There’s something about the hospitality industry that feels like it’s infused with magic. Perhaps it’s the waiters flitting between tables like party fairies, or the delicate aromas that permeate the air. Whatever it is, it’s no secret that owning a restaurant can be a thrilling and fulfilling adventure. But starting a restaurant business involves a lot of hard work, planning, and determination, and the current climate is far from ideal. The global pandemic has drastically changed the way we live our lives. Every industry has been drastically affected, and the restaurant industry is no exception. Joshua Wood, CEO of Bloc, says ‘It’s brave starting a restaurant right now as prices are high and there are staff shortages everywhere. However, there’s a lot of opportunity as so many restaurants closed during the pandemic so there’s less competition – and visiting restaurants as something to do is at an all-time high.’ So is starting a restaurant business in today’s climate a good idea? Let’s explore the intriguing pros and cons.
We’re not going to sugar-coat things. The pandemic has created a whole range of new challenges for restaurant owners. The most significant of which is the sharp decline in sales due to pandemic-related restrictions. Restaurants that relied on dine-in customers have rejected further by the rise of fast delivery and takeout. The overheads involved in renting or buying a restaurant premises, fittings, and equipment, plus the cost of ingredients, salaries, and marketing, can stretch your budget to the limit. It’s not hard to see why many restaurants close within their first few years of trading.
Now let’s look at some of the benefits of getting into the restaurant game during these challenging times. Firstly, many restaurants have found new ways to create exciting revenue streams, such as meal kits and online cooking classes. Secondly, the pandemic has created a boom in the outdoor dining business as people seek to dine in socially distanced open spaces. Gary Sivyer, Co-Owner of Brick & Bourbon in Minneapolis, explains ‘Having rooftops and large patio spaces has been an incredibly important element of our success in recent years. People are definitely seeking that al fresco experience.’ This could be an excellent opportunity for restaurant owners to streamline their menu to cater to the demand for fresh, alfresco cuisine. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, is the bevy of government initiatives to support hospitality businesses. In essence, this is an excellent time to create a new restaurant business as the government is offering loans and other financial support services.
What does it take to start a restaurant?
1. Passion and Perseverance
First and foremost, you need to have a burning passion for food and the culinary industry because it’s not going to be a walk in the park. Owning a restaurant is a lot of hard work, long hours, and requires a relentless attitude. You’ll need to persevere through difficult times, whether it’s an unexpected event like a pandemic, challenging customers, or staff conflicts. Know what motivates you, and you’ll need to keep this in mind throughout your journey.
2. A Strong Business Plan
Step-by-step guide to launching your restaurant: Start with a foolproof business plan. Cover all bases, from finances to target market and mission statement. Get specific with your vision for the cuisine and ambiance. The devil’s in the details, so be thorough. No surprises when it’s time to open!
3. Finding the Right Location
The importance of location cannot be overstated when it comes to running a restaurant. Naturally, you would want to choose a spot in a bustling area to attract more customers. However, this also means higher rental expenses. It is crucial to carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each potential location and determine what is best for your business. Additionally, the chosen location will play a significant role in determining the type of restaurant you should open. For instance, if you’re located in a college town, a laid-back burger joint would likely thrive, whereas a high-end sushi restaurant may not be as successful.
4. Hiring the Right Staff
Building a successful restaurant starts with assembling the perfect team. Your staff should be filled with individuals who share your passion for food and customer satisfaction. Look for talented professionals who excel in customer service, teamwork, and attention to detail. From top-notch chefs and skilled cooks to friendly hosts, attentive waitstaff, and talented bartenders, they will form the strong foundation of your restaurant.
5. Marketing and Promotion
When your restaurant is up and running, it’s crucial to focus on marketing to attract customers. Utilize social media, local advertising, and a website showcasing your menu and offerings. Consider offering discounts to friends and family or hosting a pre-launch party to generate excitement for your grand opening. Spread the word and watch your traffic increase!
In today’s social media era, effectively showcasing your restaurant’s vision and personality is more important than ever. Don’t miss out on the exciting opportunities social media channels offer for engaging with customers and generating buzz. Platforms like Instagram can help you promote your tantalizing dishes, craft an inviting atmosphere, and highlight your distinctive identity to eager followers. Remember, a robust online presence will give you a competitive advantage in the market.
Starting a restaurant is not an easy task, but if you have the passion to succeed, an in-depth business plan, the right location, a well-rounded staff, and solid marketing strategies, you can set yourself up for success. It’s important to remember that there may be bumps in the road and unexpected challenges. However, with hard work, a creative vision, and the right team supporting you, you can set out to create the restaurant of your dreams. So get cooking, and good luck!
How profitable are restaurant businesses in today’s climate?
There’s no denying that the restaurant industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. With lockdowns, social distancing requirements and restrictions on indoor dining, it’s no wonder that many restaurants are struggling to make ends meet. But just how profitable are restaurant businesses in today’s climate? Let’s take a look.
Discover the real price tag of launching your dream restaurant. Recent research reveals that the average upfront cost to open a restaurant in the UK stands at approximately £300,000. Keep in mind that this figure can fluctuate based on factors such as location, size, and concept. It’s clear that in order to thrive, restaurant owners must excel at turning a tidy profit.
One of the biggest costs for restaurant businesses is rent. As we all know, location is key when it comes to the success of a restaurant. Unfortunately, prime locations don’t come cheap, and rent can eat up a significant chunk of a restaurant’s profits. To combat this, many restaurants have had to get creative with their spaces. We’ve seen more and more outdoor dining areas popping up in car parks and on pavements, as well as restaurants pivoting to takeaway and delivery services to supplement their income.
Another major expense for restaurant businesses is staff wages. The UK National Minimum Wage and Living Wage rates have increased in recent years, which can put pressure on smaller restaurants. However, investing in high-quality staff can actually pay off in the long run. Happy staff means happy customers, which leads to repeat business and positive reviews.
Of course, profitability is also affected by the type of restaurant you’re running. Fine dining establishments may have higher profit margins thanks to their premium pricing, but they can also have higher overheads. Fast-casual restaurants may have lower margins, but their lower prices and faster turnover can make up for it. It really depends on the business model and target market.
The pandemic has compelled restaurant businesses to adapt, and it’s worth highlighting how they’ve risen to the challenge. Many have effectively shifted towards takeaway and delivery services, while others have ventured into selling meal kits or exploring outdoor markets. Although these changes may not always guarantee profitability, they have enabled numerous restaurants to stay afloat amidst difficult circumstances.
Unlocking profitability in the restaurant industry is a complex puzzle. Factors like rent, staff wages, restaurant type, and adaptability all play a role in the bottom line. But amidst these challenges, there lies a glimmer of hope for those who dare to be innovative and adaptable. With the right mindset and approach, the restaurant industry’s resilience can still create thriving and profitable businesses.
The question of whether starting a restaurant business in today’s climate is a good idea is a challenging one. There are both pros and cons to this decision. However, the key takeaway from this blog is that the restaurant industry is not dead. In fact, businesses that are agile and adapt with the times are thriving in this challenging climate. By planning and taking advantage of government schemes, fearless restaurateurs can put themselves in a fantastic position to succeed. And if you truly pour your heart and soul into creating a unique and delicious dining experience, nothing but success awaits you!