Essential Tips for Aspiring Restaurant Owners

two people eating dinner

From posh, romantic restaurants to family-friendly diners, eateries play an important role in defining the character of an area. And as a future restaurant owner, you can look forward to carving out your own little niche. There’s a lot more to the planning process than designing a menu, however. Get off on the right foot by earning your Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management at Grand Canyon University.

Develop a Clear Vision

Successful restaurants have their own personalities. Any type of restaurant has the potential to be a success, but it’s best to establish one clear vision instead of trying to combine too many eclectic influences into one package. For example, your restaurant might be a college hangout spot, or it might be the go-to location for business lunches—but not both. When developing your vision, it can be helpful to brainstorm a list of descriptive words that appeal to you, whether it be trendy, charming, romantic or posh.

Fine-tune Your Menu

Many restaurants get word of mouth referrals because the menu has a unique touch. Perhaps yours will be made entirely from locally-produced and sustainably-sourced ingredients, or maybe you’ll have the only burger joint in town that offers grass-fed beef. It may take time to identify the compelling hook that brings your patrons back again and again.

In the meantime, test your menu exhaustively on a range of different tasters. To get more honest feedback about your dishes, hand each taster a questionnaire or notecard. Ask them not to write their names on it, as anonymity leads to honesty. Remember that even though your menu should have a clear, overall theme, it’s a good idea to include a few diverse offerings that will appeal to diners with different tastes. For example, you can develop a couple of vegetarian options even if you intend to open a steakhouse.

Put Your Focus on the Service

No matter how amazing your menu is, what will really make or break your restaurant is the service. Aspiring restauranteurs would do well to proactively plan hiring criteria, staff training programs and incentives for employee excellence. Many restaurants offer only minimal, on-the-job training. Set your restaurant apart from the rest by focusing on staff development right from the start. Additionally, you should have established policies for dealing with customer complaints (both onsite and online), returned dishes and special menu modification requests. The more accommodating and gracious your service is, the more patrons your restaurant will attract.

Engage the Local Community

Community engagement can nicely complement your overall marketing campaign. Do something that other restaurants in your area aren’t, such as by having a “Veterans Eat Free Day,” or a “Mommy and Me Cooking Class.” Remember your mission to serve Christ by serving others. For instance, get your restaurant staff involved in helping the local community’s homeless population.

Aspiring restauranteurs can learn from a dedicated teaching staff and fellow future entrepreneurs at Grand Canyon University. Our Colangelo College of Business focuses on modern curricula that helps with the seamless transition to success after graduation. Click on the Request More Information button to learn about our hospitality degree program.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.

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