If you’re considering to make the leap into the hospitality and dedicate yourself to your passion for cooking full time, then you have to remember that whilst the food is important, other factors also have to be considered. Eateries are cropping up all over the nation as people yearn to expand their passion for all things culinary into a way of making a living. Street food vendors, bistros, cafes and catering businesses are more popular than ever. However, only a handful of these startups will go onto have success as a money-making venture.
Often the decision is made because you have an experience somewhere, such as a restaurant or hotel. You may think that their food simply wasn’t good enough and that your flair for all things gastronomic will help you achieve critical acclaim in the restaurant world. While your food will do the talking to some extent, this is not the only thing that your restaurant dreams should be made of. You need a whole lot more business acumen if you are to see your restaurant brand become synonymous with the ultimate in fine dining.
Although your food and your menu are hugely important, you need to ensure that you have enough cash flow to maintain ingredient stock levels, pay the lease on your restaurant premises and cover staff wages. To secure this funding, you need to pay a visit to your bank manager in an effort to obtain a business loan. Ensure that you are suited and booted and know your figures inside out. Your bank manager will want to be certain that your business is a sound investment, that you understand the risks and how to mitigate them, and that you can relay your financial forecasting for at least the next three years. By showing your head for figures as well as your flair for cooking, you will be in better shape to secure that all-important funding. Demonstrate where you will be spending the money and how you plan to expand your business when you are successful. The correct mix of caution and ambition will make your bank manager happy.
So, you want to provide a fine dining experience, but your service is slow, you don’t send out emails when you say that you will and some of the waiting staff you have hired don’t know how to crack a smile. All of this can lead to negative reviews online, complaints and leave a sour taste in your diners’ mouths meaning that they simply won’t return.
You need to try and mitigate any chance of discontent by being ahead of the game. Consider implementing a sound master data management system that will cross check all of your files and keep all of your customers' details in one place. This way, you can use a master list to whizz out a discount email, a new menu launch notification or a newsletter. Train up your staff in customer service skills and make sure that you have a clear numbering system for tables, so mix-ups don’t occur. You need to provide your diners with the ultimate customer experience. There is so much eatery competition out there, that you want your establishment to be the one that comes out on top. When people head out for dinner, you want them to choose your restaurant, not the reliable chain eatery next door.
It’s all very well and good having the funding in place, the right staff to do the job and an outstanding menu, but you also need to be situated in a location that is easily accessible so that potential diners can find you. Don’t be too far out in the sticks so that people have to travel miles to get to you. While the rents might be cheaper, this will end up being a false economy. Instead, go for somewhere in the middle of it all. You want plenty of footfall and enough restaurants around you to make sure that you are in the hub of a foodie quarter. While this means competition it also means more potential diners which could mean more covers at lunchtime and dinner for your eatery.
The decor is important as your diners want to feel relaxed and charmed by their surroundings as they eat. Think about the sort of food you cook and use this to dictate your decor. If you cook Caribbean cuisine, a tropical and bright interior may suit. If you are a high end fine dining French bistro, crisp lines, expensive furniture and some classy photography could be in order. Every customer should leave your establishment wanting to return to try something else on your menu.
Starting a restaurant is no easy task. While you might think that you can cook, you also need to master the art of leading a kitchen, hiring and firing staff, creating a productive team, and ensuring that you spend your money wisely when prepping for your big launch. If you can achieve all of this, your restaurant stands a strong chance of being able to compete with established industry rivals.
Main Image by