Congratulations! You’ve just bought a restaurant. As you survey the building of your new restaurant, you may find some challenges to overcome before you can open for business. To help you succeed with your new business, here is a list of some new restaurant owner tips:
1. Inspect Your Basement
In a food service business, owners often use their basement to store food supplies. One of the best new restaurant owner tips is to use an efficient basement food storage method such as ‘FIFO:’ (first in, first out.) When you get a new shipment of food products, place new items behind any products already on your shelves. This practice will result in using older merchandise first, reducing food waste in your restaurant.
In addition to serving as storage space, your basement needs an efficient drainage system. Without adequate outlets for rainwater, your basement may become flooded. A flood will damage any stored products and can result in structural damage to the walls of your restaurant. Working with a contractor with experience with basement drainage systems will help you protect your investment in your restaurant’s future.
One popular trend in basement drainage systems is installing a French drain. French drains consist of trenches filled with rocks and gravel. Under the rocks and gravel are perforated pipes, which direct water flow away from your property. French drains are a great way to protect your building’s foundation.
2. Keep Your Space Spotless
No one wants to eat in a dirty restaurant. Keeping your restaurant clean is one of the crucial new restaurant owner tips. Local health ordinances regulate sanitation standards for restaurants. Even after you clean the building to prepare for your opening day, you must arrange ongoing cleaning services.
Contact one of the local commercial janitorial services that will provide scheduled cleaning for your restaurant. Before signing a contract with a cleaning service, list all the services you want to include during each visit. To include an eco-friendly element in the service, find a contractor that uses only green cleaning products. Avoiding toxic chemicals on your walls will help prevent indoor pollution.
If your restaurant has a carpet, look for carpet cleaning companies that will care for the carpets on a regular schedule. Keeping restaurant carpets clean is essential since food that falls on the carpet must be cleaned before it attracts bugs or mice. Carpet cleaners also frequently use green cleaning methods, so maintaining an eco-friendly theme will be easier.
3. Renovate Your Bathrooms
Businesses that serve food must provide restroom facilities for their customers. Another of the new restaurant owner tips is that clean bathrooms make a favorable impression on your customers. Just as your customers will expect the main rooms of the restaurant to be clean, they will expect the bathroom to remain clean. If the bathrooms in your new building aren’t suitable or attractive, consider doing a bathroom renovation.
Water bills can become very high in a food service business, so installing water-saving measures in the bathrooms will help you save money and water. Work with a reputable local plumber to install any needed new fixtures. Ask your plumber or contractor about single-flush or low-flow toilets. Your sinks will work more effectively and economically with motion detectors or faucet restrictors on your sinks.
Lighting has a significant impact on any bathroom. In a restaurant bathroom, it can enhance or detract from your customer’s appetites. If your restaurant attracts many single people, your customers will want clear bathroom lighting to adjust their appearance. Keep your tiling or walls a neutral color to keep the ambiance relaxing.
4. Monitor Your Finances
You may already have had to overcome financial challenges to buy or finance your new restaurant. Running any business requires financial risk. If you have secured a loan, you must share your financial records with your creditor. As a good business practice, you’ll keep scrupulous financial records to monitor your progress.
When your restaurant opens, you’ll want to invest all your time concentrating on developing recipes, strategic marketing, and customer service. Securing the assistance of an excellent commercial accountant is one of the more valuable new restaurant owner tips. Accountants won’t only help you at tax time. Accountants can also help you budget and predict whether your current financial plans will help you to succeed.
With any business, there are times you’ll face major financial decisions. After a period of success, you may wonder if it’s time to open a second location or to start a delivery service for your food. Consider expanding your restaurant’s hours or investing in customized server uniforms. If a contractor is already working with your business, they can advise whether those choices are financially feasible.
5. Order Merchandise
New business owners are not typically experienced in ordering merchandise. To attract customers to your restaurant, you need the restaurant to have a theme. Everything in the restaurant should conform to your theme – including the menu, the place settings, the wall decor, and the T shirt apparel you order for your servers and bartenders. Since your business is new, you must learn how much merchandise to order.
Another item on the list of new restaurant owner tips is to catch your customer’s eye. They may come into the restaurant hungry but have yet to decide what to eat. You can transform a casual snacker into a diner who orders a multiple-course meal by enticing their eyes and appetite. Your menu can include tantalizing pictures and vivid descriptions of the cuisine you will offer.
In addition to the food you’ll prepare, you should invest in comfortable chairs or booths. The type or style of restaurant you have (fast food, diner, buffet, or gourmet establishment) will dictate what kind of utensils, dishes, and table linens you’ll need to order. The food style will also determine the quality of your food, spices, and wines you order. For example, a fast-food restaurant will order a lot of ground beef, while an upscale steakhouse will order filet mignon or Wagyu beef.
