7 Tips for Opening a Successful Restaurant

By Kevin Devoto | restaurant | July 28, 2022

If you love cooking for other people, you may have considered opening your own restaurant. Yet running a diner, a fast-casual eatery, or an upscale restaurant is a lot different from serving food at family gatherings. You must worry about training new employees and getting proper permits. Once you open, you will likely have to deal with impatient customers who have specific dietary restrictions.

It is thus no surprise that nearly 20 percent of restaurants fail within 12 months. However, if you follow the below tips, your restaurant will have a greater chance of success.

1. Create a Unique Concept

Before shopping for a space or purchasing high-quality restaurant equipment, you must decide your concept. It should be something different that customers cannot find anywhere else in your city.

2. Design an Inviting Space That Matches Your Concept

Once you pick your concept, you should understand the type of experience you want each customer to have in your restaurant. The atmosphere should match that experience. Every detail, from the artwork to the tablecloths, should give off a specific vibe. A loud sports bar with elegant napkins and silverware could confuse customers.

The layout of the restaurant should also be comfortable and appealing without negatively affecting the productivity of your staff. Be sure the table arrangement allows everyone to freely move through the dining room. If you choose to install a bar, it should be placed away from the traditional seating area so the bar-goers do not disturb the other diners.

3. Avoid Hiring Over-Qualified People

As you review resumes, you may be tempted to hire people with tons of experience. However, they may quickly get bored and jump to a better opportunity with another restaurant if they are over-qualified. Instead, look for individuals who have the qualifications you need yet also have room to move up within the company. Ideally, these people will stay with your restaurant for many years.

4. Ensure You Serve Consistently Great Food

In the end, people come to restaurants expecting quality food. If they do not enjoy their meal, they will not be back for a second one.

Serving great dishes on opening night is not sufficient, either. You need to serve food that tastes the same day after day. Customers will discover their favorite dishes and request those meals each time they come to the restaurant. If they find that the food is saltier or spicier than it was during a previous outing, they may complain or refuse to return.

To ensure your menu is consistently delicious, pick items that are easy to execute. This is particularly important if you will be relying on low-salaried kitchen staff who do not have experience making complex dishes.

5. Consider Your Capital Needs Carefully

Figuring out how much money you need to open your restaurant is not enough. You should also think about how much capital will be required to keep the location running during its first few months. After all, you likely will not be profitable during that time. Work with a financial advisor to project your restaurant’s expenses and earnings over the first 12 to 15 months of operation. Be sure you have enough capital on hand before you invite in customers.

6. Know When Not To Cut Corners

When figuring out your budget, there are certain places where you can cut corners. However, you should not skimp on anything that affects the guest experience. The bathrooms should be comfortable, and the air conditioning should work during even the hottest summer months.

7. Advertise Effectively

You could have the best food in the world, but it will not matter if no one comes to your restaurant. Post mouth-watering images of your meals on social media to get the customers’ interest. You could also increase word of mouth by giving your guests coasters or pens with your company logo on them.

Even top chefs can struggle to keep their restaurants afloat. Yet by following the above tips, your odds of failing should decrease.