Learn how to cook even if you are not planning on being the executive chef at your restaurant. You are not gaining knowledge in the art of cooking so you can interfere with your chef's business, but rather so you understand the needs of a chef. If you can put yourself in your chef's shoes, you can better recognize his strengths and weaknesses, as well as ensure you give him everything he needs to be successful.
Acquire experience in all areas of the restaurant business if you want to be a successful restaurateur. Again, this is so you can understand and appreciate the responsibilities of your staff, but also so you can motivate and guide others effectively. Dish washing, waiting tables, and bartending are some of the positions you should undertake. You need to know how to perform every position in your restaurant so you can both train new staff members if necessary and know when a staff member is misinforming you.
Never stop learning about your industry so you are familiar with the latest and greatest trends. Take wine pairing classes if you plan on serving wines with your menus or specialty cooking tips with recognized chefs. Include some of your staff for training purposes.
Take business and accounting courses so you can set up an effective business plan and budget. Successful restaurant ownership is not just good food alone. It's about making smart business decisions and understanding what elements are working for your restaurant and what needs to be scrapped. You don't want to underestimate your start-up costs, so plan to save more than you expect to spend.
Choose a location that would benefit from your restaurant. This would mean researching the area and getting an understanding of what local patrons are missing and asking yourself if you can fill that void successfully. The restaurant should be in a busy location with a lot of parking. Try to avoid areas packed with other restaurants, as this competition can often steal money and customers from your business.
Hire approximately 6 weeks prior to launching your restaurant. This will allow you enough time to find quality staff. Employ your staff from people you have already worked with who you trust because you are familiar with their work habits. Offer salaries and benefits that are fair because good staff is hard to find and keep, especially a talented chef. Once you have found your chef, sit down with him to create a menu, but allow him to take the lead. Your chef is the head of the kitchen and if you trust him, you should trust his judgment. Give him the benefit of any doubt, until he proves he is incapable.
Design a restaurant space that parallels the food you are offering. A successful restaurant needs to be inviting and relaxing to your patrons and functional for your staff, especially the kitchen. It should be easy to clean and spacious for your customers, although not too spacious so that you are not utilizing your space lucratively.
Begin marketing your restaurant even before it's open for business. Hang a banner on the front of the window with the name and opening date professionally imprinted on it. Send out press releases and invite local patrons to an opening night to sample free food and wine. Continue to promote your restaurant on a regular basis after it is open for business.Get good workers and make sure they got experience and know what they're doing.
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