Owning your own restaurant can be a lucrative business, offering the freedom to be your own boss and enjoy your passion for food and people. However it takes time, money, and dedication to set up your dream restaurant and success stories rarely happen overnight. Starting up a restaurant takes a lot of careful planning and hard work, but the rewards certainly make up for it. Here are our top 5 things to consider before starting up in the restaurant business:

1. Market research 

You need to do thorough market research on your competitors and develop a detailed business plan before starting any business venture. Look at successful restaurants in your area and find out what makes them so popular – what do people like about the restaurant? What food do they serve? What is unique about it? You should then incorporate these ideas into your own business plan, or even better, try to create something that is completely unique to make your restaurant stand out from your competitors. The Birds Nest Restaurant in Thailand has gone one step further by offering customers the opportunity to dine in a hand-made birds nest 16 feet above the ground! This is regularly photographed and featured across social media, which attracts thousands of customers desperate to book a spot and experience this truly unique dining experience.

This suggests that you’ll also need to consider how you will market your restaurant. In today’s modern society, social media plays a huge part in online marketing and so don’t underestimate it’s value. Social media lets you get the message out about your restaurant, engage with your existing customers while attracting new ones. Make sure that your market research includes looking at other restaurants social media accounts, to help you develop a media marketing strategy that’s right for your business.

2. Location of your restaurant 

The next thing to consider is where your restaurant will be located. A restaurant’s location can make or break it – you could be serving the best food in town, but if customers can’t find or access your restaurant easily, then you aren’t likely to get many people through the door. Inc explain how some people won’t go to a restaurant simply because they have to make a U-turn at a traffic light. Others also will not go to a restaurant if they have to cross traffic can’t find a parking space right outside.

This is why it’s important to research the area where you’re planning on setting up your restaurant. You should focus on visibility and accessibility and make sure that the area has the right requirements. You also need to look into the history of the site to check whether any other restaurants have opened and closed in the same spot. If this is the case, then you need to look at the reasons why, and consider whether this is the best location to open your restaurant.

3. Type of food you will offer

Choosing what type of food you will offer and designing your restaurant menu allows your creative juices to flow, and is one of the most exciting parts of setting up a restaurant. However, it’s important to know what type of food will appeal to your customers and create an enticing menu that will cater for everyone. Experts at The Balance explain how the ideal menu has a balance of old favourites such as burgers and pizza as well as unique dishes. It’s best to offer customers food that they’re already comfortable with, but add a distinctive twist to keep the menu interesting and intriguing.

4. Quality of your service  

Though great food and attractive decor are obviously important to the success of your restaurant, they aren’t usually enough to make customers want to keep coming back. Good quality service is one of the most important aspects in creating a great experience for your customers. When hiring, remember that everyone will contribute to the overall atmosphere and energy of your restaurant. All of your staff should be helpful, friendly, have great product knowledge, and be able to deal with any complaints tactfully.

5. Decor/theme of your restaurant

Designing your restaurant allows you to be creative and bring your dream to life. According to social media experts at Crave, the average diner is now more likely to make their choice of restaurant based on aesthetic photos uploaded on apps like Instagram. You therefore need to create a ‘Pinterest worthy’ venue that is photo-friendly, unique, and stimulating. When designing your decor try to pick unique furniture, wallpaper, and art, to give your restaurant a quirky edge. Having customers post pictures of your restaurant on social media is a great way to market your business and it’s completely free!

The five tips above are essential considerations when opening up a new restaurant, as each factor will have a significant impact on your business. But, by following the advice offered here, you can be sure that your restaurant will have a smooth startup.