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Checklist for Opening a Restaurant and Staying Profitable

Opening a restaurant is a life-long dream for many people. For some, they love cooking and would love to show the world their skills, while for others, it’s because the restaurant industry is very lucrative, and they would love to enjoy the many benefits of the business.

However, opening a restaurant and staying profitable is not easy; you have to find a good location, develop a business plan, and create a menu people would love. That is why the restaurant business is not all about money; it’s about achieving your dreams.

If you focus on the money, you might give up after a few challenges, but if it is your passion and ambition to serve your unique ideas to people, you will enjoy every aspect of this business.

Yes, there might be many reasons for you to start a business, but it is essential that you love and enjoy what you do. So if you have made your decision on opening a restaurant, this guide will give you vital information on the things to remember when opening a restaurant.

Choose Your Restaurant Concept and Unique Branding 

Opening a restaurant allows you to sell your unique ideas to people; you must have visited many restaurants and noticed that they all have different concepts and various distinctive things to offer. So the first step to opening a restaurant is to finalize your concept. 

This step is usually fun and exciting because you have the freedom to let your imaginations run wild, bring in anything you can think of, and later decide on what you want to do. Your restaurant concept should include your type of restaurant, interior decor, cuisine style, serving style, etc. 

When deciding on your concept, knowing your target customers would also go a long way in helping your plans. Do you plan on serving students, couples, older people, or families with children? Your concept is would help you decide your location, layout, menu, price, and so many other things as you move forward in this guide.

However, your restaurant branding, on the other hand, should be more specific, unique, and exceptional. 

When you hear about a brand, if all you think about is a name, then you are mistaken. Your restaurant brand should include everything that uniquely describes your business, from your business name to the logo, fonts, menu design, etc. Your brand is simply creating an identity for your restaurant. 

Create Your Menu

If you are a food lover or you love cooking, creating a menu should be a fun and easy task when opening a restaurant. It is best to handle this step early because it would determine the type of equipment and supplies you will get and the type of staff you need. 

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Your restaurant’s menu greatly depends on your target customers and profit margin. Still, you need a menu that would give you a moderate food cost, so it would be best to consult chefs and professionals when creating the menu.

Create a Business Plan

Every business startup needs a good plan; of course, you should know that the importance of planning at any level cannot be over-emphasized.

Your business plan will help you draft and summarize every detail of your business so you can easily introduce it anywhere; it might be to potential investors, loan institutions, etc. Here are some vital details your restaurant business plan should entail. 

  • An overview of every aspect of your restaurant. 
  • A detailed description of your restaurant concept and menu. 
  • An outline of your restaurant’s ownership and management structure. 
  • An estimate of the staff or employees you need. 
  • Your target customers and competitor analysis. 
  • Operation plan including staff management and customer service. 
  • Marketing strategy and financial projections. 

Get Funding 

If you have created your business plan, the next step is getting your restaurant funding. Depending on the type of restaurant you have chosen to open, it might require a huge startup capital or a minimal amount, but funding shouldn’t restrict the plans you have in mind for your dream restaurant. 

So to get the funding, you should first create an estimated budget for your restaurant startup and the cost of running it daily. Also, remember to include other expenses in your startup estimate like the cost of staffing, getting equipment, rent, and licensing.

Some effective ways to get funding for your restaurant business are self-financing, family and friends, direct investors, microfinance banks and private loan institutions. 

Get Licences and Permits

Depending on your country or state, you may need various licenses and permits before opening a restaurant. During this process, it is best to seek help from a legal representative to avoid making mistakes or missing out on an important step.  

  • Liquor license. 
  • Music license. 
  • Health and Safety license. 
  • Shop and establishment act. 
  • Eating house license.
  • Good hygiene practice license. 
  • Private Entertainment and Merriment Permit. 
  • Private Car Park Permit. 
  • Fire department approval. 
  • Signage licence. 
  • Lift clearance. 
  • Environmental clearance.

These are some of the licenses and permits you may need before opening a restaurant.

Preparing and serving food and drinks for people to consume is a very delicate task, so a restaurant must undergo strict scrutiny. Still, it depends on your location, so research the appropriate licensing and permits you need before opening a restaurant.

