Opening a restaurant is serious business and many things can go wrong. The problem is that too many people think that they can just rent a space, start cooking and sell to the public. This is probably one of the reasons why a whopping 80% of all restaurants fail after 5 years. Those who succeed are those who went in with a solid plan and concept and were able to deliver. Preparation is essential in this business, and the more you know about the truth of running a restaurant, the lesser the chances that you run into roadblocks. Let’s take a look at a few things people overlook when starting a restaurant.
This is one that catches a lot of people off guard. Maybe they want to serve food on a terrasse, or sell alcoholic drinks. These are both things that will require a license. Another thing people may not be prepared for is the regulations on the type of cooking that they can do. Some states have rules that regulate the use of wood-fired ovens, for instance. So, if you want to start a classic Italian restaurant, you might need to get familiar with these before you start.
Equipment is another major thing people overlook when starting their restaurant. Restaurant equipment can be extremely expensive not only to buy, but to maintain. Most people will get a space that already has a walk-in freezer and refrigerator. This can be a great way to cut initial costs, but you have to make sure that you have it inspected, as repairs on walk-in fridges can cost a lot of money. This isn’t something you’ll be able to put off either. So, make sure that you know the condition of these components before you come in.
When it comes to other appliances, you should think twice about using old equipment. Most commercial cooking appliances are better bought new. You want to get a guarantee on things like stoves and range hoods to make sure that they won’t break down at the last minute.
If you’re looking for a great commercial cooking equipment supplier, we suggest you check out McCombs Supply. They have everything that you need, from fryers to ranges to ventilation equipment. They also have all the spare parts you need if you ever need to make a repair. Working with a good supplier will make sure that you always have someone to talk to if there’s ever an issue. You might also get a chance to get better deals on parts and equipment later on if you build a solid relationship with them.
Some people also make major mistakes when it comes to building a menu. If you ask most people, they’ll tell you that having more items is automatically a good thing, but it’s actually the opposite. For one, if you have a massive menu, chances are you won’t be able to make everything from scratch. As a result, someone could come to your restaurant and base their experience on how you prepared that dish. It would be a shame to get a bad review for something you hardly ever make when you do everything else perfectly. Also, having a large menu makes logistics so much more difficult, and you get minimal benefit from it. After all, when was the last time you were impressed by the size of a menu? Many of us could even be put off by such a menu, especially connoisseurs.
Having a small menu allows you to concentrate on the things you do best. It makes keeping inventory much easier as well. Having obscure items that people barely order means that it’s much more likely that the ingredients for it will go bad. And, if all of the sudden someone wants to order tons of it, you might not have enough, and this is something that won’t sit well with many people.
Having a small menu also means that your team doesn’t have to deal with all sorts of different recipes. Another benefit a lot of people don’t think of is that having a small menu allows you to buy more of the same items, which will drive down costs.
And don’t think you can’t go big with a small menu. Major branches like Five Guys and In and Out have minuscule menus with a handful of items, and it’s one of the major reasons why their operations are so lean and were able to build such a brand for themselves. Most high-end restaurants will also have very small menus as they understand the importance of mastering few dishes over trying to be everything to everyone. So, if you have a large menu or thought you might need one, find out what your forte is, and stick to it.
This one is one of the toughest parts of running a restaurant. Finding, and especially keeping, great staff is notoriously difficult in this business. The pay is not very great, especially when you start looking at low-level positions, but everyone plays a crucial role in a commercial kitchen.
If you don’t have a busboy or a dishwasher that can work fast and is reliable, you might end up having to do it yourself or ask someone higher up to do so, and they will not appreciate that. Yet you cannot cook without clean pots and pans or serve food on dirty dishes. Here, you will have to be prepared to deal with a revolving door of new staff as people don’t tend to stay in these positions very long.
Waiters and kitchen help staff will also make a major difference. Having a good service team is essential to the experience, and finding great waiters can be very tough. You will need to find a way to keep everyone happy and make sure that you offer competitive packages without breaking into your bottom line.
Starting a restaurant takes a lot of time and preparation, and unless you have all your ducks in a row, we would suggest you think twice about launching. You have to truly know what it means to be a restaurateur and business owner before making the jump.