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Food for Thought: Advice for New Restaurateurs

Voicu Apostol · May 28, 2023

For entrepreneurs and chefs alike, starting a restaurant can be an exciting venture. From getting your food in front of people to establishing your brand, there are many components to juggle. However, the traditional methods of getting your restaurant up and running are often prohibitively expensive. Here are a few ideas from Pixroad on ways you can short circuit the traditional system and start making a name for yourself -- all while keeping your overall costs as low as possible.

Plan your finances

As you probably would guess, one of the most common reasons for the failure of startup restaurants is a general lack of funding. The restaurant business is expensive: getting set up requires a floor plan of a particular square footage; required equipment; a set of talented employees to prepare and serve the food, and so forth. 

The most important thing you can do before you start buying everything is to calculate a budget. Add up all your expected costs, then add about 50 percent to the total to account for inevitable unexpected costs. Even if you’re planning on using creative workarounds to save money, it will help you come out in the black if you start off by preparing for the maximum cost.

Next, it’s important to tackle the legal particulars that accompany a restaurant opening. This includes various licenses, permits and so on, as well as formalization with the state as a business entity. Choosing an entity can be tricky, but for small operations, an S corp or LLC can be ideal.

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Prepare as much as you can

To start your restaurant, there are several things you should do in preparation. First, you should have worked in a restaurant in some capacity to understand how the system operates. Next, you should also understand your target market. For instance, a high-concept, avant-garde workshop will probably not end up being successful in a conservative, suburban town. Try to find a middle ground between your ideal concept and what your location will support.

Use free or low-cost marketing techniques

Low-cost forms of marketing can be effective at making a name for yourself. Having an interesting social media account that goes beyond the simple posting of prices and deals can do wonders for your atmosphere. Additionally, you can use this handy program for free logo design to create an eye-popping logo that will appeal to customers without costing you a dime. You can also find lots of great graphics/web templates here, then combine them with the free logo design app to really leave customers speechless.

Next, you can save money by keeping your employees happy. Don’t hire too many people, but have enough so that you can schedule them fairly, allowing time for flexible shifts. Do take the time to train them thoroughly before the restaurant even opens, so that they are familiar with not only the acceptable protocols but also the entire menu. Your staff membersget to interact with your guests directly, so as Total Food Service notes, by making them happy, you will help improve the experience for your guests.

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Alternative to a brick-and-mortar

If you have a killer restaurant idea but are worried about opening an actual location, especially during a pandemic, a pop-up restaurant might be right for you. Many restaurants and bars in your town may already host pop-up restaurants, so getting started might be easier than you think. Getting the word out can be done very effectively by using your own social media as well as the venue's to double your marketing presence. It’s a chance to get your food in front of people and spur buzz about your restaurant.

The restaurant business requires a great deal of preparation. However, by planning in advance for the maximum cost, you will be able to see the efficacy of all the measures you take to cut costs. That will help to convince investors you know how to manage your finances while also making you feel like you are on the path to a successful business -- which you are!

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