How to Open A Restaurant with No Experience: Success in 7 Easy Steps

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Wondering how to open a restaurant with no experience? It’s possible, especially if you’ve always dreamed of owning your own restaurant. But it comes with some big risks. So, let these 7 easy tips on how to start a successful restaurant help guide your path to success.

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CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn some important tips about how to open a restaurant with no experience, including:

7 Things You Need To Open Your First Restaurant

Opening your first restaurant can be overwhelming. There are so many things to consider, from the location of the restaurant, to restaurant signs, to how you will market it online.

With everything that’s on your mind, it is easy for important details to slip through the cracks. To help you out with this process, this blog contains a list of seven important  things you need before opening your first restaurant.

Know Your Budget

Starting any business is an investment and it usually comes with upfront costs. Make sure you know how much money you have to sink in to the restaurant, and where it will be coming from. You’ll want to write up a small restaurant business plan so you have a clear vision to present to any potential lenders.

A couple of ways you can fund a new restaurant include:

  • Tap your savings
  • Take out a personal or equity loan
  • Get a financial backer (venture capitalist)
  • Apply for an loan from the Small Business Association (SBA)
  • Look to restaurant start-up grants
  • Crowd-funding

Once you know what kind of money you’re working on, then you want to set up an initial working budget to include rent, equipment (which you might be able to lease or get financing), utilities, staff, taxes, supplies, and an emergency fund. 

As an employer, you will need to cover social security and Medicare taxes for your employees. You will also need to pay federal (FUTA) and state unemployment (SUTA). When figuring out the profitability of your business, take some time to consider what FUTA means to your bottom line.

Then, think about whether you will draw owner’s compensation in the first few years. You might want to rely on some other source of income until the business is profitable enough to cover your personal expenses.

Pick the Right Location

The first thing you need to consider is where exactly your restaurant will be located

You want it somewhere that people can easily find and access, or else your business may fail before it even begins. 

Make sure the location has enough room for a kitchen as well as dining space; think about how many potential customers live in the area and what types of food they like to eat.

You may need to start small at first, depending on your budget, and that’s okay. Know that you can move in the future. Once your restaurant is well-established, customers will seek you out wherever you are. 

Once you sign the lease, you’ll want to get your utilities (electricity, gas, phone, and internet) set up and ready to go.

Create Your Menu

Whether you create the menu for your first restaurant yourself or get some professional help, your menu is a fundamental step in planning your restaurant. Your food is going to make or break the business. 

Think about it: if the food is awesome, everything else is secondary to the experience. Likewise, if the food is terrible, no measure of ambiance, white-glove service, or location will make up for it. 

It’s important to know what kind of food and beverages you want to sell before you develop your menu. Think about how many items will be on there and whether they can all fit into one price range that makes sense for customers. 

Also, consider portion sizes so that each dish fits well on the plate without looking like too much food–or not enough. 

If possible, make sure everyone who works with you has access to these menus and knows how to prepare them, too. And if you’re not a chef, make hiring one your top priority.

Have a Unique Name for Your Restaurant

Remember that it is important to have a unique name for your restaurant. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should choose something completely out there, but instead try to think of names that really represent the type of food or services offered by you. 

You will want people who are looking for restaurants in certain areas to be able to find yours when they search online.

Then you want to get your branding right and create a consistent image in your logo, menu, signage, advertising, print collateral, and online presence.

Get the Right Kitchen Equipment & Dining Room Decor

With minimal equipment, you can still get started with a restaurant. However, the quality of your food will be limited by what is available to you. 

Get high-quality kitchen appliances and supplies for your cooking area before opening it up to customers. Make sure that all of the necessary items are in good working order, so that you don’t need an oven repair when you open up. 

If there’s no room for storage due to design issues from your contractor, find an alternate location where everything will fit properly during operation hours when the restaurant opens its doors to patrons. 

It will also help if you have hired competent employees who know how to use this equipment well enough because bad habits affect how things work later on down the line too. Which brings us to our next step: hiring staff.

You’ll also want to spend some time with the design of the dining room so that it aligns with your brand. For the best advice, look to restaurant interior design tips for a restaurant similar to yours.

Get Some Great Staff Members

Hiring the right team is a very important step. You want to hire the right staff members who can help you in your restaurant business. 

We’ve already talked about hiring a good chef if you’re not qualified.

But you will also need to hire wait staff, kitchen staff, hostesses, dishwashers and bussers. To hire the right person for each position, you should establish some criteria that will guide you through this process. Include the education level and experience required for certain positions. 

Of course, it’s not just about hiring people with good qualifications, but they also must fit into your culture and philosophy as well.

You’ll also want to have a team who can consult with you on important topics like taxes, payroll, and legal matters.

And it never hurts to have a successful mentor in the business. Teaming up with someone who has experience in the restaurant business may be just the jump you need to better insure your success. 

Invest in Marketing & Promotion

Just before your restaurant is set up to go, you’ll want to line up some marketing and promotion. You can do it yourself, especially if you’re on a shoestring budget, but the services of a professional copy writer, social media manager, or PR company is money well spent. 

That way, word gets out about this great new place in town.

If you are doing it yourself, consider the following:

  • Send a press release to the local and regional newspapers. (In the best scenario, you might even get a call to be interviewed about your new restaurant!)
  • Take out some ads as well, whether that’s in the newspaper, magazines, or online. 
  • Set up your website, social media pages, and Google business accounts.
  • Join the local Chamber of Commerce or business organization in your town or city and network with other business owners.

You want to make it very easy for people to find you and visit or order take-out from you once you open.

Finally, have a soft opening with friends and family. That way, you’ll have worked out any major kinks before you open to the public. It also gives you a chance to get feedback on your dishes.

Final Thoughts on How to Open a Restaurant with No Experience

In conclusion, opening a restaurant is more than simply having an idea and getting your permit. When opening any business, there is a lot of hard work that will need to be put into the venture, and it takes time before you can start making money from doing something which you love.  Expect the first few years to be rocky, but once you’ve successfully established your first restaurant, you’ll be glad you did.

Continue reading about reinventing yourself as an empty-nester here.

Photo credit: Feature – Boltneva (Pexels)