Opening a new restaurant is almost as terrifying as it is exciting, and budding restaurateurs need to be prepared for anything. This means that they need to do plenty of research into exactly what they need to give their restaurant the best possible start, including what equipment they need for both the kitchen and the front of house and more.
The first port of call for all restaurateurs is to have a great concept. There are many restaurant operations that open on the back of a fad, but as anyone who eats out regularly knows, these restaurants barely stand the test of time. A great concept – steakhouses, pizza joints, Italian, Chinese – and a great menu is the starting point for any successful restaurant.
Once you know what your restaurant is going to be, the next step is to create a checklist for each section of your restaurant, from the look and design of your restaurant to the equipment that you will need for each department.
These checklists include:
- Design – What is your restaurant going to look like? What furniture are you going to have? What will the color scheme be? Consider the artwork and/or additional features that you will have in your restaurant.
- Menu and inventory – What food and drink are you going to sell? What ingredients will you need on a daily and weekly basis to produce this menu? How many items will you have on each section of your menu – from starters, mains, desserts, cocktails and more?
- Kitchen Equipment – From freezers and fridges to fryers, ovens and grills, you need to get your kitchen kitted out with the best equipment. Compare prices before you make your purchases. There are great deals out there to be found, and saving money at the start of your restaurant operation could be invaluable.
- Restaurant Equipment – From flatware, coffee machines, bar equipment and more, your FOH employees need to be kitted out with everything they need to provide great customer service to their guests.
- Point of Sale Systems – POS technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and you will have to decide whether to go for cloud-based mobile POS systems, static systems, or the tried-and-tested old school written ticket approach. It is worthwhile investing in the technology, as you can link your POS systems so that your service is quicker and communication between the FOH and the kitchen can be improved.
The Post-Equipment Restaurant Operation Checklist
Once your restaurant is kitted out with the goods, you need to grow your list of suppliers and outside services. These include:
- Food and beverage suppliers – You will need to set up delivery dates and times for both.
- Equipment repair services
- Emergency services
- Pest control
You will need to ensure that the contact details for all of these services are kept together and within reach of all your management and employees, so that they can be contacted at any time without any problem.
The next phase of preparing to open your restaurant will focus on hiring and training your staff – both for the FOH and the kitchen – in all areas of your business. When hiring, it is good to find a mix of people from all levels of experience and a range of personalities, as it creates an interesting group dynamic from both the business side and from the view of the customers.
Your training should focus on:
- Learning the menu
- Health and safety at work
- Food hygiene – both for serving and food preparation (for kitchen staff)
- Customer service
When your staff is up to speed, the moment of truth should be just around the corner: The grand opening. You should look to invite local businesses and people of importance in your local community to an opening event, and use this as an opportunity to showcase everything that is going to be great about your restaurant operation. If you have a successful opening, the positive word of mouth should give your restaurant a boost from the moment the doors open to the public.
From the point of opening, it is essential that you focus your efforts on the marketing and advertising of your business. These areas of promotion include:
- Creating a website – You can do this yourself, or hire an agency to set this up for you, including writing the content, uploading photos and videos, creating an online booking system, etc.
- Social Media Marketing – includes creating a Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. You should look at which social media accounts you feel comfortable using and concentrate on a select few, rather than indulging in loads and not updating them regularly, missing comments, etc.
- Handing out leaflets – The tried-and-tested approach of handing leaflets out to members of the public still works. You can also ask to leave them in local businesses.
- Newspaper and Magazine advertising – Approach local magazines and newspapers with Press Releases and coupons.
There you have it – a restaurant operation checklist for the budding restaurateur to follow when opening a new business. The key point to remember is to do extensive research in all areas of the restaurant operation, so that you can go into each section of the business with the most knowledge available and make informed decisions that will benefit your business in the long run.