Keys To A Successful Restaurant Before You Open Your Doors Series 1

Your Business Concept For A Successful Restaurant

When I consult with restaurant owners, oftentimes, the failing restaurants are the ones that didn’t invest in planning as much as they should have prior to opening their doors. Because of this, I’m creating this series to inform and help potential and current owners create successful restaurant concepts. I would be immensely pleased if even one restaurant owner benefited from reading this. 

Every successful restaurant owner has an idea or concept before opening their establishment. What makes successful restaurant owners different is that they formulate a detailed plan in advance. They also estimate how much they will spend on the different aspects of their future business. Many failing owners save up a certain amount of money and purchase a restaurant already on the downslide. They do this without knowing how much each component of the struggling business will cost or even what the necessary components are to make the restaurant successful. Many successful restaurant owners plan for success by asking themselves hard questions like the ones I will talk about below.

What Restaurant Type and Service Style Do You Picture For Your New Establishment? 

Before you pick your location, ask yourself whether you want fast food, takeout/delivery, table service, or a food truck. Sure, you can choose a location first, but keep in mind that you will be limited to certain concepts. You will have to adjust yours to match that location, unless your first concept already fits well with that location. For example, if you wanted an upscale Mediterranean restaurant but you have already chosen your location and it’s in a low-income area, that most likely would not draw enough customers to sustain your business. In this case, I suggest you still keep the Mediterranean-style cuisine but gear it towards more affordable takeout and delivery. This will set you up for a higher chance of having a successful restaurant.

What Will Make Your successful restaurant Different From Your Competitors? 

If you make your cuisine just like all of your competitors, people will go to the restaurant where the food is the cheapest. It won’t matter to them whether it’s yours or your competitor’s. This is why you will often see several businesses competing to keep prices low and offering discounts to attract the public. In these cases, customers often alternate between different restaurants, depending on where they can get a better deal. Customers who can’t differentiate your restaurant from your competitor’s will most often complain when the price goes up and not stay loyal to your brand. 

When I consult with restaurant owners, I mention two aspects that are a must to make their restaurants successful. First, it’s all about the delivery! This means that how your present your cuisine is just as important as your ingredients. Second, you need to make delicious food that few can make at home. Ideally, you want to make something that most people can’t duplicate, even if they tried. For instance, you can try to make a McDonald’s Whopper at home, but realistically, it will never taste the same. 

What Menu Items Do You Want To Serve? 

Creating your menu should come long before you choose your location. You also have to consider the types of ingredients that will go into each menu item. For instance, will you use all organic products? Will your ingredients be imported from another country? Or, will you use cheaper ingredients and add more spices and sauces to cover up those cheap ingredients? 

These key factors will dramatically influence where your location should be because, let’s face it, if you have the highest quality ingredients—which are organically raised, etc—a low-income area won’t be right for you. You wouldn’t be able to adequately cover the costs of running a successful restaurant. Another big factor is the delivery availability of healthy produce due to huge problems we currently have in America. There are many food deserts in low-income areas, which means there is a lack of supermarkets and grocery stores in these places. 

Will You Be Selling Alcohol?

Here is where it can get difficult and expensive, because not everyone is allowed to sell alcohol. As you know, you need a license to serve alcohol, and most of the time you can’t apply for a new alcohol license because it’s primarily based on the population of the town. Many people will try to buy a liquor license from an establishment that is willing to sell their liquor license. Because most liquor licenses are privately sold, no one knows the exact number of these licenses. We’ve done our research and asked many of our clients about it. It’s been said that they’ve heard of liquor licenses being sold as high as in the millions. 

But wait! Don’t lose hope just yet, because there is an alternative to help your successful restaurant! Thanks to the development of new wine-based substitutes for gin, tequila, vodka, rum, and whiskey, you can now sell cocktails with a simple beer and wine license. They don’t contain a high percentage of alcohol like the real-deal liquor, but they taste the same. Acquiring a beer and wine license is easier to obtain and much less expensive. Otherwise, you can still have a successful restaurant by being a BYOB establishment. This would put you in a special category because many people specifically look up BYOB restaurants as their restaurant of choice.

Who Are Your Psychographics/Demographics and Where Do You Want the Location Of Your successful restaurant To Be?

Yes, I said Psychographics/Demographics. Most marketing, especially restaurant marketing, is primarily about which people are interested in your cuisine. Many marketers just focus on demographics, but in reality, this is too limited. Will a 25-year-old not want to go to an establishment that is priced higher than other places? Is a 25-year-old going to like pizza more than a 50-year-old? In a certain area, more 50-year-olds may love pizza than 25-year-olds. If you aren’t aware of it, you might foolishly avoid an area to put your pizza shop because there aren’t as many younger people. 

There are many more factors that go into being able to properly market to the subset of people most likely to come to your establishment and finding a location where your ideal population will be. Psychographics has proven to be more important than demographics for a successful restaurant. That is the reason Facebook Ads work so well. Golden Web Media uses mainly psychographics when creating social media ads to help its successful restaurant clients be more successful. If you want to open a NY Giants bar, it would be a bad idea to open that bar in Philadelphia. Not only will you not get customers, you may even get a few death threats! 

Now that you have a better idea of how you want your successful restaurant to look, you have a better idea of which areas you may want to open a restaurant in. You also have a better estimate in regards to how much money you will need based on location leases in the area, the cost of delivering ingredients to that area, etc.

By: Mina Ibrahim

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