You’ll always be in business and create enormous wealth if your business has to do with provision of products that satisfy one or more of the three basic needs of man: food, water and shelter.
Man cannot do without food, and our growing population makes many restaurant businesses to thrive. Opening a restaurant business is one of the ways of satisfying man’s basic needs, and if well set up and operated, your restaurant business should be a great success.
How do you go about starting your own restaurant business? I will show you in this article.
What is a restaurant?
A restaurant is a public establishment where meals are served to paying customers on the premises. (according to Merriam Webster dictionary)
Restaurant has different synonyms like eatery, fast-food center, cafe, diner etc. Whatever name we choose to call it, it simply means a place to buy and eat cooked meals.
The beautiful thing about establishing a restaurant business is, it thrives almost anywhere, if you are committed, can cook tasty meals, give good customer service and keep a clean business environment, then you will succeed in this business.
Kinds of restaurants
There are various kinds of restaurant businesses available, it all depends on your capital and plans.
This is a well structured restaurant, that offers different kinds of food, both local and continental dishes in a well beautified environment.
The food and drinks are always readily available to customers at anytime they are requested. The customers can eat there or take the food in a package as takeaway.
Food sold here is usually expensive as customers pay for the beauty and facilities available there.
This is a medium size restaurant, different from an expensive eatery, and cheaper to set up. It provides good atmosphere for customers to eat, in a neat environment, customers are also given a menu to choose from, and waiters are usually available to serve customers.
This is the kind of restaurant where you walk in to have a good home made meal, when you are out of the house.
Most owners of this kind usually rent a space or big shop to operate their business.
This is a kind of restaurant where all kinds of food are available at the customers disposal after they pay a certain amount, they pick their choice of food and eat there, not taking it out of the environment.
This is the popular “mamaput” you get around, you see the owners in their little kiosks or space with their coolers of food selling to customers as they come.
This is easy to set up and requires little capital.
Generally, what makes restaurant businesses stand out is the planning, organising and facilities made available by the owners of the business.
Things to consider before going into the business
1. Choosing a type of restaurant: Choose the right type of restaurant which you can effectively run with the capital available to you.
2. Business location: Choosing a good location for your business is very important as it can also affect the amount of patronage you will have.
You should consider if you have competitors in that location and the strength of your competitors. Also you can either choose a whole building, a small rented apartment or an open space for the business. It all depends on the kind of restaurant you want to run and the capital available at your disposal.
3. Menu: Creating a good menu is essential for the business because, your menu helps you stand out and makes your restaurant business to be known for a particular meal, for instance domino’s pizza is known for Pizza, KFC for crispy chicken etc.
Create a suitable menu that you can deliver effectively, give it your best shot.
4. Staff: Hiring qualified staff helps your restaurant to achieve it’s objective faster.
Key staff needed are chefs/cooks, waiters and manager.
Ensure that the staff you recruit have the proper skills needed to achieve success with your restaurant business. In addition to other specified skills, they should be well mannered and hospitable. Take staffs through series of little trainings to inculcate the values your business stand for, and ensure they understand the importance of customer service.
5. Timing: You need to define the operational time of the business. That is, the opening and closing time each day. Do you want to run a 24hrs service or a 12hrs service? It all depends on your business vision and plans.
6. Customer service skills: Carryout periodic trainings for staffs on good customer service tips . This helps staff understand the need to treat customers as kings, and attend to their orders on time.
Great customer service skills helps your business to build a large customer base over time.
Basic equipments needed for a restaurant business
Restaurant businesses is majorly divided into two parts; the preparation part ( usually the kitchen ) and the outer seat-out for customers.
Here is a list of basic equipments needed for a restaurant:
1. Dry storage containers: Necessary for storing foodstuffs in the kitchen.
2. Fridge and freezer: This is important for chilling drinks and storing meat, fish, chicken and other perishables.
3. Deep Fryers, oven, and cooking wares.
4. Gas cylinders and electric cookers.
5. Blenders, mixers and slicing machines.
6. Racks and various little containers for storing food ingredients for easy access.
7. Toasters and microwave machine.
8. Heated display and wine dispensers with tank.
9. Tables and chairs
10. Cutlery, glassware, silver ware, plates of different sizes, wine glasses etc
11. Sanitation equipments like hand wash stations, dispensers, napkins, tissues. etc.
12. Sound system; Can include speakers, CD players for music, flat screen TVs etc.
Also, you can have a computer or sales devices that shows the order of a customer and amount paid, it will serve as an inventory tracker for everything sold and purchased.
These equipments listed can be used and not limited to a type of restaurant.
You choose from the above mentioned, equipments which can suit your unique type of business.
Challenges of starting and running a restaurant business
Some challenges which you might face when starting a restaurant business includes the following:
1. Start up capital – The amount of start-up capital depends on the type of restaurant you wish to establish. The amount spent on opening an eatery will be different from the amount spent on operating a buka or diner.
To establish the capital requirement, you need to establish the cost of rent in the business location, cost of equipment needed, cost of preparing different types of food, power supply. These will give you an idea of what amount is required to set up.
2. Fierce competition – High competition in the business affects new start ups.
3. Lack of qualified staff.
4. Dynamic market trends – New restaurant operators find it difficult to keep up with ever changing market trends, as they try to catch up with the fast changing trends in the business. An example include new delicacies and ways of services, digital ways of reaching customers, etc.
5. Cost of items in the menu – This is a challenge for growing restaurants as they may have lots of unstable prices in meals due to inflation in the prices of raw food products.
6. Little or no record keeping – This is a challenge in start up restaurants as there is little or no inventory records kept. This becomes a problem as the business owner wouldn’t know if it’s running on a loss or profit.
7. Lack of consistency with the provision of quality services. I would seriously advice, do not compromise your standard of delivering quality service and food to your clients
8. Commitment and dedication of managers and staff might pose a challenge to the business as well. This often occur when staffs feel bad or get tired of working due to stress, keep staffs motivated by giving incentives for achieving new milestones or targets.
Going into a restaurant business requires your drive and passion. Your passion breeds consistency in the business, without passion you can hardly succeed in restaurant business.
Restaurant businesses provides a good and steady source of income to the owners, and it makes available always food for consumption for yourself and family, and allows you contribute your quota to the society by being an employer of labor for job seekers. It also provides a form of temporary relaxation and meeting place for friends.
Restaurant business has great prospects for expansion. With consistency, good staff, good food quality, great customer service and having good attention to details, you can achieve the results you want.
It’s wise to visit the type of restaurant you want to own and see how it is operated. You can also ask questions to know more and learn from other people’s experiences.
Advertising your restaurant is important. Create awareness online and offline in the location your business is situated in order to get more customers. Choose a style of service and pattern of serving customers different from what is obtainable, as this could help you make and keep loyal customers.
Finally, don’t neglect and underestimate the need to ensure that you prepare quality and tasty meals. This is very vital. Also provide an opportunity for customers to order a pot of soup for families or a cooler of rice and stew for couples and individual who aren’t able to cook.
If you apply the information in this article and if you are committed and consistent, you should succeed in the business without doubt.
Cheers to your success story!
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About The Writer: This article was written by Salome Precious. She is senior content developer at myafribusiness.com. She is an accountant by training and a business enthusiast by passion.