Careers Business Ownership What You Should Know About Opening a Restaurant Share PINTEREST Email Print Business Ownership Industries Restauranting Retail Small Business Real Estate Nonprofit Organizations Landlords Import/Export Business Freelancing & Consulting Franchises Food & Beverage Event Planning eBay E-commerce Construction Operations & Success Becoming an Owner By Lorri Mealey Lorri Mealey Twitter Lorri Mealey has nearly a decade of restaurant experience, including owning and operating her own restaurant in Western Maine. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 04/08/20 If you're considering opening a new restaurant, it's important to first determine a clear business plan. This will involve many considerations, such as financing, location, theme and staffing, to give your business the best chances for success. It should be a simple enough concept to understand. Owning a restaurant is a full-time job commitment with extra overtime. It means you will be at work a majority of the time, especially in the beginning. This includes working during family events, holidays, and weekends. People look for places to eat on a daily basis, so you will want to be open on most days to earn revenue and gain a reputation as a frequently open establishment. Customers Never assume customers will flock to your restaurant once it's built. It takes a certain amount of self-confidence to start your own business, especially a restaurant. Do your research and be realistic about your business and its competition to understand how to attract and retain customers. Staffing Think twice before hiring family and friends. Even though there are many successful family-owned businesses, including restaurants, you should be careful of hiring from either group. You change the whole dynamic of your relationship when you become a family member or friend's boss, which may have a negative effect. Business Plan Having a clear business plan is especially helpful to those new to the food and restaurant industry. As you research information for your restaurant business plan, you may encounter problems you hadn't considered previously, such as licensing, health codes, and tax laws. Financing Options Understand the financing options available for opening a new restaurant. Many people dream of opening a new restaurant. However, finding enough financing can be a major stumbling block. Competition People who want to open their own restaurant often view local restaurants personally, perhaps, thinking they could prepare a better dish or would have a bar without a TV. Be careful not to mix personal prejudices with business. There is something about these other restaurants that appeal to patrons. Even if you don't like the idea of a TV at the bar, most customers do enjoy it. When studying the competition, try to determine why customers are attracted to this restaurant. Then figure out how you are going to have or top this attraction at your restaurant. Also, consider something unique that your competition does not offer. Menu Create a unique menu. The ideal restaurant menu offers a balance of unique dishes and old favorites. You want to intrigue customers with new takes on food they are comfortable eating. Consider the basic burger. You can offer it in the classic plain form or with American cheese. You can also offer a unique burger, one that fits with your restaurant theme, such as a guacamole and pepper jack cheese burger for a Mexican-themed restaurant. Restaurant Concept Decide on a clear restaurant concept. For example, a restaurant that offers over 200 beers, yet has fine white tablecloths and table settings may confuse customers. Are you a micro-brew house or a fine dining establishment? Location Choose the perfect location for your restaurant. Before you create a business plan, write a menu, or apply for a loan, you must first decide where your restaurant is going to be located. A restaurant's location is as crucial to its success as great food and service. It will influence many parts of your restaurant, including the menu. If you already have a certain location in mind, don't get too attached to it until you know if it has all the right requirements for a successful restaurant. Never assume anything about opening a new restaurant. While there are definite benefits to being your own boss, there are serious drawbacks as well, such as the long hours away from family and friends. Also, your family may declare you the world's best cook, but cooking at home and cooking for the masses are very different.