Opening a restaurant can seem like a daunting task. At times, it can seem almost impossible that in just a few short months you can go from sketching out a potential menu to putting together yet another table for some last-minute walk-ins on your opening night.
As with any challenge it can help make things more attainable if you reduce the process down to a few manageable steps. So, what are the steps to open a restaurant? There are many different ways to get to that first reservation, but if you divide the journey into the following seven parts you’ll be well on your way.
- Perfect Your Business Plan
- Secure Your Finances
- Get Permits and Licenses
- Hire the Right Help
- Find Your Suppliers
- Sort Out Your POS
- Get Noticed
Some of these steps are straightforward, some of them have substeps, and some will solve a variety of problems once you clear them.
Just take them in turn and keep your goal in mind—you’re going to open a restaurant.
1. Perfect Your Business Plan
Your business plan is a summary of how your unique ideas will become a profitable restaurant. In it, you will describe your menu, point-of-difference, target audience, management system and service needs, potential suppliers, staff structure, and how you’ll turn raw ingredients into sales. You’ll have to identify a location, calculate the startup costs, and anticipate how long it will take you to become profitable.
It’s the plan you’ll follow once your doors open and the customers start getting seated. This document will be crucial to selling your ideas to financial institutions, potential partners, suppliers, and key staff and to the governing authorities that control who can and cannot run a restaurant.
2. Secure Your Finances
If there’s a single step worth celebrating on your way toward your grand opening it’s this one. Unless you’re the heir to a great candy fortune, you are going to need help in raising the funds necessary to secure a lease, outfit a dining room and kitchen, and meet the initial wage and purchase order costs required to serve the public.
Armed with your business plan, you’ll have to negotiate the best deal for yourself all the while being honest about the time it will take for your restaurant to become profitable enough on its own to meet your overheads.
When making descions about your finances, research and find a reputable bank brand. You’re the customer in this situation, and just as you’d expect your diners to get the service they want, you should expect your bank to give you the deal you want.
3. Get Permits and Licenses
Once you’ve found the right location and secured the funds to buy into it, you’ll have to square things off with the authorities. Restaurants are heavily regulated businesses due to their responsibility to the health and safety of their diners, so expect to be held to some very high standards.
Permits, licenses, and regulations differ greatly from region to region, so make sure you know what is expected of you in your locale. You can expect to satisfy food handling and preparation standards, become knowledgeable in serving alcohol responsibly, and meet fire safety and building code regulations.
4. Hire the Right Help
Once you’ve secured your building you need to populate it with the right team. You’ll need someone to run your kitchen, even if only in your absence, and a senior figure to control the dining room floor and problem solve throughout the night. You’ll need to secure a financial partner to accept transactions, handle accounts, and pay wages and a quality second-in-command to be where you can’t be and to handle day-to-day operations when you’re otherwise engaged.
In short, you need to find a small army who will give your restaurant a face and familiarity. These people will be assets to knowing what the steps to open a restaurant are.
5. Find Your Suppliers
You will also need suppliers who will reliably stock your kitchen and bar and keep your tables in fresh linen and with clean cutlery. There are advantages, both practical and promotional, in sourcing from local providers, but your final decision needs to be an economic one. You need access to raw ingredients that produce memorable meals and cleaners that restock your linen shelves on time, every time.
6. Sort Out Your POS
All of the steps above are leading toward live service, but this step is where you’ll find your best asset for giving your customers a dining experience they’ll want to return to for years to come. Your POS is a combination of software and hardware that covers every aspect of active management and service. It’s the platform you’ll use to plan staff rosters, take reservations and manage tables, make purchase orders, and analyze your inventory.
You will utilize your POS on the front-of-house and back-of-house devices to process orders, split bills, accept payments, and market customer loyalty programs. Just as with your key staff and suppliers, you need to find a professional, flexible, and cutting-edge POS partner that will design a system around your unique vision and equip you for growth.
7. Get Noticed
If you’ve made it this far you’re entitled to another party—and you’re about to plan it. Every successful restaurant begins with an opening night, and yours will be no exception. However, you first must let your potential diners know who and where you are.
The digital age has opened up a range of promotional avenues that you can control including search engine optimization and email campaigns in addition to the traditional media like advertisements. Take advantage of every tool available to you and let the world know you’re ready to turn your dream into a reality.
Modern POS Providers Know the Steps to Open a Restaurant
When opening a restaurant, you must partner with people, investors, or other businesses that know the industry and can offer advice or resources. The same is true for your POS provider. Your POS will be the backbone of your restaurant, so you should have a trusted provider in your corner every step of the way.
The experts at talech can provide you with a POS solution that will help guide you through the early steps of opening a restaurant. Our team has the business expertise, technical knowledge, and state-of-the-art resources to develop a service and management solution that gets the best out of your business ideas. Reach out to us today to sign up for a demo and to learn more about how talech can be your valued POS partner.
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