Plan for Success in Your Restaurant Management Career
Restaurant management requires a delicate balance of creativity, business savvy, customer service skills and the ability to entertain. If owning a restaurant is your dream, chances are good that you've heard a few horror stories about things going wrong and some less than promising statistics about new restaurant success rates.
It's hard to ignore the fact that an estimated 60 percent* of new restaurants close within three years, but the good news is you can learn from the mistakes of others. Anticipating challenges and planning ahead can help you beat the odds.
Here are five key things to consider as you set out to reach your goals:
1. Define the Concept of Your Restaurant Business
Research what works for your restaurant's location, and develop a strong concept that suits your potential clientele. Choose a theme that will be familiar enough for local patrons but distinguishable from other restaurant businesses in the area. Once you have decided the overall vision of your restaurant business, don't underestimate the power of a catchy name.
2. Develop a Budget
Possibly the most important phase of restaurant management is developing a budget and sticking to it. Many experienced restaurateurs say that underestimating start-up costs is one of the most common mistakes of new restaurant business owners. If you're interested in working with investors, you'll need to design a business plan that illustrates your restaurant concept and includes risk assessment and plans for return on investments.
3. Design an Appropriate Restaurant Space
Everything from the lighting to the table settings should be consistent with the general vision of your restaurant business. An effective restaurant design has two main elements: a relaxing ambiance and functionality. A restaurant should feel warm and inviting to customers while being easy to clean and maintain. You'll need ample storage and kitchen space along with enough room for customers to sit while waiting for a table.
4. Hire and Retain Quality Employees
The success of any business can often be measured by the happiness of its employees. Give yourself plenty of time to find a great staff. During construction, post a "Now Hiring" sign in the front window and place ads in the newspaper or online. As early as six weeks before opening, start interviewing and developing training schedules for kitchen and wait staff. Once your restaurant business is open, maintain a positive work environment by immediately addressing any issues among employees and establishing incentive programs that encourage teamwork and creativity.
5. Publicize Your Restaurant
While your restaurant business is still in the construction phase, start your marketing campaign by hanging a banner that reveals the name and the expected timeframe for opening. Attract potential customers by sending press releases to local media groups and throwing an opening night party with free samples of the food. Once it's open, continue to promote your restaurant business by hosting local food events and investigating ways to advertise without spending a lot of money.
*Source: BloombergBusinessweek, "The Restaurant Failure Myth."