Food & Beverage

Opening a restaurant - a 9-step checklist

Thursday, March 1, 2018

You are on the verge of an exciting new project, and you can see your restaurant opening on the horizon. What do you need to finalise between now and the big event? Use this Opening a restaurant checklist to help you with the launch of your restaurant.

1. Licensing and permits

Do you have all the paperwork in place to enable you to go ahead and open the restaurant and sell food and alcohol?

2. Concepts and context

Before you start spending money, make sure that you’ve settled on your concept and the context to your restaurant. This is the brand story that will feed into everything, from the menus to the marketing. It’s difficult to tweak this at a later date without expense, so work on it early.

3. Location

Another early decision is where to locate the restaurant. There are a lot of factors that will feed into this, including accessibility, footfall and competitors.

4. Interior design

Atmosphere and interiors are almost as key to the success of a restaurant as the menus and service. How are you going to bring your designs to life and what is that likely to cost?

5. Legal support

It’s a good idea to decide early on how the business is going to be legally structured. If you have investors then they will probably have input in this. Risk is key here – for example, using a limited company structure will ensure that you are personally protected if anything should go seriously wrong or the restaurant should fail. Legal drafting and review may also be necessary for contracts, rent agreements and staff procedures. Each country, of course, differs legally.

6. Staff recruitment

Give yourself at least a couple of months to recruit staff for your restaurant. Start with those at the top who are likely to have the most input into the development of the restaurant, such as the Head Chef and the Restaurant Manager. Make sure you include them, where relevant, in the recruitment of other staff.

7. Equipment and furniture

It’s a good idea to get furniture and equipment into your restaurant as early as possible. Technology, such as point of sale systems, will also need to be installed and tested well before launch.

8. Menus, ordering and stock

It’s crucial to establish well in advance how the restaurant is going to handle the key processes involved. Devising menus, ordering and maintaining stock will play a significant part in whether the ongoing functioning of the restaurant is smooth and successful.

9. Marketing and advertising

Do you have a marketing strategy for the period up to the restaurant opening? How do you plan to build on your initial customer base? Consider everything from mainstream advertising, to social media marketing to get the word out about your new venture – in advance, and also once you’re up and running.