So you've got the idea to start the next 8bit, Messina, or Maha. And you’ve probably already heard the standard advice of “get a great chef, great concept, great location”... don't worry, we'll help with some of the ideas that you might not have thought about.
Check out these high priority tips that are often overlooked to start your restaurant:
1. Establish a Killer Business and Marketing Plan
What came first the chicken or the egg? Some business owners are so excited for the adventure, they jump ahead and begin realizing the concepts in their heads without proper planning. Take those great ideas and write them down in a proper business and marketing plan. The Australian governement provides plenty of guidence on this, check it out here.
To start a restaurant, you’re going to need a good chunk of change and your business plan should contain details about how this will be raised and consequently spent. Market research about competitors, target customers and budget projections should also be included.
Next, it’s essential to form a good marketing plan to match. While there’s plenty of ways to get on the right track, starting off by spreading the word is a good way to kick it all off. Try:
- joining local business associations and communities.
- giving out food samples at community events or markets.
- offering discounts to new customers.
- using your own social media platforms.
- always-on marketing solution for customer acqusition and retention such as Liven, to leverage publicity and heighten your profile.
2. Door to Door Market Research
Gain helpful, inside information and hone your local knowledge by talking with your neighbouring businesses and peers you aspire to become. Yes, we know this is a little sneaky, but it's the cheapest and most effective way to do market research! You’ll get ideas of how to do things right (and wrong). There’s a lot to learn from those around you!
3. Scale Up Slowly
It’s really tempting to want to burst onto the restaurant scene with the latest kitchen gadgets. But unless you have very deep pockets, much of your initial capital will need to go towards establishing the basics and getting a foothold with good marketing. Utilise your profits to buy equipment or hire more staff when needed, and not in haste.
4. Expect to lose money for at least six months
No restaurant is an overnight success. It can take months, and sometimes years, to turn a profit. Ensure you’re not going to be forced to shut up shop before you’ve had a chance to flourish by keeping your expectations realistic. When in doubt, remember your business plan and keep it in check.
Read more in our artcile on the 5 top operational fails to avoid.