Every great restaurant begins with an idea. That could be a single recipe that an entire menu is built around. It could be a theme that works in a particular environment. Once you formalize that idea, it is time to put it into action. Here are some great tips that will help you thrive in your first years of business.
New restaurant owners will quickly discover all the numerous tasks and decisions they need to make on a regular basis. Each one of those choices will have a direct impact on the success of the restaurant. The following collection of restaurant advice topics provides a valuable checklist for new owners to create a successful operation.
Find Quality Distributors
Quality distributors are among the most important things a new restaurant owner needs to secure. This is essential for procuring all the high-quality ingredients and supplies your menu requires. Without quality distributors, you may never receive the rave reviews your new business desperately needs.
Depending on your restaurant menu, you can seek out distributors specializing in a particular cuisine type. For instance, if your menu reflects those options, you might want to lock down a vendor that focuses on Mexican food distribution. Research online and ask other business owners for the best distributors for your business.
Before you pick a distributor, you want to take time to compare prices. A distributor should be willing to negotiate contracts with you to ensure you’re getting the best value. Remember, if things work out, you’ll be in business with that distributor for a very long time. It is in their interest to work a good deal with you. If a distributor resists making a deal, you should consider a new distributor.
Hire the Right Lawyers
As with any business, you will have to contend with many legal aspects of running a restaurant. That makes hiring the right lawyer a vital piece of restaurant advice to embrace. Your restaurant lawyer can provide support for understanding all the permits, licenses, contracts, and employee regulations. An experienced lawyer helps keep a restaurant in compliance with all the local, state, and federal government regulations.
Your restaurant lawyer will also resolve any legal issues that might arise as part of your business. It is always valuable to have competent legal counsel you can turn to regularly to answer any questions. That includes bankruptcy attorneys if you find yourself in a dire financial situation.
Set Up Your Deliveries
It is a safe bet that your new restaurant will have daily deliveries . You could also receive propane deliveries and fresh linen drop-offs along with all your food deliveries. Your restaurant operation needs to designate a staff member to facilitate those deliveries.
There should never be a ‘surprise’ delivery. That is a good restaurant advice topic that can help you focus on how to process those deliveries. Someone on your staff needs to accept delivery only after inspecting the items. That same staff member needs to designate where the deliveries go. You don’t want boxes piling up by the front door.
Know How to Get Rid of Garbage
Your restaurant will create a lot of garbage every day. You want to embrace this restaurant advice: Proper waste management is essential for maintaining cleanliness and complying with health regulations. It would help if you familiarized yourself with local waste management guidelines. That will help you establish a system to handle waste effectively.
You can partner with a waste management company specializing in the restaurant industry. They can provide guidance on waste disposal practices and recycling initiatives. That could include a dumpster service for pickup and disposal. The right waste management company will help you maintain a clean and sustainable operation.
Have a Safe Building
All your employees and customers expect to work and dine in a safe environment. Ensuring the safety of your employees and customers is paramount in the restaurant industry. One of the most important pieces of restaurant advice is to set up regular inspections of your business. Those inspections can involve a certified plumber, electrician, or roofing contractor. The goal is to identify issues before they become a problem.
In addition to those inspections, you will also want to install and maintain fire safety equipment. That includes extinguishers and smoke detectors. Finally, your staff will need training with proper safety protocols. Do they know how to operate a fire extinguisher? Do they know what to do with a grease fire? They should!
Creating a safe environment extends to slip and fall prevention. There should be a rapid response to any spill on the floor. That will keep your staff and customers safe.
Know How to Meet Your Needs
Here is one piece of restaurant advice you might not have considered: The soft opening. This is when you have everything in place and are ready to launch but need to put your staff through a ‘shake-down cruise.’ This is where you invite guests, let them order from your menu, and see how your staff reacts.
Your soft opening will reveal all the areas that need improvement, from the point of sales equipment to the specific menu items. You will also discover all the operational issues needed to keep your restaurant business running smoothly. For instance, who will you source for all your linens? Do they have the right commercial laundry equipment to keep up with the demands of your restaurant business?
Keep Your Menu Fresh
Another important restaurant advice tip concerns your menu. Updating your restaurant’s menu periodically is an essential aspect of keeping your offerings fresh and exciting for your customers. To update your menu, take the time to analyze customer feedback. What dishes sell out on a regular basis? Which dishes are rarely ordered? Just because you like something doesn’t mean it always belongs on the menu.
You can keep your menu fresh by adding new dishes that reflect current culinary trends. There might be needs of your customer base, such as vegan or gluten-free options you can add. Refreshing your menu keeps your regular customers engaged and attracts new patrons looking for unique dining experiences. Remember to strike a balance between introducing new items and maintaining signature dishes that have become customer favorites.
