How to open a restaurant in 3 steps

If you want to gain a foothold in gastronomy today, you have to be well-prepared. Learn how you can ensure 
the success of your restaurant from day 1 from our expert Andrea Liguini.

Intro

Opening a restaurant requires not only careful planning

It is also about the willingness to take risks. Here are just a few tips to help you set up your business and pave the way for success.
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1. first things first:

From idea to business strategy. Before anything else, you need to come up with what I and most of the business owners I know consider one of the most exciting parts of your new project: the concept. 
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2. Get support: 

Gain trust with your business plan. Even if you have already drawn up a rough concept, the planning phase is not yet complete. 

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3. The right people: 

Allocate enough time for personnel planning & training. No restaurant can be kept running without great people transforming your vision into reality and doing the hard work with the same level of passion as you. So, proper personnel planning is the be-all and end-all.

1. First things first: from idea to business strategy

Before anything else, you need to come up with what I and most of the business owners 
I know consider one of the most exciting parts of your new project: the concept. 

But in order to actually be able to find a good concept, you need to figure out what your restaurant will stand for, what its added value could be and how it is going to differentiate itself from the competition. What you need to come up with is a unique selling point. For this, I strongly recommend a small competitive analysis beforehand which could provide an overview of the market and help you identify those potential gaps you could turn into opportunities.

Once you have all the data you need, you can start brainstorming for a concept with your business partners and even future employees, as well as for branding (naming, visual identity, value proposition etc.). Read more about brand identities and branding processes here.

Once you have your concept, you need to establish what business value means for you and how you can deliver it to your employees, your partners and especially to your customers.

Last, but not least, you need to start working on a short-term, mid-term and long-term business plan, involving all the necessary calculations and a durable and realistic strategy.

So, let's revise:

- Brainstorming and concepting

- Business value

- Calculation & Strategy


2. Get support: gain trust with your business plan

Even if you have already drawn up a rough concept,
the planning phase is not yet complete. 

Your restaurant will require a huge initial investment: e.g. professional furbishing and furnishing, basic food stock and work utensils, high bills to be paid before you actually get to have any actual income or profit. Therefore, if your own start-up capital cannot cover all these costs, you will need to apply for a bank loan which will always involve a collateral. In order to get advantageous conditions, you are required to provide a well-thought-out and reliable business plan.

Your business plan will convince banks of your idea, by clearly describing the concept and providing an overview on strategy and financial planning.

Therefore, your business plan should include: your business description, market strategies, a competitive analysis, a design and development plan, an operations and management 
plan and financial data.

Read more about business plans here.

3. the right people: allocate enough time for personnel planning & training

No restaurant can be kept running without great people transforming your vision into reality and doing the hard work with the same level of passion as you. So, proper personnel planning is the be-all and end-all.

The search for suitable employees should not take place just one week before the opening. The best thing to do is to allocate enough time for it, conduct as many job interviews as necessary and really get to meet and test the applicants.

However, trial work is usually not possible before the actual opening. So, as soon as you manage to put together the right team and the space is ready to receive guests, it makes sense for everyone to spend a few days getting used to the venue, the kitchenware and the processes.

Last but not least, a couple of days before the official opening, I would highly recommend a test run, preferably with invited guests only. It could reveal and help fix possible gaps and mistakes.

Read more about personnel planning here.

quote

„An early test run, preferably with invited guests only, can reveal possible mistakes.“

Andrea Linguini leads "La Noce", an Italian restaurant group operating in multiple locations. At METRO, Andrea shares insights and experiences with other gastronomy professionals.
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