In 2018, there were 13,251 new restaurants that opened in the United States, with more opening each year. While owning a restaurant can be an exciting opportunity, it is important that first-time restaurant owners are prepared for every part of opening a new business.
Do you want to learn more about owning a restaurant and how you can make your business more successful?
Keep reading this article for the top 11 tips to follow as a new restaurant owner.
1. Research the Industry and Market
The most important part of opening a business is doing your research on the market and industry. This needs to be done as you are writing your business plan because it will help you test your ideas.
In your market research, you should include who your target market is, what their income level is, their age, and more. This data will be important as you discuss marketing tactics and find other ways to appeal to your customers.
For example, you wouldn’t want to open a high-end restaurant in a college town or in an area with a lower-income demographic.
You can research the industry by sending out polls and surveys. This primary research will ensure that you have a good business plan and will make your restaurant more likely to succeed.
2. Understand the Costs
Next, you need to calculate all the costs associated with opening a restaurant. This is crucial for creating a budget and understanding the capital you need to set up your kitchen, buy your supplies, pay your employees, and more.
There are some costs that will be a one-time, fixed cost, and others that will be monthly costs and recurring expenses. These recurring costs include payroll, utilities, inventory, and more.
Having all this information will make your financial planning much easier!
3. Start Marketing Immediately
It is also vital that you start marketing your restaurant immediately, even if you haven’t even opened it yet. While you may be able to rely on some customers finding you by chance, you need to market your restaurant to attract interest and to gain recognition in the industry.
You can market your business using search engine optimization, also known as SEO.
For example, it is essential that you have a website for your restaurant. This should include your menu, prices, locations, and more.
Another simple marketing tactic is using targeted ads for people that fit your target demographic. You can even send them promotions to encourage them to visit your restaurant.
4. Create a Social Media Presence
Creating a social media presence is an important part of marketing your restaurant. Almost every business prioritizes building their social media channels to help them connect with their customers.
You can use your social media channels to post photos of your restaurant, the food you make, and more! As you gain a following on social media, you will have more brand recognition.
Plus, many younger customers will use your social media to see what types of food you offer, what it looks like, and more. Your social media presence can be the deciding factor for many of your customers that choose to visit your business.
5. Keep Your Staff Happy
As a business owner, the most important thing you can do is find ways to keep your staff happy. Your restaurant staff is what is keeping you in business, so you need to make sure you hire attentive and reliable staff members.
Keeping your staff happy will also ensure that you are never struggling to find new employees. Instead, you will have higher employee retention and you will not have to worry about being understaffed during busy shifts.
Because running a restaurant takes so many people, you need to make sure your staff works well together to provide your customers with the best service possible. This way, you will keep your customers coming back to your business and you will have well-trained and experienced employees.
6. Run Promotions
Something else that can make it easy to attract new customers to your restaurant is running promotions and deals! Offering deals or discounts to your customers makes them feel like they have an excuse to come to your restaurant.
While you may not want to run big discounts all the time, there are inexpensive ways that you can attract new people to your restaurant. For example, some businesses will run events with live music, trivia, bingo, and more.
You can strategically offer promotions that will interest your target audience and bring in more revenue.
Plus, these promotions will often help you make more money rather than less. Even if you offer BOGO drinks on a certain day of the week, people who come in for the promotion will be more likely to spend more while they are there.
7. Get Help With Business Finances
When you own a restaurant, there are many different transactions, cash flows, and other costs that you need to keep track of. Because of this, it is important that you find someone to help you with business finances.
Not only will this lessen your stress as a business owner, but it will also provide you with expert help when you are dealing with your finances. Hiring a financial planner or an accountant will help you with budget preparation, tracking costs of labor and products, dealing with payroll, and more.
If you are not well-trained on how to deal with these business finances, you may make costly mistakes that could result in the downfall of your business. In these cases, you may need to liquidate your restaurant assets to pay off your dues.
Having help with your financial planning will help you keep your restaurant afloat and will help you make the right decisions regarding your business finances.
8. Utilize Technology
Utilizing technology is a simple way that you can make your life easier as a business owner. There are many software systems available for business owners that can help them do their jobs better and lessen their stress.
For example, you may want to invest in a restaurant management and inventory system. This will help you keep track of your costs, know what foods you have in stock, and will make it easier to reorder your products.
You can also utilize technology to help with your staff scheduling, to manage your reservations and waitlists, and to help with online ordering and payments.
9. Invest in Strong Leaders
Finding the right leadership for your restaurant is an essential part of opening a new business. Having good managers for your restaurant will play a large role in your restaurant’s success.
Investing in strong leaders will make it easier to support your staff, keep your customers happy, and make the necessary changes to keep your business running as smoothly as possible.
Plus, having the right leadership for your restaurant will help you with your employee retention. Your management team will be able to carry out your goals and ensure that the right staff is hired for your company.
10. Find Reliable Vendors
Next, you need to find reliable vendors for your business. Having high-quality suppliers is necessary, as they will provide you with high-quality food and service. Plus, establishing good relationships with your vendors may provide you with better deals on your products.
When you are able to purchase your products at lower prices, you will be able to increase your profits as a business owner.
To find the best restaurant supplier, you should consider their cost, their delivery schedule, one that consistently offers high-quality products.
11. Ask for and Implement Feedback
Finally, it is important that your customers know that you value their feedback and reviews. Asking your customers for feedback is an easy way to show them that you want to improve their experience and that you are willing to make changes to your business.
As a restaurant owner, you will find that not everyone likes your food. While you may not be able to make everyone happy, finding ways to embrace these critiques will help your business grow.
Rather than focusing on things out of your control, find things that you can change and tweak to implement your customer feedback and improve your business.
Find More Tips for First-Time Restaurant Owners
As a first-time restaurant owner, it can be difficult to open your business and establish a name for yourself. By following these tips, it will be easier to manage your company, keep your customers and employees happy, and improve your financial planning.
If you are looking for help improving your business finances, TAGeX Brands can help! We offer business liquidation services for restaurant owners to sell their surplus equipment and generate a return on their investment.
Contact us today to see how we can help you with your business finances!