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How to Start a Small Restaurant

November 20, 2017

So, you are interested in opening your very own restaurant business? Congratulations! Chasing down your dreams of opening a culinary-haven for your community can be an incredibly rewarding success story producing large profits despite the size of your intimate dining hall. In fact, the advantages of opening a smaller restaurant business can save you tons of money in start-up costs, staff salaries, utilities, kitchen maintenance expenses and more!

However, the threat of the typical 60% failure rate within the first year of business still applies despite the size of your prospective restaurant facility. The best way to protect yourself against these odds is by investing some well-thought time and energy into developing a detailed business plan. As lack of planning is the biggest cause of restaurant failure, compiling a portfolio of the following information will help guide your internal operation into the blueprints of a unique and successful dining experience:

CONCEPT:
Determine the concept of your brand. This includes the name of your restaurant, the type of food you will be serving, the service style and perhaps a marketable logo and design. Whether your dream is to open a pub, diner or pizzeria – determining your type of fare and service will help potential customers know exactly what to expect.

TARGET MARKET:
Define your target audience. Who will your restaurant appeal to? What do they do for a living? What are their spending habits? Where do they live and work? What are the current food trends? Defining your niche market can help you effectively appeal to your target audience and generate traffic.

LOCATION:
Ensure that there is a connection between your target market and your location. Consider the demographics of your target audience. Are customer parking facilities available? What is the history of the site? Is it accessible to potential customers?

MENU:
Think about the type of food you would like to serve. Develop an inventory of recipes and targeted price points. Research your competition for current food trends. Offer a test menu for professional review.

DESIGN:
Be careful not to overcrowd your dining room. Rule of thumb, each table should be about 24 to 30 inches apart. Consider booths for pace saving. Create a mood board for design ideas. Allow for flexibility of table arrangements and enough room for your staff to navigate with ease.

FINANCES:
Secure a financial safety nest that can comfortably handle 1) all start-up expenses, 2) restaurant expenses for at least 6 months, and 3) personal expenses for at least 6 months. Prepare a thorough budget with operating expenses, expected profits and losses, payroll salaries and any licensing costs included. Hire an accountant with restaurant industry experience to guide you through the financial management.

STAFF:
Invest in training your employees with the necessary tools for success. Create employee handbooks to provide your staff with job descriptions and a code of conduct. Prepare a recipe book so that each menu item maintains consistency and be well prepared to step in on any role in the event of understaffing.

MARKETING:

Develop a marketing plan.
Participate in community events. Give out free samples. Advertise through local papers and radio shows. Take advantage of the plethora of social media outlets. Know who your direct competitors are and what they are doing.

SUPPORT:
Hire any outside contractors required for the project:

  • Accountant
  • Attorney
  • Architect
  • Designer
  • General Contractor
  • PR & Marketing

 
Get in touch with our BUILD IT by Design experts for a full service one-stop general contracting experience you can trust. Contract (905) 696-0486 or info@builditbydesign.ca for more information on how to open your own small restaurant!

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