Opening a restaurant is a dream for many, yet only a few ever make a true success out of it with over 80% of new restaurants closing or changing hands in the first three years. . There are so many things to consider, and it’s hard to know where to start. Well, here at DCE, we are committed to our full-service offering. That means everything from helping you scout the right location to designing the perfect layout as well as supplying all the equipment you could ever need. Here are our top tips to make sure your dream becomes a roaring success.
1. Location is Critical!
The best locations aren’t always the most obvious choices. Corner lots on streets with high foot traffic or in the trendiest neighbourhoods don’t always make sense - especially if the rent is astronomical and you’re a small restaurant without a high table turnover. Sometimes, you need to look outside the box to unlock value. Spend time in underserved areas and see if you can make a difference and add value there. Don’t believe us? Just ask Yann de Rochefort who opened his first location in Manhattan’s underserved Flatiron District before opening a second, larger location in Soho.
2. Know Your Concept, Know Your Market
When thinking about your restaurant, it’s not enough to think about what type of food you want to serve. That’s the menu. You need to nail down your brand - everything from decor and price point to style of service (small plates, formal, family style) and even the uniforms your staff will wear. To figure this out - do your research! Seek out your target market and figure out what would suit your target demographic. Are you opening in the middle of Sydney with lots of singles and young professional couples or are you in country Victoria with families? The answers to these questions will determine whether you fill your place with tables for two, four or long wooden trestle tables. You also need to align every aspect of brand - for instance, serving $7 starters in a space that is ultra-high end just doesn’t fit and will make people feel uncomfortable and unlikely to return, no matter how good the food.
3. The Dream Team
Engaging the right team is crucial. Think about the skills you have, then fill in the gaps. When it comes to your staff, they need to understand and embrace your vision wholeheartedly. Regardless of whether your food is outstanding, what matters is how the customer felt when they walked both in and out the door. Once you’ve hired the dream team, consider them a crucial part of the success of the business. Driven and engaged staff will push your business forward and act as a safety valve when the unforeseen happens.
4. Create A Buzz
Now you’ve got all the moving parts in place, it’s time to get the word out. When used effectively, social media can quickly spread the word about your place before you’ve even opened your doors. Just ask Miss Jones in Brisbane’s New Farm who had over 10,000 followers on Instagram before they’d even opened their doors! Work hard to create a social media strategy to create an army of loyal customers and take advantage of the right channels for your brand. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth by connecting with a PR firm, influential food bloggers, local publications or even encouraging happy customers to spread the joy!
Always take time to reflect on your successes and downfalls as you move through the year. Engage with your staff and ask for their input on processes or systems to make life easier and more smooth running - plus they’re the ones out on the floor surrounded by (hopefully) happy customers. That said, you should make time to engage with your customers - whether it be online or in person to ensure that everyone has the best experience - and if they don’t, that’s it’s dealt with quickly and professionally.
6. Have A Vision
The most successful restaurateurs are always thinking ahead, adapting to change and trying out new things. Just because you’re on to a good thing at the moment, doesn’t mean it can’t be even better! Remain curious about your business and the hospitality industry; be open to change; embrace procedures and processes; and, above all, share your vision with your team!
At DCE, we are here to make your restaurant dreams come true. Call us, or come into one of our showrooms for a chat today!