Steps to Owning Your Own Restaurant

Have you dreamed of owning your own restaurant for years, but always thought it was out of your reach? Stop dreaming and take charge of your life! It will take hard work and dedication, but if you are willing to invest the effort and follow these steps to owning your own restaurant, within a year you could be serving your first customers!
1. Choose Your Concept Decide what your dining concept will be and whether you will open a franchise or independent establishment. The main dining concepts are:

  • QSR (quick serve restaurant) Features a limited menu of fast food items with minimal table service; typically franchises
  • Fast Casual Minimal table service; serving more upscale food than QSRs, such as gourmet style foods and organic ingredients
  • Casual Dining Moderately priced food with table service in a casual atmosphere; usually features a full bar with separate staff; limited wine menu.
  • Fine Dining Full service restaurant with defined courses, atmospheric décor, high quality food, with extensive wine list
  • Ethnic Menus consist of items from specific region: Italian, Thai, Mexican, etc.

2. Location Moving into a location that is already outfitted as a restaurant can save you money, but make sure you investigate why the last restaurant moved to avoid potential problems. Your ideal site will have:

  • Visibility / Accessibility
  • Foot Traffic
  • Ample Parking
  • Sufficient Size
  • Affordable Rent
  • Demographics that fit your restaurant concept

3. Write a Business Plan A detailed business plan will give you an overview of all aspects of your restaurant and local business conditions, and show potential partners and/or lenders the feasibility of your restaurant idea.
4. Obtain Financing Present your business plan to private investors and/or banks to secure financial backing or loans. If you raise the capital through partners, it is imperative to detail everyone’s rights and responsibilities clearly in a binding contract- even with family members!
5. Name Your Restaurant Choose a memorable, descriptive name that reflects your concept or incorporate your address / numbers into your name (ex. Prime 112).
6. Register Your Business Decide whether you will operate as a limited liability company, corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship, register with the state, obtain a sales tax number and an employer tax identification number (EIN).
7. Design Your Layout and Décor All the elements in your restaurant should work together – balance seating and kitchen space, ambiance, lighting, and music to create a welcoming, defined theme. Consider hiring a professional designer to actualize your concept.
8. Create and Price Your Menu This is the heart and soul of your restaurant – the food! Design a menu that embodies the theme of your restaurant. Scale the number of dishes you offer to what your kitchen can comfortably handle and set your food cost goal – generally somewhere between 26% and 33% – and strictly stick to it! Include every cost when figuring price, and vary your price points to bring in a wide selection of customers.
9. Equip Your Establishment If cash flow is an issue, consider leasing large equipment or purchasing refurbished equipment. Compare wholesale food vendors’ prices and services; set up credit and establish delivery schedules. Fully stock your bar and acquire approximately one week’s worth of food supplies.
10. Market Your Restaurant You should start marketing your business a month before your opening date. Introduce your business to the area with fliers, and invest in print and radio ads. Set up a website; use social media and location-based services to build customer interest.
11. Get Permits, Licenses, & Insurance Apply for whatever small business and health department permits are required in your area. Cover your business with property, liability, and Workers’ Compensation insurance (liquor liability if applicable).
12. Hire Your Staff Great service is imperative for building repeat customers! Ensure you have the staff your cuisine merits by:

  • Thoroughly screening applicants
  • Creating detailed job descriptions so all employees know their responsibilities and chain of command
  • Providing initial detailed training; maintain with on-going refreshers as needed

13. Hold a Grand Opening Advertise your grand opening and bring the customers in. Welcome to your dream venture!

Pinnacle Hospitality Systems’ restaurant point of sale systems can help you complete the steps to opening your own restaurant, and ensure smooth operations once you are up and running. Pinnacle’s Dinerware software are specially designed to meet the needs of all types of restaurants, whether you need a fast casual/ quick-serve POS, casual dining POS, or fine-dining POS. Contact Pinnacle today at 1-800-771-7100 for more information on how Dinerware can help make your restaurant dream a reality!

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