How To Start a Successful Restaurant: GUIDE



If dreams of opening a restaurant have filled your thoughts for years, it might be time to sit down and draw up a plan to open your own business. To help you create a recipe for success, we’ve put together a how-to-get-started guide to make sure you have all the ingredients you need to open your restaurant with confidence.

While starting a restaurant is exciting, it’s also time consuming and one of the toughest businesses to successfully launch. In fact, 60 percent of restaurants fail in the first year.

We’re not telling you this to temper you passion. We’re merely pointing out that if you want a successful restaurant, you’ll need to invest some serious time and money.

What’s the biggest reason for failure? Lack of planning. Before you ever make dinner for a customer, you’ll spend a lot of time figuring out every detail of your restaurant. From kitchen appliances and menus to floors plans and staff selections, the planning stage will make or break your restaurant.

To help you plan, fund, and manage your new restaurant, we’ve asked three owners to share their trade secrets. Kim Strengari owns three successful restaurants in the Philadelphia region, including Stella Blu. Yuen Yung owns fast sushi restaurants called How Do You Roll? which received a million dollar investment from the hit ABC show “Shark Tank,” and now has 10 stores in the U.S. Lambrine Macejewski, is the co-founder of Cocina 214, a contemporary Mexican restaurant in Winter Park, Florida. Below are their tips for success.

Planning:

Have the right intentions

If you want to make it as a restaurant owner, you have to love what you do, Kim Strengari says. While she knew a restaurant was the right path for her, she had to work nights cleaning office buildings to make ends meet when she first opened her restaurant.
“I wanted the restaurant more then anything else in life, so the sacrifices were endless and I never minded making them,” she says.
To be successful, you’ll invest a lot of time and money—so make sure that starting a restaurant is your passion, not just a business venture you hope will make money.

Have a solid business plan in place

You can’t scratch a business plan out on a cocktail napkin. You need a detailed business plan that charts the course for your success. That said, we suggest beginning with a “lean plan” rather than the cliché long, dry business plan. 

Yuen Yung’s plan included a list of everything he would need to buy for the restaurant. “It looked like a novel by the time we were done,” he says. “But it helped us stay on budget and keep track of our capital.”Your business plan should include market research, a comprehensive look at your competitors, explain your target audience, outline marketing plans, and offer a solid budget projection. To get you started, check out these templates specifically for restaurant planning, or check out LivePlan software that will walk you through the process.

 

Location, location, location

With a restaurant, location is everything. You need a spot that draws crowds, is easily accessible, and has potential for growth. Of course, you need a location that fits within your budget too. The perfect spot can be hard to find, so take your time, Yuen Yung says.Whether you rent space or build from scratch, selecting a location is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as an owner.

Test your menu

You probably have several stellar dishes in mind for your new restaurant, but you’ll want to test them out before you laminate your first menu, Yung says.“Have a small party and invite people over to try your food before you open. Get honest feedback from people on the taste, the pricing, and the location.”

You might love the taste of a certain dish, but if customers won’t pay for it or aren’t keen on its taste, you won’t make money.

 



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There are some people within the coffee shop industry who have not been telling the truth about how much it actually cost to open a coffee shop or open a coffee service business. There are two reasons for this.

1. They are trying to sell you something. Either some really expensive equipment, or some expensive consulting.

2. “They” don’t want to create more competition for themselves (ie, other coffee shop owners).

Wayne Mullins a former co-owner of two successful coffee shops have written this e book called Coffee Shop Secrets which is designed to walk you through the entire process of opening a coffee shop

Coffee Shop Secrets is not for people who think they can sit on their couch and have a coffee shop magically open for you. Opening a coffee shop is work! But Coffee Shop Secrets will guide you straight through the process with the fewest possible mistakes (saving you money and your valuable time). 

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