Is it your lifelong dream to open a restaurant? Or maybe you’ve bit the bullet and are nearing your restaurant’s open (congrats!!). You’ve done all the research, but you’re still a little nervous. Rightfully so, too!
Well, you’re in luck. We’ve thought of five things that might not have come to mind quite yet but will help you ease into opening your first restaurant.
1. Your home and work boundaries will blur
When most people think about home and work responsibilities, the boundaries are pretty clear. You leave work at 5 p.m., and you’re free. But when you open a restaurant, those boundary lines become very blurry.
Opening a restaurant is just like launching any other type of business. You have to birth it, nurture it, grow it, and possibly, scale it. While you’re physically at the restaurant, you might be working on operational tasks, such as ordering supplies, hiring new employees, and so on. But if you leave before it closes, you’re always on alert in case an incident occurs at the restaurant. Your mind will always be thinking of ideas of how to improve your menus, atmosphere, and operations.
However, with good practice and time, it is possible to separate your home life from your business.
2. Your perception of your restaurant might not translate well
As you begin construction on your restaurant, you move forward with a vision. You have a vision as to what the interior will look like, the type of atmosphere that will be experienced, along with how your patrons will perceive your establishment. But here’s the problem: How you envision and perceive your eatery could vastly differ from how your patrons experience the eatery.
Example: A design plan that you’d envision as rustic might come across as plain or lazy to patrons. Vibrant colors meant to inspire excitement might read as tacky or childish to restaurant customers. It might be painful to realize that customers don’t share the vision for the eatery’s ambiance, and this is why you’ve got to keep your target customers in mind as you develop the business from the inside out.
3. All trends aren’t right for every restaurant
Trends come and go in industries such as fashion, and the same is true in the restaurant industry. However, it’s universally true that all trends aren’t right for everyone, no matter how much buzz the trend causes. In the restaurant industry, two of the hottest types of trends are food trends and location trends. Both are highly risky to execute, because there’s a lot of variables beyond anyone’s control that makes a trend work or fail.
If, for example, you’re following a food trend, then you’d need to make sure that the trend will work in your geographic location. You also need to ensure that you’re actually able to collect the price point you’ve assigned to your trendy dishes from your patrons. A trend won’t work in your restaurant if no one wants to pay for it. And this applies to favored locations, too.
If patrons don’t want to search for your obscure location, or if your location is too far from where they live, then they won’t make an effort to eat at your business.
4. The right POS will make or break operations
The days of using a digital cash register and using paper to keep track of inventory and timesheets were left in the 20th century. If you want to build a successful restaurant in the 21st century, you’ve got to purchase an advanced point-of-sale system to manage your restaurant operations.
Advanced POS software can do more than customer transactions. One machine can do things like:
- keep track of inventory,
- tell you when to order supplies,
- manage your employee work schedules,
- provide sales reports,
- manage customer loyalty programs,
- provide customized menus,
- and more!
Check out this restaurant POS guide to learn more about all of the tasks that are saved in a cloud-based platform, vastly freeing up your time and energy.
5. You can’t please everyone
While it’s true that your goal as a restaurateur is to make as many people happy as possible, it’s just not going to happen. You’re going to have unsatisfied patrons. You’ll experience staff who don’t like working for you. Vendors might be difficult to work with. However, you must move past these confrontations with others.
All you can do is your best in learning how to be the best business owner possible, while creating the best product and atmosphere that you can.