The leading digital point of sale solutions put the controls to every facet of your restaurant right into your smartphone. As an all-in-one platform, your POS system should let you access live sales data, digital inventory, customer loyalty information, and many other features that keep your business running smoothly. When you consider the question, “What does it take to start a restaurant?” the answer should be obvious—hard work and the right tools.
Hard Work + the Right Tools = What It Takes to Start a Restaurant
Your POS solution includes all the essentials of management and service including:
- Mobile payment options including discounts, refunds, and tax concerns.
- Staff management.
- Customized loyalty programs.
- Multi-station and kitchen communication and order transfers.
- Scanners, barcode readers and printers, cash draws, and more.
The hard work is the perseverance and courage it is going to take to see your dreams through to fruition. The right tools are the features of your POS solution that will sit at the center of your business as you journey toward success.
Here are 13 steps to get you started in that direction:
1. Know Who You Are
Your dream needs to take firm shape at some point. You must make decisions that clearly define your ideas around food, ambiance, and price points, for example. Successful restaurants clearly speak to their diners about what to expect, and they deliver on that promise.
In other words, answer the question, “Why would we want to eat at your restaurant?”
2. Develop a Business Plan
What does it take to run a restaurant? The answer is in your business plan. It’s a comprehensive document that outlines how you’ll go about turning ambition and passion into bottom-line returns. Your business plan will have to describe how you’ll attract customers, how you’ll profit from their presence, and what will make your business succeed where others fail.
Most importantly, your business plan is the document you’ll use to win the support of the financial organizations that are going to supply the key ingredient—the funds to make your dream a reality.
3. Money, Money, Money
Although important, self-belief is not enough in business. Unless you’ve inherited the title deeds to a string of European castles, you’re going to have to convince a bank to believe in you and invest in your business plan.
Intimidating as they are, banks and big lenders are businesses like any other. You as the customer have the right to shop around for the best deal—don’t be flattered by approval and always strive for better. Getting the right deal that fits your needs will set the tone for your restaurant.
4. Location, Location, Location
Once you’ve secured financial backing, it’s time to find a location to put roots in. Your dream location will depend on your finances and the market, so if you have a goal and a vision, you should prepare to wait for the perfect place. When you finally find something that suits your needs and style, keep in mind the aesthetic of the locale to ensure positive returns by catering to the cravings of the neighborhood.
5. Tax, Permits, Licenses
Ahh, the fine print. The food industry is bound by a large number of regulations and laws that protect the patrons it serves. These regulations vary from state to state, and town to town, and it’s not enough to follow “common sense.” You have to know the rules to stay on the good side of the health inspector, the IRS, the labor laws, and, ultimately, stay open.
6. Get the Right Help
Many restaurateurs specialize either in the front-of-house or kitchen aspects of the industry. This makes finding the right head chef or manager pretty much the most important decision you’ll make when getting your restaurant off the ground.
From there, your employment strategy should support the ambiance and themes of your restaurant. After all, your staff is the (smiling) face of your business. It is easy to keep track of who is on the payroll with a multipurpose POS.
7. Set Up Your Professional Connections
No restaurant is an island, so you’ll need to secure the assistance of suppliers who can provide everything from the food you serve to the tablecloths you serve it on. You can make matters much easier on yourself by using a modern point of sale system to convert your inventory to a digital platform that can automatically monitor stock levels, purchase orders, and outstanding accounts. This way, the practicalities of business almost take care of themselves while you deal with the other challenges.
8. Sculpt Your Menu
The main themes of your menu will reflect two things: your brand and the taste of your diners. Your own style and palette should be revealed in each course and item. But you need to leave enough room for the “standard favorites” and allow scope for modifications so you can please enough diners to keep demand high. With the proper POS solution, you can track market trends and customer preferences to do just that.
9. Get a Good Table Management System
Ideally, every service is going to be a mad rush of too many diners wanting too few seats, which means you’ll need a serious table management system to keep up. Again, the solution is a POS system that lets you move tables, split bills, offer discounts, create tabs, and generally control every facet of a busy night through a collection of connected terminals all as simple as an iPad. More reliable than your most trusted floor staff even, a good table management system will act as the central hub of communication and service every night you’re open.
10. Get Online Quickly
The internet is the dominant force in restaurant review, word of mouth, and discovery, and you have to build a website and establish a presence before you ever open your brick-and-mortar doors. The leading POS providers will help you build a website that reflects your restaurant’s personality as much as it makes your menu and online ordering options available. From alternate revenue streams to basic introductions, your web presence can give your business a major boost.
11. Spread the Word
Once you’ve established an online presence, it’s time to start using it to drum up business. There are dozens of ways to build a public appetite for your wares, from taking tasty photos to getting your staff on social media. Blogging about your own buzz and partnering with third-party apps that not only deliver your food but advertise it on their own sites are effective strategies as well.
The digital era has made advertising more affordable and accessible than ever—a good idea can cut through directly to your audience like never before.
12. Celebrate Your Opening Night
If you’ve made it this far, so it’s time to celebrate! Your opening night is a first chance to shout your name to the neighbors and establish why the culinary world should take notice of your kitchen. Embrace your surroundings and start winning loyalty by offering discounts, repeat dining incentives, and drinks named after the locals.
13. Review and Repeat
As you take your first booking, you must begin the process of reviewing and refining your restaurant. You can gain invaluable insights by using a POS solution that features data analysis as standard. By converting all your sales, customer, supplier, and staff information to digital information, you can get reports on how every dollar spent translates to bottom-line profit.
By continually reviewing what sells, what’s not worth the purchase cost, how your staff impacts sales, the value of to-go offerings, and a dozen other variables, you can find the most profitable path to success.
In that sense, the POS solution you select to control your business is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when asking yourself, “What does it take to start a restaurant?” It takes a lot of hard work to get a restaurant off to the right start; making sure you have the right POS solution running it all is a good way to ensure that hard work pays off.
Starting a restaurant means balancing dozens of competing demands. The POS solutions created by talech make it easier to get up and running with a quality management hub. Our system can handle all of the front-of-house, kitchen, and behind-the-scenes challenges you’ll face as you establish your brand.
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