Patrick Mackaronis, current CEO and Founder of the Brabble social network, and former owner of Jr’s Restaurant in Long Branch, New Jersey, suggests the following ten tips for setting up a new restaurant.
Be Passionate about Food
To be successful a new restaurant owner should be passionate about food, people and detail.
Research the Market
Visualize your passion by asking key basic questions and researching the answers. Who will be my customers – will they be local, neighborhood people who will visit me daily or will I need to impress tourists and day visitors? Will customers want to visit my restaurant and eat my food often, and how much will they be willing to pay?
Prepare a Business Plan and Budget
Do the numbers – Assuming the food is costed correctly, how much will the restaurant need to turn to ensure a profit against overheads. Break it down to customers in seats. A wise restaurateur once taught that a minimum of 72 seats is needed to make it work. It is possible to be successful with more seats and with fewer – but plan for a variety of scenarios.
Inspiring Restaurant Décor
Make the eatery the place to be. It does not have to be trendy, but it should ensure that people feel charmed and inspired when they walk in. Budget for breakdowns, repairs, fix ups and a new coat of paint – to keep the decor fresh.
Train the Serving Staff
Make sure that all staff are thoroughly trained before opening. Treat them with respect, as happy staff are vital for developing a positive atmosphere that has customers returning for more.
Keep the Menu Flexible
Change things that don’t work and constantly improve things that do work – even the most loyal customer to a dish will be happy to try an improvement on it. Personalize the menu and develop signature dishes.
Buy Produce Locally
Keep it local and fresh – Ensure ingredients do not travel too far and that the customers know that everything is fresh. Use local small producers and encourage them to do something different and unique for the restaurant.
Treat the Customers Well
Be guided by the customers – listen to what they like and don’t like. Make changes when necessary, and personalize dishes for regulars.
Customers love to feel spoiled. Give something away for free with a meal, but cost it into the budget.
Mackaronis notes that having fun is vital to the success of the restaurant. Enthusiasm is infectious. Don’t let opening for business every day become a relentless task. Keep it fresh and fun, and the customers will come flocking.
Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of social network Brabble. He can best be reached on Brabble, or on Twitter at @patty__mack.