Opening a restaurant
It’s a brave and exciting move, opening up your own business. Chances are, if you’re thinking of opening up a restaurant, you’re a bit of a foodie and you can’t wait to get those dishes flying out of the kitchen.
Naively, many people think it’s as easy as throwing a dinner party every night for just a few more people. Nothing could be further from the truth. Firstly, there are a lot of practicalities to consider such as whether your business model is actually practicable in the locale you’re looking at.
Known for his tough-love approach to advice, Gordon Ramsey has shared some invaluable tips here. If you’re still keen, you need to think about financing your project, finding a suitable property, the legal fees and regulations and how you’ll satisfy them. No small matter is the market research to ensure your idea has a chance of success. There are more tips and questions you need to ask yourself on this site.
If you’ve done your homework and are confident that you really can make a success of the venture, you can start thinking of the details. There are three key areas to consider, the style, the kitchen and the menu.
This is arguably as important as the food. What feeling do you want the restaurant to have?
There are no rules to follow but there are parameters worth sticking to. There are Michelin starred restaurants set in relaxed cafe surroundings but there are few sushi bars in Mexican tavernas. The furniture is a good place to start: Andy Thornton has some great furniture solutions for a start-up restaurant but thinks about every detail. The logo and design for the business is crucial. It’s a good idea to look local for a good designer; the chances are you’ll need their services more than once.
If you want to make great food, you need a great kitchen.
Think about the space you have and how to make it the most ergonomically sound. The last thing you want is for you to get all the equipment fitted then realise that the potato rumbler is at the opposite end of the kitchen from the fryer. Even worse, you haven’t put in enough hand sinks or fridges: check out the food standards agency site for more information about how to adhere to food and hygiene regulations. Marshall catering is a fully registered company specialising in the sale and installation of catering equipment to suit every need and can advise you about how to stick to these rules.
Assumedly, the overall arch and flavour of the food are what got the project started but the minutiae dictate whether the restaurant will flourish or fold. Keeping the menu clear and unfussy is probably the most important thing – you do not want your guests to consider choosing their meal labour in itself. Instead, create a coherent roster of dishes that will infuse in the mind of the diner whilst offering enough choice to invite repeat visits.
Again, consider how you want the menu to be presented. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage serves award-winning local and seasonal food and lists the menu on huge blackboards rather than leather-bound table menus. A burrito bar might be best served by quirky cardboard menus. Again, think image and target clientele.
As you’re building up the kitchen and hiring staff, remember you need to be inspected by the food standard agency a minimum of twenty-eight days prior to opening. Get these details right and with any luck, the great food will sell itself. Good luck!