A common misunderstanding is that the spelling is a restauranteur. This is a misnomer that has continued to be used but was first used forty-four years after the original word, restaurateur. This word comes from French but ultimately has Latin roots. The original word was “Restaurare” which meant “to restore”. The word restaurateur means an operator or proprietor of a restaurant, but a common misconception is that to be a restaurateur you need to own multiple locations.
The steps to become a restaurateur takes both funding and vision. Opening a restaurant is incredibly tough and inherently a risky investment to undertake. Looking for ways to mitigate the financial risk, working with prove leaders is often a great way to help curtail the initial risk. This initial step of opening a restaurant involves getting funding, whether through investors, banks, or your own personal savings. In conjunction with raising funds, you might need a business plan. Here is a sample business plan from Rowan University in New Jersey. If you’d like to be quicker with your idea you could use a business model canvas to have a quicker look without the specific numbers. Having a big picture sometimes helps in creating the details necessary. The goal is to research the market and define your concept. This is the most important piece. Most times restaurants that fail are because they’ve failed to execute on their concept.
After you’ve secured funding you’re going to need to create a menu. This is going to help you define what tools you are going to need for the kitchen. Remember this all goes back to your concept. The concept should define the dishes we see in the restaurant, the naming of these dishes, etc. The key component when considering your menu to keep it simple. The need to put everything and the kitchen sink on the menu is setting you up for an uphill battle. Work with less but execute perfectly. Simplicity in the menu means you can deliver a great tasting meal consistently. If you go to a restaurant and you’re not getting the same quality of food or better the next time you come, the likelihood of you returning will be low.
Next step is the space. Locating the space is important. It will define many pieces going further. The type of clientèle that will come, the amount of seating area available, and the overall look and feel you can apply to space will be defined by the location you pick. Always remember that everything goes back to the concept.
With the vision pieces now in place, we need to start inputting the details. This involves pieces like Back of house (BOH) and Front of house (FOH) supplies: cutlery, plates, pots, pans, burners, ovens, etc. This also involves choosing what pieces of technology you will be implementing. This goes on what kind of point-of-sale (POS) system you will be using, accounting system needed, scheduling tools, cashier system etc. Some of these things can be done manually but for almost everything in a restaurant, there is a technological tool available.
With the bulk of things done or almost done you can now start focusing on your staff. Hiring and training your staff to perform the tasks required and doing it to the expectations is important. Whether you are talking about the kitchen staff needed to create the meals or the waiters needed to understand the menu, ironing as many complications before opening is important. Tastings and walk-throughs are important.
Marketing is the final step. You need to create buzz about your opening and brand awareness. Social networking tools like Instagram work great for the restaurant industry. Your dishes are beautiful and yummy, let people see them. The other commonly used tactic is a soft-opening. This means you open but to a select group. As a suggestion, I usually say to do a soft-opening with family/friends before you do your PR soft opening. This way you can see glaring faults you can remedy before someone goes and writes about it to the masses.
Now that you are open customer engagement and adaptation is key. Gaining feedback of issues and working on ways to mitigate, erase, or work around these issues is important to the longevity. A/B testing is important not only in the marketing but also on any future changes. Streamlining the overall process is important to help with your turn around time.
This is just a general process. Are there things we missed? Things we got wrong? Let us know in the comments below. Also, let us know if you would like to see this with more detail.