Choose a Good Location 

This is a very important step when opening a restaurant, so you should consider the following factors before choosing a location. 

  • The cost of living in the area should be moderate because it might affect your labour cost if you want to hire qualified employees. 
  • You should consider the accessibility and visibility of the location so customers can easily find your restaurant. 
  • Study your potential competitors in the area to know if similar restaurants are successful but avoid areas already saturated with the same type of business. 
  • You should consider a location with space for parking and free movement. 
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Design Your Restaurant Layout 

Your layout design is just as important as your chosen location when opening a restaurant. You can get experts to help you design your restaurant layout, interior (including the kitchen), and exterior, but here are a few things to consider. 

  • Create an attractive and elegant internal and external decor for your restaurant.
  • Choose the appropriate restaurant furniture that matches your concept and decor while also considering your desired seating capacity and arrangement style of the restaurant. 
  • Consider cleanability regarding dining room arrangement, flooring, wall fixtures, furniture, etc. 
  • There should be enough space and flat surfaces for all food preparation and meal cooking tasks. 
  • The service area should be close to the kitchen, while the storage area should be close to an exit or the receiving area.

Get the Right Equipment 

Getting the right equipment is crucial when opening a restaurant. It can determine the efficiency of your staff and improve customer satisfaction.

So what is the right equipment to get when opening a restaurant? This will depend on the type of meals you want to prepare and the type of restaurant you want you to intend to run. Here is some essential equipment you need for the smooth running of your restaurant. 

  • Oven and microwave.
  • Serving ware and cookware.
  • Ice maker. 
  • Storage containers. 
  • Mixers and slicers. 
  • Measuring cup. 
  • Food prep counters and cutting boards. 
  • Gas or electric grill and steam table.
  • Beverage dispensers and coffee maker.
  • Freezers and refrigerators. 
  • Point of sale system.
  • Blenders, deep fryer and stove
  • Storage racks and shelving.
  • Kitchen Display System.
  • Dishwasher and dishwasher soap
  • Kitchen utensils and napkins.

Find a Reliable Food Supplier

A consistent and reliable food supplier is what every restaurant needs for a successful operation. You need to put down all the food items, groceries and disposables that you need according to the type of meals you intend to serve in your restaurant and find the right supplier for each of them.

You can enquire from other successful restaurants to know their food supplier and how they operate. 

Working with a food supplier will offer benefits like a discount on bulk purchases, 24/7 availability of food items, and good relationships with related businesses.

Hire a Good Team

The restaurant business is more than just preparing and serving meals; you are in the business of treating people to exceptional and unforgettable experiences. However, these experiences cannot be derived from great meals only, so you must provide the right staff for your restaurant to meet customer satisfaction.

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Your employees should be able to represent your restaurant in the way they respect and interact with customers. Hence, it is important to do thorough interviews and training before you can allow your staff to handle tasks independently. 

Your restaurant staff may include a management team, bar servers, kitchen staff and front-of-house staff. 

Advertise Your Restaurant 

It is not enough to rely on your local customers, immediate family, and friends to gain patronage in your restaurant business. To stay profitable, you must make conscious efforts to create awareness for your restaurant and attract customers from both far and near. 

If you are wondering how you can get the word out about your restaurant, you can start by creating a website that will be a one-stop place for your services and everything your business has to offer. In addition, here are some restaurant marketing ideas you can utilise to take your business to the next level.

Host a Grand Opening 

Congratulations on getting to this point; if you have followed this guide on opening a restaurant till this stage, then your restaurant should be ready for a grand opening. In this step, you can invite your friends, family, and the friends and family of your employees so you can get honest reviews of your services. 

You can also invite people from neighbouring homes and businesses to gain potential customers from your vicinity. Serve these people the way you will serve all your restaurant’s guests and ask for their opinions on your services; you can make corrections.

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Opening a restaurant is a great business idea anywhere in the world because you will be opportune to provide food for people, which is something they need every day. 

If your services are good and your meals taste great, opening a restaurant will be one of the best decisions you would ever make because you will enjoy massive profits and rapid business growth compared to other businesses. 

Hopefully, with this guide on opening a restaurant and staying profitable, you will be able to execute your exceptional restaurant concept and share your passion with the world. 

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