Are you one of those people who get rave reviews for every meal? Whether you’re making a holiday dinner or a birthday cake, you’ve got friends and family lining up at your door for a taste. No doubt, all those folks have told you at one point that, “You should open up your own restaurant.” That is a very noble dream and one that can be both financially and emotionally rewarding. It can also be financially and emotionally draining. Opening a restaurant is going to require a large investment of capitol and time. Let’s stipulate that you’ll have amazing food. Guess what? That’s not enough to create a successful restaurant. Here are some common mistakes new restaurant owners make that spell doom:
Mistake #1: Picking An Awful Location
Just because a potential space has great parking and a cheap lease doesn’t make it perfect. You really need to know the neighborhood you’re moving into. For instance, if you’re opening up a burger joint in a thriving vegan community than you might have trouble. Yes, that’s an extreme example but it points out how important your location is for your business. Don’t assume folks will travel a long way to get your food. You want to set up shop in a friendly neighborhood that will help sustain your business. If you can build a decent amount of traffic for lunch or breakfast because of surrounding businesses, then all the better. Bottom line: Don’t rush to sign a lease because it’s the “deal of the century.” Spend time in the area first.
Mistake #2: Trying To Make Everyone Happy
Have you ever been to a restaurant where the menu reads like a small novel? Page after page of mouth-watering delights? Yeah, that’s a huge mistake. That is someone who is trying to please a lot of people. It’s also a restaurant owner who is putting a lot of stress on their staff not to mention all the food costs associated with carrying all those items. Keep it simple. Even if you find that niche concept, you don’t want to overload your customers or your crew. You can always add items down the line.
Mistake #3: Trying To Make Yourself Happy
When it comes to food, it really doesn’t matter what you like. Yes, your tasting skills are crucial but it’s really about the customer. Just because you don’t like seafood doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be an option on the menu.
Mistake #4: Putting Up With A Lazy Staff
Great food won’t amount to much if your staff doesn’t treat your customers right. That especially includes keeping your place clean. The standards for your restaurant should be set by you and those should be high standards indeed. Don’t put up with any staff member who is lazy or cut corners. You’re not their friend. They aren’t your family (even if they are!). You’re the boss. They are the employee. You have a business to run. Keep it that way.
Mistake #5: Opening Too Soon
Once everything is in place and you’ve got the menu and staff ready to go, you probably want to throw a big grand opening party. Don’t. You have only one shot at making a positive first impression. If you have a big blow out and are slammed, then your whole staff and menu could collapse. Instead, sneak in several soft openings. Invite friends, family, and a few neighbors. Move slowly. See what works and what is needed. Once you’ve worked out the bugs, then you can throw your big party.
If you opened a restaurant, then what would be the “specialty of the house?”