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Opening a new restaurant – The essential checklist to start up success

Opening a restaurant is an exciting time to kick off your journey as a business owner, and we want to make sure it’s thriving. There are a number of things you can do right now to ensure that your big opening will be a success and customers keep rolling in as you serve up delicious food to the masses.

1. Your distinctive concept

Determine your unique idea as a key guide to help you align your branding with everything you do; from the interior design, your messaging, menu items and more. This goes hand in hand with market research, spotting potential gaps in the market in your location, and having something unique to offer. Whether it’s a unique ambience, entertaining service, exotic menu items or a themed component, a unique characteristic is essential in our opening a restaurant checklist to not only align your message but stand out against potential competitors.

2. Put together a business plan

There are a huge number of tasks you’ll need to complete and refine when opening a restaurant and you’ll need to put together an action plan to work off of. From investors, budgeting and menu creation to staff hire, management structure and more, a business plan is a vital prerequisite before you take your first order. An action plan will function as your customised checklist to expand on and refine covering an executive summary, description and market analysis.

3. Find the right location

Location means a whole lot when it comes to the restaurant gig; much like buying your first house, it’ll require you to check out the spots you’re considering and ensure that the potential for demand is high, whether by taking the time to get to know the community and measure interest or scoping out the competition. When you’ve determined your target customer base in your business plan, location will play a key factor in ensuring that you’re offering something distinct and in-demand unique to your location, keeping in mind basic factors including accessibility.

4. What goes into your Menu

Creating your menu is one of the more exciting parts in your dedicated opening a restaurant checklist and where you get to flex your vision and branding to the fill. This will inevitably link to your branding, but it’ll also affect logistics; from what equipment you will need to purchase to targeting your market audience and pricing to stay competitive. This will also require you to take into account the cost of goods, profit margins, restaurant inventory management and a range of other key metrics, reporting you’ll need access to so it’s a good idea to stay flexible when creating your menu.

5. Get the right POS system

Your point of sale experience can affect the running of your entire business. With the right restaurant pos systems, you’ll be able to expand your capabilities beyond just the outdated legacy systems or overused excel spreadsheets. Using a table ordering service as well as our online click and collect platform Goodeats, you’ll be able to automate a whole host of processes.

And perhaps most importantly, table management features are tailor-made to answer restaurant-specific demands and help your staff navigate orders via table layout which you can customise to match your specific seating. This means your staff can access all order information while staying mobile and implementing the latest restaurant payment technology.

6. Funding and finances

The capital needed to open a restaurant is often more than people expect. If you consider that your budget will have to account for the venue, equipment, marketing and keep-up, not to mention that it will often take a couple of years for your restaurant to simply break-even, you’ll want to acquire a sizable budget to cover the expenses necessary.

Investors are therefore key to providing you with the working capital and your fleshed-out business plan will provide further security for those interested in partnering with you; whether that’s a bank, private investors or companies. There’ll also be a number of business loans available to you that you can consider.

7. Hire your team

Your staff are walking and talking representations of your brand and you’ll want to be selective in the hiring process. From waiters to chefs and managers, there’ll be a fair amount of positions to be filled depending on the size and demand of your restaurant and the recruitment can be lengthy so it’s always a good idea to get the process started ahead of time.

You’ll be able to use job boards, referrals, career sites and recruitment agencies to find talent and if you’re unsure about the level of restaurant demand you’ll see, you can always opt for several contractual short-term employees to fill in when needed.

It’s important to treat this as a fully-fledged interview process; craft a job description and communicate your essentials and ideals, prepare interview questions and have a vetting process in place including reference checks.

So prepare, prepare, prepare

Opening a restaurant is a huge undertaking but with the potential to be lucrative and a dream for many entrepreneurs! There’ll always be unexpected obstacles, a whole lot of ‘putting out flames’ and managing priorities which is why our opening a restaurant checklist can make all the difference to help you get organised.