Five Things Every New Restaurant Needs

Tips for Opening a New Restaurant

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There are lots of things you’ll need for a new restaurant – a good location, financing, a unique name, a clear concept…It can be overwhelming. To help you prioritize your restaurant start-up list, I’ve highlighted five areas that are sometimes overlooked when getting ready to open. These are the most important steps to take when starting your own restaurant. 

A Good Manager

A pivotal position at any restaurant is that of manager. Sometimes an owner acts as a restaurant’s general manager. Other times the manager is hired as an employee. Restaurant managers have a number of responsibilities in the day to day business of running a restaurant, including order inventory, hiring and firing, and addressing customer complaints. As the restaurant owner, if you aren’t planning on being in the front of the house, it is important to budget for a qualified general manager who will act with your restaurant’s best interest in mind.

A Good Location

You may fall in love with a charming downtown building that would be just perfect for your new restaurant. But before you sign a lease or apply for a mortgage, do your homework. Not every available space is right for a restaurant. A good restaurant location is harder to find than some people think. What may look like the perfect spot- say a bustling pedestrian street in the heart of downtown- may turn out to be a dud. Other times a spot that you would never think to put a restaurant - like in an old shoe shop in a run-down mill town - is a success. Of course, food and service are important to the success of a restaurant, but the location can be just as crucial, especially in the early years.

The Right Insurance

A restaurant may be all about food and drink, but it is still a business first and foremost. Therefore it is absolutely imperative that you carry the right kind of insurances, including workers comp, liability, and property.  Insurance for a restaurant isn’t cheap either, so make to gather up quotes early, so that you can plan your budget accordingly.

A Manageable Menu

Too many choices on a menu can be overwhelming, for both the staff and the customers. A popular research study from Columbia University revealed that people prefer less choice than more - it makes the decision process that much easier. Thanks to the recent recession, restaurant menus in general are smaller and simpler - reflecting tighter budgets for both the restaurant and the consumer. As you get ready to write your new restaurant menu, keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better.

A Well Managed Social Media Presence 

Your social media pages aren't a Ronco rotisserie chicken.  Do not just set it and forget it. In other words, you have to be active on your Facebook page, on a regular (read: daily) basis. Facebook can be used to announce upcoming events, like Mother’s Day or a wine tasting. It allows you to post daily and weekly menu and drink specials. More innovative uses of Facebook include posting recipes, video tours of the kitchen, or a video of the chef doing a cooking demo. A well-managed Facebook page also promotes good customer service, encouraging customers to comment on their interactions with your restaurant. It also gives you a chance to address customer complaints. If a customer took the time to air a grievance about your restaurant on your Facebook page, you can address it immediately and offer a solution. This not only shows the customer you value their opinion and their businesses, but everyone else that follow your site as well.