So you’ve decided to finally take the plunge and go full-throttle into the high-energy life of restaurant ownership. Well, congratulations are in order because this is not an easy life at all, but it can be one of the most rewarding.
Whether you’re interested in opening or expanding your own home bakery, or renovating a downtown building and opening a 5-star fine dining establishment, you’re going to need to know what you’re doing and plan ahead.
Becoming a restaurant owner is fairly simple, but becoming a successful restaurateur will prove difficult if you don’t have the right staff or the right tools. But if you’re about to embark on this goal, then chances are you know a thing or two about the business already.
If you’re about to open your doors, or you’re still planning your vision, the following advice can help you through the process.
Choose Your Staff Wisely
If there’s one thing that will make you fail in the restaurant business, it’s poor staff and poor management. As such, you’re going to want to be very choosy when it comes to hiring your wait staff and management.
Your front-of-house (FOH) personnel are those who will be giving your guests the first impression of you and your restaurant. And if you have inexperienced FOH staff, this can make your restaurant fail before it even gets going.
When you set out to hire, look for at least a few years of experience, and be sure to check references. If you find that a prospective employee has a bad reputation or isn’t known to be friendly, this is the wrong person to have on your team.
Waitstaff, hosts, and especially bartenders, need to be energetic and able to show your guests a good time. The last thing you’ll want is a dry staff that gives no life to your establishment.
The type of ingredients you choose to put in your recipes are going to be the keys to your success.
You want to be unique and authentic, ultimately. And the best way to do this is to seek out quality products from distributors with solid reputations.
For example, if you produce a lot of baked goods or if you plan to use a lot of whipped cream, finding the right type and quality of cream chargers is not exactly a simple task. Cheap cream chargers can reduce the flavor and consistency of your cream-topped dishes. So you’ll want to choose each product based on quality, not cost alone.
Additionally, many first-time restaurant owners choose to go the cheap route. But this will only reduce your quality and the number of guests you serve. When it comes to your actual food products, quality will always be king.
If you’re planning on just flipping on the “Open” sign on your first day without any advertisement at all, this is the first way that you’ll fail.
Opening a restaurant is somewhat of a baptism in the world of food & beverage. As such, you’ll want to hold a soft opening before you advertise for your grand opening.
A soft opening allows you to work out all the problems that your staff might face on opening day. This not only shows you where your employees need to improve, but it also gives you an idea of your strengths and weaknesses.
For your soft opening, you may choose to do a limited guest list of other business owners near you or have a combination of friends and family opening consisting of 2 to 3 guests of each staff member.
Once you have all the kinks worked out, then it’ll be time to open your doors to the public.
Across the country, restaurants are part of American culture. And this is brought forth from the determination and ingenuity of the great restaurateurs of our local communities. Being a part of this community can be rewarding, but it won’t come without hard work.