What You Need to Know Before You Open a Restaurant

Important Information to Know Before Opening a New Restaurant

Colorful chairs at restaurant
••• Amber Avalona via Pixabay

It may seem glamorous and fun, but it all boils down to hard work. Ask anyone in the food business, and they will tell you about long hours they put into it. It’s important to understand all the various jobs that are involved in running a restaurant. From bookkeeping, to cooking to PR, as the owner you are responsible for it all.

You Need a Clear Restaurant Concept

Deciding what type of restaurant you want to open will depend of a variety of things. Often times people who want to open their own restaurant want to serve food they like to cook, in an atmosphere they feel comfortable in. Other people are interested in Franchising. Restaurant franchises offer a number of benefits, including instant name recognition and built-in marketing. However, many restaurant franchises don't come cheap and owners must be willing to follow a stringent set of rules. Read more about choosing the right restaurant concept.

Restaurants Aren’t a Quick Way to Get Rich

Reality food tv often glorifies restaurant life as a way to get rich quick and/or become a celebrity chef or other famous star. The real reality is that most people who own their own restaurant fall sqaurely in middle class. They don't have their own tv shows or line of cookware at Target. They are regular people, who go to work everyday, just like everyone else.

While, restaurants can earn a lot of money, it's importnat to remember that they cost almost all that they make. This is why it's doubly important that, as the owner, you plan to work in some fashion at your restaurant. A restaurant owner can earn a decent living (read= not rich) but only if he or she intends on working in the restaurant. Many people think they will open a restaurant and draw a paycheck, without actually cooking, managing or waiting tables. This may work in the beginning, but restaurants can’t support dead weight for very long. If you don’t plan on working, don’t plan on getting paid.

Restaurant Menus Change Over Time

No menu should be set in stone (or laminated- ever). In order to keep your food cost in check and keep up with the other costs of owning your own restaurant, you should update your menu at least once a year. This doesn’t mean that you have to rewrite the whole menu or add all new dishes. It is simply a good time to make sure that prices are where they should be, and to assess menu items and nix any that aren’t selling.

Advertising is Necessary for a New Restaurant

New restaurants need advertising to get customers in the door. Before you begin placing newspaper ads and building a fan page on Facebook, decide who your target audience is. Are you hoping to lure in families, business people, the after-hours crowd? Once you've decided who you want to attract, decide how much money you have to spend on your initial advertising campaign. Advertising for a new restaurant is not the place to be tripping over pennies. It is essential, so don't skimp on it.

Restaurants Require Insurance and Licenses

Running a restaurant involves far more than just serving food and drink. Restaurant owners and managers are responsible for everything from employee safety to liquor liability. Insurance, licenses and safety procedures are just a few of the areas that restaurant owners should be familiar with. Read on for the basics of behind the scenes at a restaurant.

Choosing the right restaurant location is vital for success. It won’t matter how good your food is, or how stellar your service is, if the location is bad. So what makes a good location? Visibility, parking, foot traffic are all important. Read on for more about how to choose a great restaurant location. Catering is a Good Way to Get Into the Restaurant Business If you like to cook and like to entertain, a self-catering business may be the ideal career for you. Starting a self-catering business requires small start-up costs and can be a step toward one day opening your own restaurant.

Owning a Restaurant Can be a Lot of Fun!

Work is what you make it. If you are passionate about food and your customers, then your day-to-day work life will be that much easier. People go out to eat as a break, reward, celebration…and you get to be part of that. That’s pretty cool.