How to Open a New Restuarant: A Checklist of 5 Essentials

The foodservice industry is one of the most consistently popular and resilient industries in existence. Everything from fast food up to the highest Michelin star restaurants, there is something for everyone. And as the changing digital world affects the high-street as more and more people move to purchase online, restaurants remain full to the brim. And opening a restaurant can be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding ventures anyone can undertake. Whether your passion lies with food or business, opening a restaurant is always a good idea. But it is also one of the most difficult ventures you can undertake. So below I will be highlighting the top 5 things you need to make sure you have handled before you step into the foodservice industry.

The Paperwork

Before you put anything down on a menu or even start whipping up your dishes, you need to make sure you have all the busy work done. Running a restaurant is more than just the food you make. You will be buying equipment and furniture. Hiring staff and creating contracts. Taking out restaurant insurance and getting your certificates in health standards. So let’s break this down.

Firstly you want to get the more important factors looked into. Insurance is the big one. You will want to make sure you are covered against all eventualities, including fire and crime, so finding good coverage is vital. Next, you will need to apply for your COOSH certificate which allows you to keep and use chemicals on site. These will be needed for cleaning. You will also need to make sure you have someone who is first aid trained on-site, so it is wise to take the course yourself and look into buying a course package for your staff. Hiring a lawyer to write up your staff contracts is a good idea and then you can get to the fun part of decorating, which leads to the next aspect.

The Look

When it comes to the food industry, the look is almost as important as the food. People don’t want to be eating in a shabby and bland looking room. They want to soak up the atmosphere. They want their dinner to be an experience. That is what you need to present to them. An experience. To that end, you need to know what style of food you are creating. Italian? Thai? French? It could be an idea to lean into the culture you are cooking and decorate around that. Or if your food is less cultural and more type-specific then you may want to simply create a relaxing, family environment. If the mood you want to achieve is high dining or romance, look at going for deeper reds and candles. This is an important decision so you will want to plan, plan and plan. And always make sure your menu melds well with your look. Which leads to the next part.

The Menu

Your menu will be your main attraction. If you are a chef then you will most likely be creating this menu yourself. If you aren’t you will want to make sure your head chef is creating something tasty and affordable. You will want to know the tastes you are trying to present to your customers. But the biggest piece of advice is this: keep it simple. Do not create a menu with thirty or so options. Focus on creating a smaller selection of starters, mains and desserts. This will allow your chefs to shine with the dishes, will let your customers decide quicker and they will always have an amazing experience. It is important to keep things fresh with the food, this goes for both the ingredients and the menu. Don’t be afraid to make daily or weekly specials that change. It will let frequent diners have something to look forward to and will flex your restaurant’s skill.

Staff

When it comes to the food industry, while the chefs are the heart of the operation, they cannot work alone. You will have a variety of staff member working for you. Everything from waiters to dishwashers. And all of them are as important as the other. Your waiters will be the face of your restaurant, so it is vital you find people who are positive, friendly but also resilient. Customer service can be a tough industry and those working in it will need thick skin. Also, you will want a Kitchen Porter who is hardworking and consistent. A kitchen without a functioning dishwashing station will not function. You need to make sure your staff know the menu, know the prices and know-how the restaurant functions so they can be as productive as possible.

Drinks

This is an important aspect of the menu, so important it requires its own section. Drink goes with food as a fish goes with water. Everyone from the casual diner to the wine expert loves a tipple with their meal. So you need to make sure you have a varied and solid selection. Don’t be afraid to ask a wine expert on some choices that can pair with your menu. And make sure you have a selection of other alcohols and spirits available. On top of all this, you will need to have non-alcoholic alternatives for children and non-drinkers as well.

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