How to start a restaurant business – step by step

August 23, 2021

How to start a restaurant business – step by step

1. Think about new restaurant ideas - First you want to nail the concept for your restaurant. You might have a specific feel and experience in mind, which you can then build a menu around.

2. Explore all your restaurant business opportunities - You’ve got your idea, but have you done your research? There might be opportunities you haven’t come across – or challenges you didn’t spot. Doing your homework can help inform decisions you make about your business, including location, menu and prices.

3. Starting your restaurant business - Now you can start building a proper business plan. This should answer a lot of questions before you get started Your business plan should address your restaurant’s cash flow, taking its break-even point into account.

Costs involved in running a restaurant business - There’s lots of costs even before customers get a taste of your menu. You need to make sure you’ve put a comprehensive plan in place to address them all.

This isn’t a complete list, but it’s a good springboard to help you work everything out.

• rent for your commercial premises

• hiring employees

• buying furniture and decorating your restaurant

• stocking ingredients and drinks

• buying equipment

• insurance

4. How to choose a restaurant location - Your restaurant’s location is going to play a big part in its success. In fact, it could be the one thing that makes it thrive – or dive. First, you need somewhere that fits your concept. If it’s high-end, for example, go for somewhere exclusive that will attract the customers you’re after.

5. Setting up your restaurant - This is where you can have fun with your concept. You should think about branding and how that extends to different aspects of your restaurant, from your menu to the decor and your website.

6. Get the right insurance for your restaurant - It’s important to think about a restaurant insurance policy that suits the unique needs of your business. Here are some key covers:

Public liability insurance – this protects you if someone is injured or their property is damaged because of your business

Employers’ liability insurance– this is usually a legal requirement if you have staff. It protects you if an employee gets ill or injured as a result of working for you

Business contents insurance – this helps you continue trading if the things you keep on your business premises are lost, stolen or damaged

Business buildings insurance – this can cover your premises if it’s damaged or destroyed, but if you rent, check with your landlord to see what’s already covered

7. Get up to speed with food business legalities - There are lots of regulations that restaurants need to follow, so it’s a good idea to get up to speed before you open. The Food Standards Agency is a good source of information on what you need to do before you start trading. And finally, it’s likely that you’ll need licences and permits, for things like selling alcohol and playing music.

8. Running your restaurant business - You’re ready to launch an amazing restaurant with great food, but you still need to work hard to convince customers to walk through the door. Here are some restaurant marketing ideas:

• a launch party, inviting local restaurant critics and the press

• partnerships with other local businesses

9. Future proofing your restaurant - When your business is booming, it’s an idea to think about what comes next. While it might seem early to start thinking about future opportunities, perhaps you could start a takeaway business alongside your main restaurant or look into franchising?

Wherever you decide to start your restaurant, why not let us know how you get on in the comments below.

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