A mere diner will hardly ever notice all the bustling going on behind the kitchen door – that is one among many wonderful perks of eating in restaurants. However, let’s not forget – while for some, food is a passion, for others, cooking is a lucrative business. In case your aspirations aim at having a blooming restaurant business, being an excellent cook is not the only thing you need to get there.
It takes a lot of investment and it is hard work. It is not rewarding right away. Competition is tough. But it doesn’t mean it is impossible – you just need to be well informed and do your homework, and these are your tasks:
1. The first thing you need is concept. The food or menu, decor, location and all other aspects related to the business will have to be worked out on the basis of the concept. So, what kind of restaurant do you want?
2. Secondly, you will need to think about the structure of your business: are you going solo, or in partnership, as a trust or company? There are advantages as well as disadvantages for each of them. It is important that you consult an accountant or a business consultant or solicitor who will help you to decide on the structure that suits you best.
3. For your business to succeed, you must identify the best location to set up the restaurant. Don’t forget to carry out a thorough market research before finalizing the location.
4. Select a suitable name for your restaurant. It should be easy for your customers to spell as well as remember the name. The name can reflect a theme such as Mexican, Continental or Chinese, a location, etc. The most important aspect related to the name is the impression that it will create on your customers.
5. Menu is an important aspect and it is the major reason why your customers keep coming back to your restaurant. You must avoid menu designs that look very amateurish and get the menu card designed by a professional. Planning your menu at the concept stage itself helps you to make better equipment buying as well as layout decisions. After the menu is firmed up, you can create the wine list that goes well with the food you serve. Finally, you need to properly fix up prices for the items listed in the menu so that you make the desired profits required to sustain the business.
6. Equipping your restaurant’s kitchen, bar and dining room constitutes a major part of start-up expenditure. Therefore, you should shop around to see if you can get bargain deals on used and leased equipment. It is also important that you have clear understanding about your needs and wants so that you don’t end up buying unnecessary equipment and furniture. In this connection, you can also look at the rent-try-buy commercial equipment solutions offered by some companies.
If your goal is to fill your business with equipment at a lower risk initially, you can go for short 12-month equipment contracts. After 12 months, you can return the equipment if you don’t need them or upgrade your machines as desired. In case you decide to buy the equipment after the contract expiry date, these companies often provide a discount of 75 percent.
7. Your staff is the face of the restaurant. It is crucial to hire the right staff members. People may love the food you provide, but if the service is not good you may lose your customers. For certain positions such as dining room manager, head cook and bartender, you need to hire experienced persons. Finally, allocate sufficient time for training the staff prior to the opening of the restaurant.
8. For your restaurant business to operate legally, you are required to follow several steps. The aim of these steps is to ensure that consumers are protected against food borne illnesses. They also ensure that you follow the right food business procedures.
· First of all, you need to obtain a food business licence from your local council.
· The classification of food business within each state or territory in Australia is different. For proper licensing, it is important to identify the classification of your food business.
· Licensing and registration will be handled by the local council.
· In many Australian states, it is mandatory that a Food Safety Supervisor is present at all times.
· According to the law, all food businesses are required to comply with food safety related regulations. Australian food businesses are obligated to follow the safety standards so that the food they make is suitable to eat and safe. Hygiene and health obligations for food handlers are also specified. The food standards code can be obtained for free from Food Safety Authority of Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ).
9. When it comes to designing your kitchen, you can follow the guidelines provided in the booklet “Safe Design of Commercial Kitchens”. The booklet has been prepared with the help of University of South Australia and it provides the hospitality industry with recommendations for implementing the best practices.
10. Stay informed and keep up to date. Some of the key food trends for 2014 as identified by experts are as follows:
· Kylie Kwong, famous chef/sustainability activist, suggests that edible insects will be cooked and eaten as a healthy source of protein.
· More and more native ingredients like wild warrigal greens, rich in iron, are being used. In Australia-themed dinners, kangaroo and wallaby are often the hit proteins.
· Produce from crowd farms (those harvested from local backyards, balconies, window sills, etc.) will be used to cook food.
· Barbecue is trending to be the most-used home cooking tool.
· According to Niel Perry, most awarded Australian chef, the country integrates Asian flavors better than any other country in the world. Terry Durack, a leading restaurant critic in Australia, points out that hipster Asian food is becoming popular.
· Australian restaurants would aim for zero-wastage in the future.
As far as the restaurant industry trend is concerned, the Dimmi 2013 Australian Dining Index has determined that more and more diners are using smartphones to research and book restaurants. Mobile devices are being made use of for about 33 percent the bookings ($2.6 billion). The industry has grown 3.17 percent during the 2013 financial year. According to report, online bookings have increased as much as 564 percent from 2011.
Finally, don’t ever EVER underestimate quality of food you serve. The food business is huge and highly competitive. Many restaurants fail only because of the quality food or service that they provide. If you offer good food and provide training to your staff as to how they should deal with the customers, your business will definitely grow. And the bonus tips are:
· It is important to have your own website. This is because the diners of today want to check out the current menu, entertainment, directions and specials.
· Image-based social sites, such as Pinterest and Instagram, are perfect places to grab the attention of prospective diners. You can post pictures of juicy and luscious food.
· Use Facebook and Twitter for social engagement.
· Manage your brand image as well as online reputation.
· Stay on-trend.
· Get creative as fusion foods are becoming strong
· Never neglect the health buzz.
In short, take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.