Here are 10 quick tips about restaurants, from opening a new restaurant to hiring staff and purchasing equipment.
Consider Used Restaurant Equipment
If you are opening a new restaurant or looking to replace existing restaurant equipment don’t overlook used restaurant equipment. You can find many gently used pieces of restaurant equipment for pennies on the dollar. As I like to say new is nice, but always necessary.
Decide If a POS System Is Better Than a Cash Register
If you are thinking of opening a new restaurant, I strongly urge you to invest in a POS System. Unlike a standard cash register which just tracks sales, a POS (Point of Sale) System can track sales, menu items, act as a time clock for employees and even help take reservations. A POS system will cost more than a cash register, but if used to its full potential, it will more than pay for itself in the long run.
Don’t Hire Just Anyone to Tend Bar
If your restaurant has a bar area or pub, be selective about who staffs it. A good bartender will not only know how to pour drinks, he or she will excel in customer service. A good bartender can read customers- knowing which ones want to chat or which ones want to just watch the game on the TV. A good bartender will make every patron feel welcome and comfortable.
Understand the Importance of Commercial Restaurant Equipment and Supplies
When stocking a new restaurant, it is important to purchase equipment and dishes designed for commercial use. I remember buying up a huge stock of really cool dishes on clearance sale from a retail outfitter (I think it was Banana Republic- why they were selling dishes, I'll never know.) The dishes seemed like they would hold up fine in our restaurant. Wrong. A few cycles through the dishwasher and every plate was chipped or cracked. Commercial dishes are more expensive than your household ones, but for good reason. They are made to stand up to the heavy use of restaurants.
Apply for a Liquor License Early
If you are planning on opening a restaurant that serves beer, wine or spirits, be sure to apply for a liquor license ASAP! It can take several weeks for a liquor license to be approved, depending on your restaurant’s location. Don’t hold up your opening day waiting for your liquor license.
Avoid Lining Prices up on a Menu
Here is a nice little tip from the Restauranting Forum from Jack. He says "Don't align the prices of your food items on your menu. This makes customers compare prices and choose the less expensive items. I like this idea and have used it in the past when writing a restaurant menu.
Choose an Original Restaurant Name
If your last name happens to be McDonald's, don’t call your restaurant that. You are just asking for trouble (ditto if your last name is Taco Bell, Burger King or Jack In The Box.) It may seem like a harmless gesture to name a restaurant something similar to an already established chain, but you’ll be asking for potential legal troubles. Avoid any trouble by selecting a unique restaurant name.
Avoid Hard to Read Font on Your Restaurant Menu
Font is fun to play around with, but when it comes to writing your restaurant menu, simple is best. Sans Serif or Times is the easiest to read in print. Stay away from cursive, all bold or all capitalized text. 12-14 font is the ideal size for easy reading.
Don’t Cut Your Advertising Budget
In today's economy, restaurant owners need to think out of the traditional advertising box. Advertising is essential for business but can get pricey. About.com guide to Advertising, Apryl Duncan, has put together a handy guide on Cheap and Effective Advertising for small business. Some of Apryl's tips include creating inexpensive flyers, making the most of website advertising and podcast ads.
Don’t Believe Everything Your Friends Tell You
Your friends love your homemade marinara and to-die-for cannolis. So much, in fact, they always tell you that you should open your own restaurant. Before you start looking for restaurant locations and names, read these popular myths about opening a new restaurant.