You need to know this before opening a restaurant
Our CEO Lee Skinner has been asked to post as a Thought Hospitality Leader by Bradley Hennessy. Here’s his first post on what you should know before opening a restaurant.
I'm often asked for advice on opening a restaurant, and my first response is always the same - are you sure?
The hours are long, the returns generally are minimal, and according to Dr HG Parsa, 60% fail within 3 years resulting in debt and a lot of heartache. But if that hasn't put you off, then the next steps are complete your research.
While most think that opening a restaurant is all about food and service, the most successful restaurants are far more than that. I mean we have to look at the old metaphor of "chicken and egg" when you look at concept and location - get either one of these less than 100% right and it won't be 3 years until the pain of your restaurant closing is felt - it will be a lot sooner.
The best counsel I can give you is to take advice, wear down the shoe leather and get out and see competitors and locations, look at footfall flows, check what works on menus - try to understand why other restaurateurs do what they do. We in hospitality are generally an open bunch and are always flattered to talk about our passion/businesses, ask a lot of questions, you never know what you will get back from it.
If you can always try to prove your concept - then do so - Can you do a pop-up? Are you able to do a takeover? All of these will help when it comes to determining the size of the venue and layout and give you immediate feedback on your cuisine.
Let's be truthful; we still haven't even startedlooking at menu development, marketing, recruitment; training; procurement; ingredient sourcing; design; funding; recipe costings; reservations; branding; EPOS and as the restaurateur no one is going to do it for you! Remember, if the toilets get blocked then its most likely to be you that's slipping into rubber gloves, and if the dishwasher fails looks like you will be taking a bath - I guess what I am saying is you have to be a jack of all trades especially at the start.
Three last magic ingredients you will need - a sense of humour, a great group of friends and a tremendous amount of luck!
If this hasn't put you off, please feel free to reach out if you'd like to find out more about my experiences in opening an excess of 50 sites over the last 20 years.
Here's also a useful article from 2014 from my archives! http://www.restaurantdoctoruk.co.uk/article-Setting%20Up%20A%20Restaurant.htm