Restaurant Opening Checklist: How to Start On The Right Foot

So…you want to open a restaurant? Sounds good, doesn’t it? Opening a restaurant takes a lot of hard work and the amount of paperwork and tasks you need to take care of, can be overwhelming.

To help ensure your new venue runs smoothly and is profitable, we’ve put together a checklist for the inexperienced restaurateur:

Research and preparation:

Decide on a restaurant cuisine or concept, then scout the competition to see how competitive your niche is to know what you will be up against. Do a Google search for similar restaurants nearby and visit them as a customer to get a feel for their experience and even pick up some useful tips.


Lease or buy a location:

You can choose to lease a space, or buy it – the ideal setup for someone with low funds would be a former restaurant, as it would have a lot of the necessary equipment already in place. If you can afford to invest more, you can buy an empty space that you can design from scratch.

Write a business plan:

This plan should contain everything from a detailed restaurant concept to expected earnings and feasibility. Will your restaurant make money? Does the market need a restaurant like yours?

Apply for necessary licences you will need:

Be ready to fill out many restaurant forms such as business, liquor and food service licence applications. Make sure you research exactly what licences you need and apply well ahead so you are not waiting around for permission to open.

Install signs to let people know you’ll be opening soon:

Grab future diners’ attention with your restaurant concept by signage advertising your opening, or promote a first week of discounts to celebrate the occasion.

Hiring and buying:


Every new restaurant checklist should detail the process of hiring staff and buying the necessary equipment and furniture.

Interview and hire quality staff:

From wait staff to Chefs, you’ll need a great team to make your restaurant stand out and become successful – personality and team spirit count for a lot in this industry.

Buy equipment and smallwares:

Buy the best quality commercial equipment needed to start your restaurant – quality doesn’t necessarily mean new, so if you are short on funds, consider buying second-hand equipment.

Buy furniture:

By now, you’ll have a vision of how your restaurant will look, so search for furniture that complements the concept you are going for. You’ll need tables and chairs for indoors and if you have an alfresco area, umbrellas are a must have.


Order a POS:

Most diners pay for their meal by credit or debit card – and in these COVID days most venues are completely contact-less for payment. Not having a POS will mean not only losing customers, but money!

Set up an online ordering system:

Again with COVID, many restaurants are relying on their online ordering system to survive. WOWAPPS has commission-free online ordering as just part of our overall package, try it for 30 days for free!

Menu planning:

One of the more fun tasks…choose the dishes you’re going to serve, determine your food production needs and work out prices and portion sizes.


Staff planning:

Design a safety program for employees, plan their training, set schedules and order uniforms. You also need to design the organisational structure of your staff, so everyone knows exactly what their roles are.

Set the opening date and hours of operation:

Setting an opening date allows you to promote your restaurant online and physically in the neighbourhood. Your hours of operation are also important for your staff, suppliers and future customers.

Buy a domain for your restaurant website:

This can help put your restaurant on the map, your website should be sales-optimised, SEO-optimised and user-friendly.


Devise a restaurant opening marketing plan:

Get things cracking with a grand opening event and market it across all social media and online platforms. Offer discounts, or create a special menu just for the opening and bring in live entertainment.

Have two soft openings:

Test run your restaurant with family and friends, but also hold a soft opening for local influencers to help get the word out. Both will help you iron out any bugs to ensure a great experience for your first paying customers.


Stage a grand opening:

Ready to go? Here’s some ideas for marketing the big day:

  • Delicious food and refreshing drinks – all 50% off. Are you in?
  • Celebrate our grand opening – the drinks are on us.
  • Grand opening special – pizza and garlic bread combo just $19.99.
  • It’s official…here’s where you’ll find the best Greek food in town.

Good luck and remember WOWAPPS is here to help in any way we can!


Tags

Restaurants


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