The restaurant industry is huge. There are more than a million restaurants employing about ten percent of the workforce. The sector is growing and it’s likely to employ another one and a half million people ten years from now. Roughly half of all adults have worked in the restaurant industry, and half of those surveyed said they’d like to own their own restaurant one day.
So, if you want to be successful in the restaurant business, it’s not only essential that you have a solid concept but also that you understand how to bring it to fruition as well. Here are a few tips on how to bring your restaurant concept to reality.
Plan How to Test Your Idea
Just because you have what you think is a great recipe, it doesn’t mean others will like it, much less pay for it. Try to test your idea out with a real audience. Maybe you could offer your product on a food truck and see how much people like it, rather than trying to open a full restaurant with the hefty overhead. Or, try to get a spot at a food fair and gather people’s reactions. In every case, research the market and listen to public opinion.
Do the Math
You have a restaurant concept. That doesn’t mean you’re ready to build a whole restaurant on the idea. You might get carried away with the interior design while failing to pay attention to the finances. You need a business plan that addresses capital expenses you need just to open, cost estimates of what it takes to stay open, and realistic projections for income.
Start the Brand with the Name
Your restaurant’s name is likely its first impression with would-be customers. It needs to match your brand concept. Test potential restaurant names with a variety of people so that your restaurant name evokes the image you want them to have. There are survey companies that can do this for you, removing the bias that could come in when you ask your friends and family.
Know What You’re Selling and How to Sell It
Whether you’re raising capital with an investor or marketing your business to the public, you need to be able to explain your concept in less than sixty seconds. Pick your cuisine and plan your menu. You can try to add a twist on the cuisine or some sort of selling point like “sustainably sourced” or “farm to table”, but don’t try to be all things to all people.
If you are offering something unusual to the public, have easily recognized items on the menu too, to make people comfortable trying your dishes. And have a few things on the menu that stand out so that it catches people’s attention. If your menu and your décor look like everyone else, there’s no reason to come to your place versus somewhere else. Doing something as simple as switching to rustic restaurant table tops could really give your restaurant’s interior personality.
Be smart in how you market your business. You need to start promoting your business several months before you open so that people show up when the doors open. Understand that it takes time to build traction via social media and traditional media. Then you have to market the business on a continuous basis to keep people coming in.
Your restaurant may center on the food, but that’s only one of the things you need to work out when turning your restaurant concept into reality. Focus on the big picture and the smaller details to make it all come together.
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