There is no shortage of ideas when opening a restaurant, and that’s why we want to present you the 15 tips that we think are the most important when embarking on the adventure of catering. We are aware that this is a major challenge. Luckily, today we have the information and tools we need to be successful.
If you are taking your first steps in the sector and have decided to take on the challenge of opening a restaurant, congratulations on having bet on gastronomy and participating in this great adventure. Here is our welcome gift: 15 ideas to make everything go smoothly from day one!
1. Offer a one-of-a-kind offer or a flagship product that will set you apart from the competition. You can bet on specialization, for example by opening a hamburger restaurant, specializing in meat dishes, offering ultra-fresh seafood or a superb range of green vegetables. The main thing is to choose an aspect that stands out from the crowd and sets you apart from the rest.
2. Carefully define the profile of your prospects. Depending on the gastronomic offer you have chosen and the type of your establishment, it is essential to have a very precise idea of the future customers you want to attract: who are they, and what are their tastes and habits? You must therefore establish a detailed robot portrait indicating the age group, gender, purchasing power, culinary preferences, needs, style and philosophy of life of your prospects, and focus your actions from the start. based on the resulting customer profile.
3. Take into account the preferences of your prospects. It is said that the percentage of new establishments that succeed is not very high. One of the reasons is that they don’t necessarily consider the needs of their customers. Today the situation has changed. For an establishment to survive, whatever its activity, it is essential to think about the customer and the means to satisfy him. What are your prospects looking for when they go to a restaurant? A memorable experience, good value for money, personalized attention… These are points that must be kept in mind.
4. Choose a strategic address based on your prospects. The rule is that a restaurant can accommodate different types of customers, including passing customers. The ideal is to locate in a popular or very busy area. However, it all depends on the category of your prospects. If your prospects are, for example, people aged 25 to 35 working in offices, setting up your restaurant in a business area seems more relevant.
5. Develop a solid business plan. If you have a properly defined roadmap from day 1, your restaurant will be successful more quickly. For your business plan, you must in particular take into account the following 3 variables:
1 – Calculate the derived costs resulting from compliance with all your administrative obligations. These costs include the price of permits and licenses to open a restaurant, as well as safety and health facilities. Some entrepreneurs underestimate the costs of these steps, but they are essential to start on a good basis.
2 – Correctly define the real capacity of the restaurant , that is to say the number of customers that you can receive at each service according to the surface of the establishment. You will be able to calculate the production capacity and know how to make profitable your spaces.
3 – Calculate with exactitude the prices of your offer according to the costs of production , distribution, storage, etc., so that the sales receipts correspond to at least the double of these expenses.
6. Hire staff who are passionate about gastronomy. This rule seems obvious, but many restaurants nevertheless hire people who work only to survive, whose only objective is to have a salary and who have no particular interest in the restaurant business. It is therefore better to apply a rigorous selection process and hire people who are genuinely motivated by the profession.
7. Carefully analyze the competition. The best solution to distinguish yourself in such a mass of restaurants is to know their offer, their behavior with their customers, their strategies, as well as their weak points or their limits. You will be able to draw inspiration from your competitors, borrow some of their good ideas and avoid the pitfalls that made them lose money.
8. Develop a marketing plan. It is vital to develop a plan detailing the various actions to be carried out to promote the restaurant and attract the first customers you will receive. Here are some suggestions for possible actions: offer welcome cocktails, run special promotions for your opening, post ads on Facebook or ads on Instagram to make yourself known … Group all these actions in a table and organize them. by deadlines, objectives, responsible for actions, etc.
9. Publish your profiles on the various digital channels. Nowadays, it is essential to be present on the various digital channels in order to constantly attract customers. The basic rules are as follows: you must have a profile on Google to appear in searchers, another profile on TripAdvisor , the world’s largest traveler website, a profile on a restaurant portal like TheFork to increase your visibility and receive online reservations, at least one profile on social networks (Facebook, Instagram), and of course have your own website, which must provide all the information about your establishment.
10. Craft a map that sells. To make your menu a success, you have at your disposal a few neuromarketing tips , which consist, for example, in positioning products at strategic places in the menu, in using names and descriptions of dishes that will make your mouth water. your customers, to insert appetizing photos of your featured dishes or to choose colors that stimulate the appetite. If, as soon as your restaurant opens, you have concocted a menu designed to sell well, you are leaving with a head start.
11. Equip yourself with technological tools. Write down reservations in a notebook? Out of the question ! Today, there is a whole range of tools on the market that speed up and optimize restaurant management. This is precisely TheFork’s mission: to create tools that allow establishments, and in particular those who are just starting out, to be fully booked most of the time.
Our tool, TheFork Manager is software that allows you to manage multiple functions within a single platform, for example reservations, customer database, table occupancy rate, and so on. Click here to integrate it into your establishment from day 1.
12. Plan products for customers with special needs. Besides your main offer, it is now very important to take into account changes in consumption habits and to adapt to them as much as possible. You must take into account the increase in the number of clients with celiac disease or suffering from food intolerances, and the growing predominance of healthy eating, now chosen as a lifestyle by many. The fact of offering several gluten-free or lactose- free products , as well as vegetarian dishes, is a good asset to differentiate yourself.
13. Choose a more natural decoration and in the spirit of current trends. If you use eco-friendly materials for your decoration, such as wood, stone or bamboo, customers will feel right at home and want to linger. Another powerful pull factor that appeals to customers today is to install an open kitchen , as it allows them to watch the spectacle of the food being prepared.
14. Choose good suppliers. Another current trend is that of collaboration with good local suppliers, which guarantee you 0 kilometer products, fresher and more natural. This choice also helps to lower transport costs and promotes local trade. If you are using local suppliers, a great strategy is to let customers know about it, because it is a highly valued quality.
15. Calculate the restaurant’s carbon footprint. Customers also greatly appreciate that the restaurant is aware of the impact of its activity on the environment and that it applies measures to reduce it from the start, for example by using recyclable dishes, by limiting its waste, by applying a recycling policy, etc. If your establishment puts this philosophy into practice, don’t forget to let your customers know.
If you were asking yourself “what do I need to open a restaurant?” You should have found the answer in this article. We hope to have made you want to get started without further delay. It is undeniable that our industry is exciting and if new restaurants open with a bet on success, we all stand to gain. Now it’s your turn !