How to Plan, and Budget, for the Restaurant You’ve Always Dreamed of Opening

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There will be some who remind you constantly that opening a restaurant is one of the riskiest endeavors to undertake. They may also consider the option to do so as we make our way out of a pandemic to be an irresponsible venture. 


We suggest that you take their somewhat unhelpful advice to themselves. If you have the desire, knowledge, and passion to make your dream come true and a plan and budget to help it a reality, then you should 100% give it your best shot. 


There are many ways to go about planning your dream restaurant, and the tips and areas below should certainly be on your checklist long before you serve your first meal.


Do The Research


Do The Research
No doubt you know precisely what kind of restaurant you want to open, such as offering the best sushi in Cincinnati Ohio. The style and type of food for the menu will have been in your mind’s eye for months, maybe years, but more important than your personal vision is knowing whether the idea you have and the niche you are looking to occupy is whether or not these work well in the area of the location you are looking to set up your restaurant.


In other words, if you are opening an Italian restaurant, you might want to know if there are a ton of similar establishments in your catchment area and, more importantly, if you think you can outdo them in terms of winning over the customers. 


You’ll need to do the relevant research, and we’d suggest you hire outside parties for this as they will be more clued up when it comes to finding out the info you desperately need.


Securing Investment and Funds for Your Restaurant Venture


There are many ways to get started when it comes to building your dream restaurant, but clearly, you are going to need the money to fund the project and a lot of it. You can seek to bring in private investors, and maybe you already have contacts in this field. 


Aim for those who are well aware of the industry and less likely to panic if the restaurant doesn’t start to make money right away. Also, consider getting a loan from your bank, which is more than likely to have procedures in place specifically for the setting up of a new restaurant venture.


The money you need to secure will need to cover the entire business plan, from the commercial furniture you might look to bring in to renting the space (or buying the location if you happen to be resource-rich). 


Getting the Right Staff, Both Front of and Back of House


If you read an array of reviews relating to customer satisfaction, you’ll note that the way they react to staff that make up the heart of an eatery is paramount to the success or failure of a restaurant.


In other words. You might be serving the best food in the world, but if you don’t have the staff who knows how to deal with customers, you are on a slippery slope. Hiring the right people, both customer-facing and in the kitchen, is perhaps the most important aspect of your entire project.


Again, we heartily suggest you outsource the majority of this to another company. By all means, seek out the head chefs for your restaurant, but any other role would be best managed by consultants who know the business inside and out.


Building Your Menu


Now, what kind of restaurant are you looking to open? Something upscale, expensive, and one of a kind or a location that is altogether more homely and cozy? Your menu must reflect the ambiance and vibe you are seeking to achieve. It’s very much the lifeblood of your entire restaurant.


Once you have an idea of this, find a head chef who shares your ideas and passion, and then go ahead and put together a menu. Clearly, this may change over time, but your first shot at putting together the taste experience will say a lot about the overall direction you are looking to shift into.


Find a culinary master who knows what you are attempting to achieve and let the both of you navigate the restaurant in the direction you seek to travel in.


Managing Expectations and Not Overstretching Yourself


When it comes to the stats that relate to the volatility of the restaurant market, you can’t enter into this venture blindly. Don’t ignore the very real reality. As an example, prior to the pandemic, 60% of restaurants fail and close within a year; that percentage goes up to 80% over five years. Remember, this is BEFORE the pandemic, so those stats are only going to get worse.


Now, that doesn’t mean your restaurant will fail, but you need to be ready to accept that it might otherwise; you are entering into a market without real expectations, and that will only end badly. 


Though you may have investment coming out of your ears and money to burn, because perhaps you have persuaded a great many people that you know what you are doing, but that doesn’t mean you should overstretch yourself. That’s the way of hubris.


Plan carefully and don’t push too hard. Maybe opt for a smaller location to start with and one that doesn’t max out your investment opportunities. Show that your ideas have merit before you push for the big win.