How to Open, Operate and Grow Your Restaurant

For many soon-to-become restaurant owners, one of the most complex tasks is figuring out from where to start. In order to ease the whole process, make sure to divide it into three separate steps – opening, running and growing your restaurant. Make sure to focus thoroughly on each and every one, but do not look at them as individual, isolated milestones.

Step 1. How to open your restaurant

This is the most complex part of the process. Here you should lay the foundations and shape your business concept. Make sure to spend enough time on initial planning as that way you are defining your plans and setting the initial prerequisites for a future success.

Start with a business plan

You should focus on developing an in-depth business plan that highlights the path you want to take. It will help you clearly define your strategy and plan each and every part of your future business – from figuring out the name, brand identity, and marketing strategy, through finding funding, obtaining licenses and designing the floor plan, right to optimizing the processes and day-to-day operations within the restaurant.

Bear in mind that more than 60 percent of new businesses in the restaurant industry can’t make it through the first year. If you want to be a part of the other 40 percent, do your homework and create a thorough and in-depth business plan. After you are finished, have it reviewed by multiple independent sources – the best thing here is to consult some industry professionals.

Obtain licenses and state approvals

No one likes to do the paperwork, yet if you want to open a restaurant, you just can’t avoid it. You won’t find a universal recipe how to handle all this as each and every state has its own procedures and requirements that you should adhere to. Yet, if you check the list of the licenses and permits that you need to obtain in order to open your business, you will find out that it is pretty much the same for all states. Do not make the mistake to underrate the procedure of getting the approvals as it can be very time-consuming and may significantly slow down the process. Start dealing with the paperwork as soon as you figure out the location of your future restaurant.

Step 2. How to professionally run your restaurant

You have the needed funding, obtained all permits and are now ready to welcome your first customer but you get that slight feeling of not being entirely ready. Do not worry – this is most probably just stage fright. Consider the following two questions:

Are you ready to predict and satisfy the needs of your customers?

You should be willing to innovate and offer something unique to be able to turn the customer’s visit into an unforgettable experience. It does not matter what drives this experience – be it a unique part of the interior, a wonderful component of your menu, a specific atmosphere or etc. – you just have to make sure that the customer will remember your place. That way, as soon as he leaves your restaurant, you will be getting a positive rating or be shared on social media. If you want a recipe for satisfying the needs of your customers, let it be this – be inspiring and creative.

Do you offer high-quality service?

Your restaurant may be the place with best burgers around town, but if you do not back the delicious food or beverages with high-quality service, you will significantly diminish the overall customer experience. From your staff, through the payment processing services, it is very important to provide the visitor with all that he needs in order to feel comfortable. And most importantly – don’t try to be that “one-place-for-all” restaurant – you will most probably fail. Instead tailor your service to important demographic factors such as the preferences of the most popular groups among your customers, their age, needs and etc. Just think about it that way – you can’t be unique in everything, right? Seamless, high-quality service leaves long-term memories that your visitors will want to share with their friends and colleagues.

Step 3. How to grow your restaurant

Growing your business does not mean adding more space or additional tables. Just the opposite – it means retaining the unique concept of your restaurant, while at the same time making it run more efficiently. Or in other words – process optimization. Focus on the following three factors:

Business analytics

Start analyzing the trends among your customer base and identify some useful behavioral patterns, so that you can optimize and better tailor your services. For example – check which is the most preferred item on your menu and offer periodical discounts on it.  People will be surprised and pleased.

If you analyze your reports and find out that each morning there is a queue for coffee at your place, optimize the process. Install a self-order Kiosk and replace the cashier with another barista. That way you will be able to double the speed at which your orders are processed. Apart from the increased sales, you will achieve something even more important – you will save the precious time of your customers. They will surely appreciate that.

Enhance your business through Fintech

If you haven’t planned on bringing your business to the digital era when making your initial business plan, make sure to focus on it as an efficient growth strategy. When thinking about how to grow your restaurant business, focus on the entire process – the things you have control of and those you don’t. Focus on the order and payment processes as these are the factors that you can optimize. One of the proven ways to achieve that and thus – grow your business, is to increase its efficiency by investing in a cloud-based POS system. A Point-of-Sale system will guarantee numerous advantages for your business, such as:

  • Reduced cost of labor
  • Increased sales
  • Ease of payment processing
  • Staff management and inventory control
  • Reporting features

A cloud-based POS system will allow you to enhance your business by adding a self-ordering option, digital version of your menu, wide variety of payment methods and etc. That way you will be able to provide the customers with the option to feel free to order or pay comfortably, without having to wait, which will drastically improve their experience.

Stick to your strategy, but look-forward as well

With more than 645 000 currently active business units, the US restaurant industry is not the easiest niche to start your business. Yet, there is no better feeling than turning your idea into a running and respected restaurant. In order to do that, you should be willing to adopt a more progressive approach and not be afraid to be innovative.