The journey from the kitchen to the restaurant to the plate can be hard, but how hard can it be? It can be harder than you think, but you can definitely make it joyful and interesting with these simple and easy tips from us.
Food Business is Like Any Other Business – Risks and Uncertainty
Starting a food business can be a lot more difficult in 2018 than it was in 2008. The reason is quite obvious – the competition. However, we have an advantage to it as well. Well, we all have to eat. We all have different taste, diet, desire, and habits and you can utilize these elements to establish a food business in a specific niche.
Okay, this is for beginners, don’t go by the number of restaurants that shut down in your neighborhood recently. The mortality rate of food Business is not different from other industries. So, if this is your passion and if you believe your food is indeed something that people should taste then think about it.
And if you have thought about it positively, this post will help you develop a plan.
Everything Starts with a Business Plan
You have to construct a feasible, reliable and achievable business plan. Here are the things you should definitely include in your Food Business Plan:
- Your business entity. What are you going to be? Are you a sole-proprietorship, a Limited Liable Company or in a general partnership.
- What would your business seem like? What should be your restaurant theme? A café? A quick service restaurant? A full-service restaurant? A food truck or a Bar and Barbeque?
- Who will be your target market? As in who is going to eat your food? Based on your concept and price, who do you think will get attracted to your business?
- Where are you planning to put up your business? The location plays an extremely important role in determining the success of the business. You have to look at which neighborhood provides the best chance and what kind of competition is currently taking place around that place.
- What would be the structure of your business? How many employees, chefs, cooks, and additional staffs you can afford? How are you planning to break your business management? Will you have a front-house, a warehouse, etc.? Your business type and concept would able to answer these questions.
- What will be your investment cost or budget? Expenses that you should take into account include rent, labor, food and beverage inventory, utilities, salary and
- What will you serve? What your menu will look like? How are you planning to price your dishes to make it attractive as well as profitable? What will be your star dishes?
- What will be your marketing plan? Name, business cards, website, and logo should be considered.
- How will you establish your brand name? What should be the perks? What should be your selling point?
These are the common questions that you should consider answering before you start a regular food business. However, depending upon your business size, type, and concept, you will have other unique needs and considerations.
The Backbone of Your Kitchen – Equipment and Electronics
Your restaurant equipment will cover a major part of your start-up cost. You cannot open a restaurant without proper equipment as you need them for cooking and serving your dishes. Depending on the size and type of your restaurant, you will have to prepare the checklist for equipment. You can either buy them or rent them or lease them, the choice is yours. However, we have listed most of the common essentials that go inside restaurant kitchens.
- Ovens, stoves, grills, barbeques, microwave and OTG, juicer, grinder, mixer, blender, and kneader
- Ice machines, walk-in freezers or cold-storage and refrigerators
- Workstation equipment, including countertops, cutting boards, steam tables, cold food tables
- Cooking pots, frying pans, saucepans, pots with lids, baking sheets etc.
- Utensils such as ladles, spoons, tongs, knife, kneader, whisker, scraper, deep fryer, and others
- Silverware and other serving items that go in the front-of-house
- Glassware and barware
Remember, no two restaurants look and feel alike. Your equipment checklist may vastly change or modify depending upon your concept, menu, seating arrangement, interiors, and furnishing.
Figure Out Your People – Arrange Your Team
Each food business and food concept will have different staffs and labor requirements. For instance, if you run a food truck, it would be just you and two more assistants. Depending upon the size of your kitchen and menu, you will have to appoint your staffs.
A full-service restaurant usually needs a handful of servers, bartenders, head chefs, sous chefs, manager, clean-up boys, hosts at the entrance, table cleaners, and laundry, and staffs in-charge of the plating and serving utensils.
When hiring employees, thoroughly interview the candidates; don’t settle for references. Make sure you practically test their abilities and skills before you sign a contract. Always keep a backup list handy because job hopping is extremely common in the food industry.
Secure Your Business with Correct Licenses and Permits
Registering your business is a must. However, obtaining the right licenses and permits for your food business is also essential. You will be honestly surprised by the rules and regulations, and the permits need to be registered for your restaurant. There are health laws, safety codes, food service regulations, parking permits and so many other state and local legislation you need to sign. Since you are going to deal with the products consumed by people, food industry licenses and permits are a lot more stringent than other businesses.
Some of the common documents you require to run your food business include;
- Employee Identification Number (EIN) for tax filing and returns
- Business license from your city to enable you to run business
- Food service license from your state or city to run a food business
- Tavern license to sell beer and wine
- Liquor license to serve and sell hard liquors in bar
- Parking license if your business is a food truck
- Certificate for Occupancy license that deems your restaurant safe to occupy for customers
- Other health and food safety permits stated by the state and city
Local authorities and food inspectors will regularly pay visits to your restaurant or food truck to make sure you and your staffs are paying attention to and following the food service health and safety practices.
Make Your Communication and Infrastructure Technically Strong
Gone are the days when vintage cash registers and handwritten orders were a system. Today fast order processing and even faster delivery is the latest operational theme. You will have to deal with the competition as well. So, if nothing else, you need to start with a great Point-of-Sale system so that communication between you and staffs at the front-of-house and back-of-house is effective and uninterrupted.
You will have to apply for a restaurant POS solution and other application and tools, depending on the food service type. Most POS solutions will allow you to customize table layouts, manage pre-orders, manage mobile-app orders, manage reservations, print kitchen orders, and keep tabs open.
You will also have to install a highly intelligent system that will help you with insightful analytics and provide you with reports about inventory, supply chain management and about recent trends, which will further help you to make changes and adjustments regarding staffs and inventories.
Each food business’ POS system varies in features and functionalities. Do your research to find the best solution.
Figure Out Your Advertisement Strategies
As a beginner in the food business, you will have to work around cheap advertisement strategies. Nothing is new these days; apply the same advertising strategies that most restaurants use to succeed. Use the vast and unfathomable social media space to promote your restaurant and menu. Web and mobile application is an excellent tool to start. Use Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for discounts, promotions, and offers.
Blogs are another way to reach out to authentic food lovers and influencers. Once your business is up and running steadily, we would recommend you to dig deep into advertising and marketing strategies and make the most of it. Create omnichannel engagement for your customers through progressive web applications.
Last, But Not the Least – Tips to Grow and Feed More
- Be authentic with your food style, concept, variety and
- Create a restaurant from a customer’s point of view and not from yours.
- Make people happy with the quality of food and hospitable services.
- Invoke emotions and passion through your food. Provoke your customer’s food memories.
- Take opportunities straight up when you feel it’s the right time.
- Accept decisions, criticisms, and appreciations wholeheartedly as a team.
- Choose your location carefully and price your menu artistically. Consider factors like traffic, locality, space, parking, surrounding areas and
- Accept challenges gracefully. Don’t blame your staff for silly mistakes. Work on the faults and improvise as a team.
- Celebrate each small and large victory. Make your staffs feel special, needed and important.
- Keep in touch with the latest food trends.
- Make use of technology to evolve and grow your business.
These were the basic requirements to start a food business. Once you start preparing your business plan, you will come across more ideas, thoughts, and strategies.
Do share your dream restaurant theme in the comments.