Essential Tips for Aspiring Restaurant Owners

Female restaurant owner in kitchen

Restaurants play an important role in defining the character of an area and settle into its local culture. As a future restaurant owner, whether you want to develop a unique, themed restaurant or rely on the classic environment of family-friendly diners, you should be prepared for the work of carving your own little niche in the communities in which you work. There’s a lot more to the planning process than designing a menu or creating a theme, however. Consider these tips before opening a restaurant.

1. Develop a Clear Vision

Successful restaurants have a way of taking on their own personalities. Any type of restaurant has the potential for success, but developing a clear vision for the restaurant is a crucial first step that people often neglect. A vision for the restaurant involves an intended theme that factors in the local area. For example, your restaurant might need to adapt its menu if it is meant to be a hangout spot for local college students.

The vision for your restaurant might also depend on its location and the personality of the neighborhood and businesses that surround it. When developing your vision, it can be helpful to brainstorm a list of descriptive words that appeal to you, whether it be traditional, charming, romantic, modern or otherwise. This will help create a role for your restaurant in the community.

2. Fine-Tune Your Menu

Restaurants build rapport in their community through word-of-mouth referrals by creating a well-developed menu. You may emphasize fresh, sustainably-sourced ingredients, or you might emphasize that your burgers are made using only grass-fed beef. It may take time to identify what dishes appeal most to your patrons. Creating a small number of well-liked dishes that fit the overall theme of the restaurant is crucial for success.

Gauging the surrounding community can be accomplished by soliciting feedback from guests. Test your menu extensively with a variety of customer. To get more honest feedback about your dishes, hand each taster a short questionnaire or notecard. Ask them not to write their names on it, since anonymity leads to honesty. Remember that while your menu should have a clear, overall theme, you should include some dishes with wide appeal to patrons of different tastes. For example, you can develop a couple of vegetarian options even if you intend to open a steakhouse.

3. Put Your Focus on the Service

The defining factor of success in the service industry is the quality of customer care in your restaurant. The likelihood of patrons returning decreases when a restaurant practices poor quality of service. You can ensure a successful set of committed employees by implementing service-oriented hiring requirements, staff training programs and incentives for employee excellence.

Many restaurants only offer minimal, on-the-job training and offer little in the way of extra experience for employees. Focusing on staff development right from the start helps set your restaurant apart and ensures a high quality of service.

Additionally, you should establish policies for resolving customer complaints, returned dishes, and special accommodations involving allergies or menu modifications. A high level of accommodation and professionalism increases the likelihood that your restaurant will attract new and returning patrons.

Aspiring restauranteurs can learn from a dedicated teaching staff and their fellow future entrepreneurs at Grand Canyon University. Our modern curricula that helps with the seamless transition to success after graduation. You can gain a firm academic foundation for the skills needed to operate a restaurant through our Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management degree program. To learn more about the Colangelo College of Business, click on the Request Information button at the top of the page.

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. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.