Expand Take-Out and Delivery
The pandemic hit the restaurant industry hard. The restaurants that survived pivoted to outdoor dining and expanded their take-out and delivery options. Providing convenient ways for customers to enjoy your food outside of your physical establishment opens up new avenues for revenue and expands your customer base.
Many delivery companies can support your restaurant business without hiring additional staff. Embracing take-out and delivery options can give your restaurant a competitive edge in today’s ever-evolving dining landscape. That kind of restaurant advice can be extremely lucrative, even for a small eatery.
Create Special Promotions
Going out to dine is a popular option for families and couples to celebrate special occasions and holidays. Implementing occasional promotions, especially during special holidays, is a strategic approach to attracting new customers and retaining existing ones for your restaurant business. These special promotions can include a fixed menu option. That will help you maintain food costs and make it easy for your staff to keep up with. These fixed menus work great for Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Mother’s Day.
Promotions around holidays also tap into the festive spirit and capitalize on increased consumer spending during these periods. By designing fixed menus that showcase seasonal ingredients and unique dishes, you can pique the interest of food enthusiasts and entice them to choose your restaurant over competitors. Additionally, promotions allow you to show off your restaurant. You could promote a specialty cocktail or new menu item. These kinds of promotions lead to positive word-of-mouth recommendations and increased visibility.
Be sure to take full advantage of all your social media outlets to promote these special offerings. You should use social media daily with appetizing photos of the food that leaves your kitchen. By incorporating occasional promotions, particularly during special holidays, you can enhance customer engagement, boost sales, and solidify your restaurant’s reputation as a go-to destination for memorable dining experiences.
Give Your Restaurant Curb Appeal
First impression matters to a restaurant business. That first impression for your customers begins at the curb. What impression will your restaurant give out? You want to invest in curb appeal to attract potential customers who drive or walk by your restaurant. Will they think it is appealing?
Another vital piece of restaurant advice to embrace is to keep your restaurant front clean and inviting. Maintaining commercial glass store fronts can involve hiring professional window cleaners. If you have outdoor seating, you want those areas to always be clean. It would help if you also looked for opportunities to reinforce your restaurant brand through proper signage.
Have Your Plumbing Figured Out
It only takes on the clogged toilet or kitchen sink backup to bring an entire restaurant option to a halt. Take this restaurant advice to heart: Have your plumbing figured out. That means locking down a reputable plumber before there is a problem. You don’t want to scramble to find a plumber when sinks are overflowing.
It will also help if your choice of plumber conducts regular inspections and drain cleaning. This is especially important in a restaurant that uses a lot of cooking oils that could make their way down the drain. If your restaurant uses an independent septic system, you want to set up regular septic service cleaning. Maintaining your plumbing is also important in complying with food safety regulations.
Maintain a Comfortable Environment
Creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere is crucial for enhancing your customers’ dining experience. Pay attention to the interior design, lighting, and acoustics of your restaurant. You want to choose comfortable seating and arrange your tables to optimize space and provide privacy for your customers. Proper lighting is also a consideration. The right lighting can set the mood and create an inviting ambiance. That will attract customers and keep them coming back.
Your restaurant’s comfortable atmosphere depends on your HVAC system. This is where hiring the right AC companies come into play. That company should inspect your restaurant’s heating and air conditioning at every change of season. That is the kind of restaurant advice that can help you save money in the long run. Your staff and guests will also appreciate it. Nobody likes to eat or work in a stuffy and hot environment. Conversely, sitting in a freezing dining room can make for an incredibly unpleasant dining experience and will leave your staff irritated.
Eliminating pests is not a random restaurant advice that should be ignored. Pests can be a significant nuisance and health hazard in the restaurant industry. You want to implement a comprehensive pest control plan to prevent infestations and protect your reputation.
How would you feel about visiting a restaurant closed because of a rodent or pest infestation? You don’t want a cellphone video of a rat scurrying about in your establishment to go viral!+ You can avoid damage to your business by engaging with a commercial exterminator to inspect and treat your premises regularly. It will also help to train your staff on proper food handling and storage practices. to minimize the risk of attracting pests. Keeping your restaurant clean will go a long way to eliminate potential pest problems.
Make It Work
Starting a new restaurant is a challenging but rewarding venture. It is also a venture that can’t be done alone. You want to build an effective team that shares in your vision for success. That team will include all the outside vendors who will share in your establishment’s success, too.
Setting the right foundation is sure to set you up for success. If you have great food, excellent service, and a clean space, the good reviews are sure to come in. By focusing on these key areas, you can establish a strong foundation for your restaurant’s growth and ensure its long-term success. Good luck with your new restaurant!