I knew from the very start that three things were needed for my success; I needed a great head chef, location, and concept. And they all had to work together. Each is the piece of a puzzle that must be in place at all times or it will inevitably lead to drama. If the issue isn’t resolved it will leak into the efficiency of the restaurant, leading to customer dissatisfaction. Customers walking away for good could spell the end for even the most successful restaurants. But I also knew a lack of accessibility would adversely affect profit. Would my restaurant be on a busy street? Were my prices affordable for that neighborhood? Was my menu offering too much, could I make it neater? Had anyone opened a similar restaurant before or was this something entirely new? These were all questions I needed to answer before I could move forward.
Something I didn’t know and had to be told, was something that saved me a lot of heartache later. Overestimate how much money you will need to keep a restaurant running. Customers might flock to your restaurant upon opening for the novelty of somewhere new to eat, but unless you have a reason for them to come back once it’s worn off you could quickly find yourself running short on money. That being said don’t attempt to save money by cutting corners concerning the guests. Determine what percentage of your profits can be put towards improvements that affect your customers. Make continual changes that make their experience fresh. There doesn’t need to a change every week or even every month, and it don’t have to be anything huge. If your customers are happy with it, you’ll be happy.
I was adverse to a lot of organization in the beginning; not wanting it to feel like a dry, office job. But I had to realize that having a clear plan kept everyone on the same page. It allowed my team to focus on their creativity, to create systems enabled us to build guest demand and add to our growth. Your restaurant isn’t the only thing that should grow. You have to be ready to evolve with it. Get used to the idea of being a teacher. When new people come into the business you’ll have to show them the ropes. Give them a good experience and treat them like equals because you’ll never know how far people will go if you give them a reason to care. And on the flip side of that, be just as open to hiring people who know more than you. As a business owner it will be the smartest decision you can make. You can’t just have an idea. You need to find people who can help make it a reality. As the manager you’ll need to learn to delegate. You won’t be able to do it all yourself, no matter how much you want to. You need to know that the people handling different aspects of the restaurant are capable.