Are You Ready to Open a Restaurant?

Posted on April 19, 2017 by Michelle Locke

We often get emails from entrepreneurs interested in opening a restaurant. I’d say it is actually one of the most common emails we receive. It’s easy to see why: opening a restaurant can be incredibly daunting. There are hundreds of decisions to make, a ton of things to do.

Self-doubt is the ultimate destroyer of dreams. At Waitrainer+, we want every restaurant to succeed. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re thinking of opening a restaurant.

Do you have a clear restaurant concept?

When it comes to opening a restaurant, an important question you need to ask yourself is: what kind of restaurant do you plan to open? Do you have a specific story you want to tell about food? Maybe you dream of a place where friends can enjoy comfort food and cozy drinks. Or maybe a fusion restaurant. You need a clear idea of what kind of restaurant you want to open, what kind of food you want to serve, and who your ideal customer is. Only then can you start the sometimes maze-like process of becoming a restaurateur!

Do you have unrealistic expectations of how much money restaurants make?

The brutal truth is this: a restaurant can make a lot of money on a monthly basis. But they have high operational costs: good employees mean good pay, benefits, and more. Plus, inventory, insurance, and permits cost money too. Opening a restaurant takes a lot of work and many restaurant owners and operators make a comfortable (re: not mega rich) living. Are you comfortable with that? Did you think it a one-way to Easy Street? If so, it’s time to reassess, speak to some restaurant owners near you, and decide if this is the best course of action.

What’s going to make you stand out?

What about your restaurant’s concept is going to stand out? The food, the decor, the drinks, the service? Have something that will grab people’s attention, that isn’t available in the area. Opening a Mexican restaurant, for example, in a city saturated with great Mexican restaurants can be extremely challenging. But if your neighborhood doesn’t have a neighborhood bar or comfort food spot, that will fill a need. Members of your community will have ideas for what they want from restaurants, so don’t forget to get out, network, and learn what people want.

Do you know the right people to help you with your restaurant?

No restaurant owner is an island. You can’t do everything yourself! As you consider opening a restaurant, you should consider who you want to help you: a chef that knows what they’re doing; an HR professional who knows how to on-board, train, and keep new hires organized; managers who know the ins and outs of the restaurant business, and more. Having a great team picked out far in advance can keep you organized, allow you to delegate, and lead your restaurant to success.