Whether you are an industry veteran, a franchise lover, or a risk-taking pastry chef contemplating your first official place, there is nothing more overwhelming (and exciting) than deciding to start your own restaurant. To help you succeed, and reach your goals, here are four essential things to consider when starting your own restaurant.
1. Your Restaurant Management Software
As a diner, it is challenging to know just how many responsibilities are being taken care of behind the scenes. And, as a restaurant owner, you want to keep it that way. It is essential that you do everything in your power to ensure that you are managing all the operations required for running a successful dining enterprise.
Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to do this is by investing in top-quality restaurant management software. As long as you choose the right one for your restaurant, you can quickly simplify all essential tasks and keep everything running smoothly. This, in turn, will result in a higher ROI, boosted profits, and a more substantial brand reputation.
When deciding upon a restaurant management software, make sure that you are taking into account the size of your restaurant and the particular needs you have. Generally, you are going to want software that allows for sales tracking, inventory management, employee management, front-of-house organization, and kitchen display systems. Together, these five features will help to set you up for success.
2. Your Branding
Branding is everything these days and is often the key to taking your restaurant’s success to the next level. Take the time to thoroughly carve out your brand’s identity to ensure that you are putting a cohesive and coherent face forward.
The first step to figuring out your brand is knowing exactly who you are as a company. From there, you can start to generate the vision, personality, and character of your restaurant, all of which inform your brand identity.
Unfortunately, a lack of branding or poor execution is likely to result in lackluster sales.
When building your brand identity, make sure you understand your company values, and then seek to learn about your target audience and their behavior. The best way to do this is through market research – either by surveying potential customers or by utilizing point of sale software. Then, you can start to position yourself in the market and articulate what makes your restaurant different from your competitors. Name and design are the final steps in your branding strategy.
3. Your Location
Even with great branding, if your restaurant isn’t situated in an ideal location, then it is going to be hard to grow your clientele. Once you have a clear idea of your target demographic, you can use this information to help you find a location that is suitable and accessible for them. Look in areas where other businesses with similar target demographics have opened up shop, as you can piggy-back off of them for marketing purposes.
Convenient parking or public transportation stops are a significant factor for diners choosing where to eat, so make sure you aren’t too far off the grid! Foot traffic is just as relevant as ever and something that you want to focus on boosting from the get-go. Popular tactics for increasing your foot traffic include inviting decor, live entertainment, free Wi-Fi, and promotions such as happy hours.
4. Your Menu
Last but not least, take care of the cornerstone of your entire operation – your menu. Now, only you (and your chefs) know what items to actually offer to diners. However, what too many restaurants overlook is the importance of the format of your menu.
Unless your brand is something “old-school,” your best bet is to provide digital menus. More and more restaurants around the world are opting for digital menus because of the myriad ways they can be utilized.
Going digital gives you far greater control over your menu than if you were to keep it on paper and printed. Not only will you be able to update it as frequently as you want (based on stock or availability), but you can ensure that you curate it in a way that aligns with your brand. Moreover, you can design the layout in a way that directs diners to particular items that you want to highlight and analyze the data for popular ordering combinations. And, if that wasn’t enough, patrons are more likely to be excited about the ordering process when presented with a digital menu.
Have you recently opened up your own restaurant? If so, do you have any tips or tricks to share with others who are looking to do the same thing? Alternatively, if you are still unsure about pursuing this path, what aspects do you find stopping you? Let us know your thoughts and any relevant experiences in the comments below!
Ahmad Alzaini is the co-founder and CEO of Foodics, a fast-growing food tech startup. A businessman by nature, Alzaini is an app aficionado, developing businesses in Saudi Arabia within several industries. Today, Foodics has extended to new markets across the MENA region, processing over 1 billion transactions, and offering the latest technology in POS and restaurant management.