5 Things to Get Right When Opening a Restaurant

Opening a new restaurant is a daunting task, even for veteran owners launching a second or third location. There are often thousands of tiny...

Opening a new restaurant is a daunting task, even for veteran owners launching a second or third location. There are often thousands of tiny details that must be perfected in order to see a smooth launch and a positive reception moving into the daily grind of business once that honeymoon period has worn off. Focusing on these key areas, though, is the best way to ensure that your new location sees its greatest chance for success.

Food Sourcing

The primary goal of any restaurant is twofold: serve great food on a regular basis and generate income, making the restaurant business a fixture of your professional life rather than a side hustle. In order to take aim at both goals, finding foodservice establishments to source high-quality products at a great price should be at the top of your list. Getting a great bargain on your produce, fish, and poultry while also maintaining a high standard of quality strikes at both of these crucial goals. Your customers will love the food your kitchen puts out and your wallet will thank you as well.

Location, Location, Location

Scouting out prospective locations is essential to growing a successful restaurant. This includes scouting out the competition, but equally important is space for parking, access from the road, foot traffic potential, and ease of deliveries. Likewise, if you hope to join the 100,000 restaurants listed on Uber Eats or similar delivery platforms, then centrally basing your brick and mortar establishment will allow convenient access to your menu from an increased number of homes in your area. Don’t underestimate where you choose to move.

Run a Tight Ship: Cleanse Your Space

Cleanliness is another key component of proper maintenance and therefore, a fully functional restaurant. This task falls within a number of important areas, however. Aside from simply cleaning your restaurant: dumping kitchen wastewater, disposing of solids, fats, and grease in proper receptacles, and giving your kitchen a thorough cleaning at regular intervals are essential tasks to maintaining a hygienic and friendly environment that your patrons and staff want to come back to. One important component of these cleaning tasks – and one that is often overlooked – is dealing with grease trap waste in a timely and responsible manner. Grease traps catch oils that would otherwise clog your sink, dishwasher, and pipes, leading to emergency calls to the plumber midway through dinner service. The EPA has long dealt with the threat of unchecked grease trap waste and come up with a number of environmental solutions that are fairly easy to implement and save your restaurant precious time and money while also protecting your local sewer system and freshwater sources. The best way to comply with local regulations (saving you from costly fines) and prevent overflows of wastewater from entering the local system is to keep up your grease trap maintenance and find a reliable grease trap service that will come regularly to dispose of the oils that collect in your interceptor. These services are convenient and give you peace of mind, a technician simply comes at scheduled appointment times, collects your restaurant’s waste, and hauls it away to a safe disposal location.

Set the Mood with Thoughtful Décor

Choosing your restaurant’s style is also an important consideration. While the food must remain as your claim to fame, the seating and decoration that your patrons have to look at while dining is something that you will have to get right as well. As you think about the vibe you are hoping to instill in your customers, it might help to scroll through web images or even visit some of your favorite local eats to check out how they utilize the space. Visiting your competition can be a highly effective way to style your own dining room; this allows you to actually feel out space and think about how your competition uses it advantageously, but also where improvements can be made.

Make a Personal Investment in Your Staff and Brand

Finally, brand awareness is crucial to your new launch. Make sure you hire conscientious staff, shell out for aggressive marketing campaigns, and maintain a positive and welcoming attitude throughout your restaurant. First impressions are hard to break, so making a good one will go a long way in generating a loyal following within your community. Staffing is a key part of this attitude of success, so conducting interviews yourself and learning about your servers and cooks interests and personal lives will go a long way to forming an inclusive and happy workplace – this will translate into an enjoyable dining experience for your customers.

Opening a new restaurant is a challenge, but one worth tackling. Set your priorities early in order to stay ahead of the curve and continue to see success long after the grand opening.

Samantha Watson joined Urban Tulsa as a staff writer, before becoming Copy Editor earlier this year. Some of her previous writing and editing work can be found at the LA Times, the New York Times, and Washington Post.