you’ll need to obtain this equipment as soon as you can once you have a space rented out for your restaurant.

Shop around to get the best deals on this equipment. You don’t want to blow your entire budget on equipment and put yourself in a tough spot when your restaurant finally opens up. 

Nail Down a Menu for Your Restaurant

Earlier, you came up with a concept for your restaurant. Use that concept to nail down a menu that you’re going to offer to people once they start coming through your front door.

You want your menu to provide restaurant staples as well as specialty dishes that set your establishment apart. But you don’t want your menu to be so robust that you’re forced to order tons of food that won’t always get eaten by your customers.

Link up with a Local Restaurant Food Supplier

Once you have your menu solidified, you can fill your commercial refrigerators and freezers with all the foods you’ll need to prepare the meals on your menu. To do this, you’ll want to link up with a restaurant food supplier in your area.

Try to find a food supplier that offers a wide variety of food options in addition to affordable prices. Picking a food supplier is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when opening a restaurant, so make sure you put lots of time and thought into it.

Invest in a Restaurant Management System

It’s essential to choose the right restaurant food supplier because you’re going to be working with them on a regular basis. You’re going to place food orders through them every week in most cases.

A restaurant management system will make this process simpler on you. You’ll create a lot less waste by managing how much food you order week in and week out.

Fill out this MarketMan contact form to find out more about investing in a restaurant management system that will make life a little easier on you.

Hire People to Work in Your Restaurant

You’re not going to be able to run your restaurant on your own. Regardless of how big or small your restaurant might be, you’re going to need to have other people in your corner helping you to keep it going.

Hire people to help you make your restaurant a success. From hosts and servers to cashiers and cooks, you’ll need to put a bunch of different people on your restaurant’s payroll.

Start Marketing Your Restaurant to Those in Your Community

At the end of the day, you can open the most gorgeous restaurant with the most delectable food ever. But if people don’t know about your restaurant, it’ll all be for naught.

Marketing your restaurant to those in your community will help to spread the word about it over time. You can market your restaurant by running advertisements on local radio stations, setting up social media campaigns, or utilizing guerilla marketing techniques.

Try different forms of marketing to see which ones work the best for you and your restaurant.

Learning How to Open a Restaurant Will Set You up for Success

Opening a restaurant can be difficult to do. The restaurant industry is one of the most competitive industries in the country.

But you can make it slightly easier on yourself by learning how to open a restaurant ahead of time. When you follow the steps listed here, you’ll get your restaurant off to the strongest start possible.

Acquire Attractive Restaurant Furniture for Your Restaurant

The major affecting part of any restaurant is the ambiance and it depends upon the good interior. To open a restaurant successfully you’ll have to be an extra-ordinary in the area of interior designing. Just get the best suitable restaurant furniture and you are good to go.

A perfect set of restaurant tables and chairs will add the uniqueness to the décor and customers will do the word of mouth advertisement for your restaurant.

Read our blog for more articles on jumpstarting a restaurant and achieving success with it.

Ted Jones