6. Keep Your Kitchen Drains Clean
Preparing the food at your new restaurant and washing the dishes and utensils after meals is essential to managing your new business. Your kitchen sink must drain without blockage. For this to happen, you’ll need an efficient sink drainage cleaner to keep it that way. The type of drain cleaning system you’ll need depends on the volume of food you will prepare, as well as the local building codes and health department regulations.
Many large restaurant kitchens use floor drains to catch wastewater and food particles that may fall to the floor during food preparation. Trenches (like French drains but called “trench drains”) are placed on the floor in larger kitchens, producing much wastewater. Cooking also makes grease – if the grease mixes with water, it will block the water’s drainage. Special drains called grease traps are installed in restaurant kitchens to catch the grease and prevent clogging the drainage system.
All kitchen drains will need to be regularly cleaned. Traditional drain cleaning solutions use caustic or corrosive chemicals and have the potential to damage your kitchen drains. Restaurant owners who want to maintain eco-friendly green cleaning methods have turned to enzymatic drain cleaners. These cleaners use a mixture of bacteria and enzymes to dissolve clots or organic matter caught in the drain.
7. Remodel Your Dining Area
Your restaurant’s dining area is the part of your restaurant that gains the customer’s attention for the longest time. They’ll be interested in their food, but their surroundings will stay on their notice. The new restaurant owner tips for this topic overwhelmingly recommend choosing your table and chair settings with your restaurant’s decorative theme in mind. However, you are in business, so you’ll also need to look at your furnishings with a practical eye.
If there are structural faults in your building’s walls, contact a team of commercial builders to assist you in making those changes. Your tables should provide enough space from the table next to them for the diners to feel comfortable – but not so far as to make them feel isolated. Although most of your dining space will be reserved for your customers, you’ll also need wide aisles where your servers can walk with trays or drinks. To separate the dining tables from the kitchens or bathrooms, place a partition between those rooms and the dining area.
The level of comfort in your chairs and dining tables will depend on the style of your restaurant. A fast-food restaurant can use backless stools or thin plastic chairs. However, a fine-dining restaurant should feature comfortable, padded benches or chairs and well-constructed tables instead of the standard Formica tops in a fast-food place.
8. Get the HVAC System Inspected
The restaurant temperature will influence your customers’ comfort. If the building where your restaurant will be located still needs an operational HVAC system, you’ll need to install these appliances before you can open. Choose appliances big enough to heat or cool the entire dining area of your restaurant. Your kitchen area will require additional cooling options and an exhaust fan to allow the escape of cooking odors and fumes.
You must schedule an HVAC inspection before you open for business. HVAC Inspectors are trained to look at the thermostat, the furnace, and the air conditioner. The inspector will go up on your roof to examine the system’s entry point and into the basement to check all related system components. An essential item on your list of new business owner tips will be to schedule future HVAC inspections because you’ll want to be sure your HVAC system remains working.
If possible, look for an HVAC inspection team that will also become your HVAC maintenance team. You’ll need a team to turn to for any needed HVAC repairs and someone to do regular air duct cleaning. During their scheduled visits, they can advise if your current HVAC appliances need repair or replacement. These teams can alert you to dangerous conditions like a gas line leak.
9. Decorate Your Windows
Your restaurant’s windows will contribute to the overall décor of the dining area. It will also allow sunlight into the room during wintertime – or block it from the summer heat. Attractive window decorations can contribute to the success of your restaurant business. In some restaurants, where the dining experience includes watching the food preparation, the windows to the kitchen may be transparent.
Styles of window blinds have evolved in many directions. Some types of blinds can blend seamlessly into the walls, while others can create pictures that contribute to the ambiance of the dining area. Custom blinds are becoming very popular. For example, if your restaurant serves Asian food, you may want to use bamboo blinds.
Another of the new restaurant owner tips is to decide beforehand how much of the diners’ experience you want to have visible to the outside world. Do you want passersby to see your diners eating? Upscale fine dining establishments often prefer to provide privacy for their diners. Louvered blinds allow the people inside the restaurant to see outside, but people outside can’t see the inside.
10. Market Your New Restaurant
Customers searching for new places to dine will inevitably look online. They expect any excellent dining place to have a good website with compelling content and detailed information about cuisine, hours, and prices. They’ll also want to see pictures of some of your unique dishes and learn about the types of cuisine your place will serve.
For potential clients to find your website, it must be ranked in the top three Google results. One of the most important new restaurant owner tips is to get help from a marketing agency with SEO (search engine optimization) experience. Those agencies will revise your content to include keywords, which will help raise your Google rating.
Opening any new business is an exhilarating adventure but also a harrowing challenge. Ask the contractors you work with for advice and be patient with yourself during the initial months of your business venture. Good luck to you, and Bon Appetit to your customers.