Thanks to busier lifestyles and changing demographics, an increasing number of people want to eat out nowadays, especially in major towns and cities. If you have a demanding schedule, you can find it hard to set aside time for cooking. Other times, you simply lack the inclination to prepare a meal from scratch. In spite of this, people still want to enjoy nutritious, delicious meals without the hassle of meal preparation. Eating out has increased in popularity and the food service industry has experienced tremendous growth in an effort to meet this demand.

Although getting into the restaurant business can be a risky venture, it is certainly doable. The sector is quite profitable and with the right amount of financing, planning and hard work, you can get a handsome return on your investment. Here are some factors you need to consider before opening the doors to your new restaurant:

  • Your food concept and menu.

One of the first things to consider when planning to open a new restaurant is the type of food you will prepare and serve. It is unrealistic to think that your restaurant will cater to all food tastes, so you need to narrow it down. This will also help you to structure and market your restaurant to your potential customers, as well as give them an idea of what to expect. There are several food concepts to choose from, including a pizzeria, coffeehouse, sandwich-shop, bakery or seafood restaurant. You can even draw inspiration from your background to open up an ethnic restaurant.

Once you decide on the food concept, you can move on to planning the menu and deciding on your signature dishes. You should have one or several specialty dishes to make your business stand out from other restaurants.

  • The serving style.

You should also determine your restaurant’s serving style. You may opt to run with a quick-service style, made famous by fast-food restaurants. Alternatively, you can settle for a midscale serving style where your customers can sit down and order from a menu or buffet and salad bar. On the other hand, you can make your restaurant an upscale establishment that specializes in providing a high quality, fine-dining experience, with focus on excellent cuisine and ambience.

  • Gathering supplies.

Another thing to consider is your restaurant’s source of supplies. Restaurants providing organic, locally sourced food are popular these days. Find food service vendors or local farmers who can guarantee steady and prompt delivery of fresh, quality ingredients. Once you get a reputation for serving healthy, garden-fresh, delicious food, customers will come knocking.

To make your work easier, you can take advantage of tech solutions to help you keep track of your orders and deliveries. For instance, DocuSign’s technology, developed by Keith Krach, can assist you to quickly send, sign or approve orders or deliveries from different vendors and suppliers, regardless of your location. To learn more about DocuSign, check out Keith Krach on Facebook or simply visit the product’s website.

  • Location and ambience.

Your restaurant’s location will play a great role in attracting customers, while its ambience will seduce them to stay and order. Shop around for a location that not only puts you in close proximity to your target customers but also gives you enough space for your equipment, food preparation and staff.

Think of the type of atmosphere you want to create in your establishment, then work on your furniture, seating arrangement, lighting, glassware and dishes, as well as your servers’ uniforms. Use your serving style as a guide to creating the perfect setting for customers.

  • Licenses.

As with any other business, a restaurant requires several licenses before operations can begin. The health permit is perhaps the most important of these. Your restaurant needs to pass an initial health inspection before it opens. The health inspector will check to see if you have the requisite equipment and food storage facilities. Additionally, you will need to acquire a liquor license if you plan to serve alcoholic drinks.

  • Marketing and customer feedback.

You will need to have a solid marketing and promotion strategy in place in order to attract customers to your establishment. Make use of social media as well as other traditional channels, such as flyers or adverts in the local papers. You also need to pay attention to any feedback from your customers. You can carry out market research to find out what your customers think about your restaurant, the service and the menu. You can greatly improve your restaurant by acting on complaints and implementing any helpful suggestions you receive.

Running a restaurant is not for the faint-hearted. It involves a lot of hard work, but with the right planning and a little elbow grease, you can streamline your operations to create a profitable and enjoyable business venture.

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Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of So Good Blog.

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