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5 Things to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Restaurant

Owning a restaurant can be a rewarding venture for anyone who wants to be their own boss. Being your own boss, crafting a unique menu, and setting your own hours can be appealing to many of us. And right now could be a good time for you to start one, but don’t let the upsides cloud your version completely. There are some things you’ll want to consider before quitting your day job.

Are you prepared to consistently work more than 40 hours per week?

A common mistake many restaurant entrepreneurs make is thinking that their workload will be their hours of operation. Though this is a good time to get work done, it is by no means the only hours you’ll be working. Running a restaurant requires countless hours of preparation, clean up, and maintenance to keep it functioning successfully. Ask any owner who is also the general manager and they’ll attest to their workweeks often being 50 or even 60 hours. Also, these aren’t just the 9-5 office workdays. Many hours spent in restaurants come when other people aren’t working such as late nights on Fridays and Saturdays and early mornings on Sundays.

Do you have a handle on upfront costs?

Costs for a restaurant can seem daunting. Rent or mortgage, payroll, advertising, and food and beverage can average between $500,000 and $1,000,000 before the doors are even opened on the upper end. Having a strong understanding of where you’ll be investing your money is key to keeping costs down. Finding wholesale prices can eliminate high prices for products. You’ll definitely want to know which store you’ll be going to for your restaurant supply. A company such as Go! Foodservice is a great place to find quality products at cost-saving prices. They have everything you need from cookware to catering accessories.

Do you have the right people and equipment around you to make your vision happen?

In no other industry can operations come to a grinding halt if just one employee isn’t pulling their weight. Having a great dishwasher is nearly as important as having a great head chef, though all employees are important. If you need help finding quality employees, companies like GoodTime can simplify your hiring process. Their platform streamlines interviews and other hiring processes so you don’t have to worry about finding the right people— GoodTime has you covered. This way, you can focus on the many other tasks involved in opening a new restaurant.

An efficient set of kitchen equipment is critical to having lasting success as well. Nothing is worse than equipment failure in the middle of a Friday night rush. Make sure that you have a commercial kitchen if you are running your business like a corporate restaurant. With the right people and the rights tools, starting a restaurant will be a much easier process.

Do you have the right location and floor plan?

It seems cliché, but a major reason why many restaurants succeed or fail is all due to location. Location is important for several reasons. For example, you don’t want to open a bakery when there are already half a dozen pastry shops on the block. Also, don’t expect to run a take-out taco stand if you’ve got nowhere to park or can’t offer curbside delivery. Do your research on the style and type of restaurant you want to open. This physical flow will translate to a better flow for your patrons and employees. If the location and floor plan work, you’ll save some headaches later.

What will set you apart from the competition?

Will you be the chic bakery on the corner that sells the best croissants? Are over a dozen different types of mac-n-cheese your niche? Find what you do really well and make that your staple. Whether it’s an amazing deck with a view or the best bison burgers, identify your personal unique claim to fame, do your research on restaurant equipment and personnel, and get your restaurant business underway.