Starting your own restaurant is a hugely exciting project, however there are also many aspects of it that can be very daunting. We have all heard the claim that nine out of ten restaurants are doomed to failure before they have even really begun, and, however inaccurate this may be, it is still a tough business where the same mistakes are made time and time again. There are so many things to think about when starting up your own restaurant that often it can become a little overwhelming. But if you do proper research and careful planning there is no reason why your restaurant won’t succeed. Here are five of the most common mistakes that new restaurant start ups make, and, perhaps more importantly, how to avoid them!
Not understanding your market
While this may seem a no-brainer to many, understanding your market, your customers, and who you are targeting cannot be emphasised enough. One of the most common mistakes for new restaurant owners is thinking that everyone will love the menu and love their vision. but you can’t please everyone. So before you do anything else think about what kind of restaurant you want to run, and what kind of customer you are hoping to attract. Every other decision you make should have your customer in mind. Be honest with yourself. Your restaurant isn’t going to be everyone’s ideal place, and that’s OK. Simply pick your target market, put yourself in their shoes and go from there. Everything from the kind of food you serve, the speed of service, the art and decor, the lighting and tables, your portion sizes and price should have been thoroughly thought out with your customer in mind. Be specific, think carefully about each and every detail and you will soon see the customers flocking through your door.
Having a complicated menu
One of the most frequent reasons a restaurant fails is because of their menu. Many new starters in the restaurant business believe that more is better and because of that design a huge and varied menu offering anything and everything their customers might want to eat. But this approach can be hugely damaging to a business. Think about it. When you dine out do you really want to spend hours reading through pages and pages of different dishes, struggling to choose and then, most likely, being disappointed with the results? A huge sprawling menu makes it so much harder for chefs to focus and practice. Having to cook many different dishes under pressure is hugely challenging and can see basic mistakes being made, which leaves customers feeling dissatisfied. Instead why not create a menu with fewer options? You can still provide variety, but this way can have your chefs focus on creating brilliant dishes cooked to perfection each and every time. A smaller menu means having to order less ingredients, and produce less waste which will save you money too.
Not planning properly
Opening a restaurant takes time, money, and planning. It is so important to work out all your costs before you start, not doing so could ruin your business. You need to research the costs of everything, as well as make sensible and modest projections for how much income you are likely to achieve, especially in the first few months. Creating a successful restaurant business doesn’t happen overnight, and it is unlikely you will see any profits at the beginning so you need to factor this in. There are some great software packages out there that can help you with financial planning. You just need to put the time in to ensure you are thorough, and that you have not only enough money to start up your restaurant, but also to keep it going during quieter periods.
Not putting the correct procedures in place
Upset and frustration can easily be avoided by having proper systems in place. A great deal of restaurant management is logging tasks, listing stocks, and keeping track of costs. If you are organised and consistent, and you train your staff to be the same then you can avoid making mistakes which could cost you big. Everything from staff schedules, health and safety procedures, food preparation guidelines, and cleaning restaurants should be documented, and each and every staff member should be aware of the procedures and trained to follow them correctly. Without proper rules, systems and procedures in place restaurants can quickly become disorganised and chaotic, which will make it difficult to keep your business running smoothly.
Advertising yourself too early
Word of mouth is everything, and while you may be raring to go, and extremely proud and excited about your new restaurant opening, it may not be the best idea to have a grand opening on the actual day that you open. You only get one chance with restaurant critics and making a fantastic first impression on your customers is essential to ensure they come back for more. If you go all out marketing your grand opening, and suddenly have a fully booked restaurant with orders flying in on the first day, you may not cope well. Practise makes perfect, so why not wait a few weeks until you feel really confident and have sorted out any teething problems? Then you can contact influential people to come and dine at your restaurant, and hopefully they will give you a truly glowing review!
Having the right systems in place is so important, next let’s take a look at the advantages of having a Point of Sale system in your restaurant.