Ryan Williams
Jeremy Julian

How to Start a Restaurant When You Have No Previous Experience

January 31, 2018

We have a special treat for all our readers! Our friend, Lisa Brown from Ekuep, is here to share wonderful advice about starting your first restaurant. Do you remember starting your first restaurant? Did you wish you had some easy and good advice? Well, that is what Lisa is going to provide!

 

Here is a little tidbit about our special guest: Lisa has been helping her readers in successful business and entrepreneurial strategies for the past 3 years. She currently works with Ekuep, which is the first online store in the Middle East that caters to the food-service industry. It sells kitchen equipment, restaurant equipment, and food service equipment that are made by leading brands from all over the world. These machines and tools are trusted by all restaurant and cafe owners from across the world.

 

So you just got a brilliant idea of starting your own restaurant. You think this concept that you have come up with, is worth millions. You’re confident about food but the only problem is that you have zero experience in this business.

 

Well nobody is born with experience, so you are not an exception.

 

Starting a restaurant is not just about food. In Fact, it makes up only about 20% of the restaurant success equation. Ofcourse the food needs to be phenomenal but restaurants are businesses first and food is just a product you are selling and hence customer service, management and promotional skills are vital.

 

If you have no experience in this business, then you need to do the following things first:

 

  • Come up with a concept that is unique(but not too risky to begin).
  • Assess the experience and skills you do have.
  • Increase your knowledge and experience from people thriving in this business.
  • A business plan and a working capital of 3 to 5 months.
  • Find a good team and a good location.
  • Find a reliable equipment supplier.
  • Stay passionate and committed.

 

The Concept

The kinds of restaurants out there is innumerable. Be they fast food, intercontinental, local, family style cafeterias, casual or fine dining, all of these have been designed to meet various needs of different types of people, races and socio-economic statuses.

 

Restaurants can be also classified according to the type of service they provide. There are sit-down restaurants, where the waiter takes the order and serves. While in the fast food types, the customers order at the counter and get their food themselves.

 

In most cases, it is the community and location of the where the restaurant is to be situated that should determine the cuisine and the style of service to be offered.

 

Come up with the type of cuisine you would serve and the kind of service you will provide.

One good thing about being the owner of a restaurant business is that you have the sole right to determine the price you want to sell your menu irrespective of what others around you might, especially if your food is going to be incomparable.

 

Outline a hypothetical menu and make sure  you have enough knowledge and passion for it.

 

Assess your experience

Evaluate yourself and the experience (and knowledge) you have. Being honest about where you stand is among the first and the most crucial steps you need to take before launching your restaurant.

 

While you should be honest with your deficiencies, you also do not have to cut yourself short.

 

Here are some areas you will need to be familiar with:

  • Accounting
  • HR and Inventory Management
  • Organizational Management
  • Marketing
  • Vendor or Supplier Relations
  • Customer Service
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Cooking Experience (if you are the chef!)

 

If you have spent time in other fields only, you might be questioning your level of confidence to open your own restaurant.

 

Well the truth is that all jobs have transferable skills and traits. Most of the above mentioned skills are of use in every job you might have done.

 

Consider your current profession.

 

If you have accounting or inventory experience, you’ll be well skilled in something that has to be done daily, weekly, and annually whereas if you’ve worked in marketing or sales, you will be well versed in communication, branding, and pricing strategies.

 

All you will need to do is polish up and refine those skills to be used in a restaurant business.

 

Increase your knowledge and experience

Once you have assessed where you stand, it’s easier to understand where you should be investing your energy(on acquiring knowledge and expertise) to start your own restaurant business.

 

While you can always hire a manager for handling finances, accounts and taxes, you will still need to know the bare minimum. If you don’t broaden your knowledge base you will end up putting your entire business at the risk of others.

 

So, begin early and learn all you can about starting a business. Learn from other restaurant owners that are thriving in their businesses or maybe by taking a course, attending seminars, reading books, and utilizing all available sources to help you broaden your knowledge base.

 

Getting the knowledge you need for business is essential, but so is the real-world experience. Work at a café or restaurant. You can avail the opportunity to visit their equipment suppliers, attend workshops and training programs and establish good relations with reliable equipment suppliers as well as wholesale food suppliers.

 

If you decide to take an accounting course and get a job at cafe, it may be overwhelming to maintain your passion as an owner of a restaurant. But if you do, the results will be worth it. Hardwork is what separates the dreamers from the doers, it provides you with the fundamentals to succeed.

 

A Business plan and a Working capital

Analysts consider the restaurant industry to be in a mature stage. People usually go into the restaurant business because they are aware that good food is one of the top most human needs so it’s pretty obvious that the restaurant industry will continue to thrive as long as humans exist.

 

Startup restaurants need to go all out to differentiate themselves and create their own market while well established brands will search for ways to branch out their brands and utilize international markets.

 

A business plan is vital before starting a restaurant. The key areas that should be covered in it are:

  • Executive summary and restaurants description: Write about the concept of your restaurant, your restaurants vision and mission statement and where it will be located.
  • SWOT analysis: strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • Competitive analysis
  • Pricing and costing
  • Publicity and advertising strategy

 

To manage a smooth business opt for restaurant management softwares that makes your restaurant easily accessible through phones and provides better business opportunities.

 

Any business needs an investment of money to start with. So you will need some capital beforehand to purchase, lease or rent a suitable place, get the required equipment, and furniture. You will also need some additional capital to buy the required ingredients, pay utility bills and also pay your employees for at least the first 3 months before you start getting profit out of your business.

 

These expenses are referred to as “working capital.”

 

Location

The fact that there are restaurants scattered wherever people exist, does not mean that restaurant business can be successful in every location. Ensure thorough surveying of your desired location before considering it.

 

You must have come across a restaurant that just closed because there was way too much competition. This is why it is of paramount importance to gather as much facts and figures before choosing a location to start your restaurant. You may need to visit several places to find the one that fits your conceptual model.

 

Here is a list of some factors that you should consider before choosing a location:

  • The demography of the location.
  • The area’s monthly gas, power, water, sewer, and garbage franchise costs and fees.
  • Accessibility.
  • The competition or the numbers of restaurants in the location.
  • The local laws and regulations.
  • Traffic, parking space and security.

 

Commitment

When you have made the decision to take the risk and start your own restaurant business, you will be overwhelmed by the diversity and complex decisions you will have to make. You might also get distracted from your passion but by having a plan and following it, you can stay focused on what needs to get done and when.

 

Evaluating where you stand and by working hard to overcome those deficiencies, you will find the confidence and hence will be in a much better place to start, open, and launch your business.

 

Stay passionate and committed!

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