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Many people think that starting a restaurant or an eatery is simple. They consider is the “basic” type of business to run because the product you offer is simple, funding is easy to get and you’re almost always going to make a profit. However, that’s simply a myth and starting up a culinary business, be it a restaurant or just a line of products, is much harder than it initially seems.
The culinary world is deceptive. It’s something people think they know because everyone eats food and everyone buys groceries at the supermarket, but it takes more than just knowledge of food in order to run a successful culinary business. From creating a concept to using technology and interacting with customers, being successful with your food is a lot more involved than you might think. In this article, we’ll be going through ten commandments that every successful culinary business venture needs to obey.
- Write a business plan
Far too many people forget that writing a business plan is a crucial step when it comes to running a successful company. Don’t be afraid to take this step slow because it should define everything that your business is about. Crafting a strong business plan takes time, so don’t rush it and take everything into consideration no matter how small something might seem.
- Create a concept
Every culinary venture needs to have a concept. Are you offering organic food made from fresh ingredients? Are you offering quick lunches to busy office workers? Or are you creating a brand of instant foods that are low-budget and economical? Every culinary venture is defined by a core concept that must be developed at the start.
- Seek proper funding
Funding is obviously important, but it’s a good idea to take a look at the different methods of funding. Some people prefer the standard route of using their savings or seeking a loan, but there are also loans that are specifically targeted towards restaurateurs. If you’re finding it difficult to secure funding, then it might be worth starting small with something like a food stall or pitching your ideas to an existing company before creating your own.
- Utilize technology
Technology is one of the biggest business game-changers in recent years. It helps with bookings, it helps with deliveries and it even helps with packaging your products and reading analytics to ensure you’re targeting the right people. Don’t go the traditional route of forgetting about technology–the way you run your business is just as important as the food you’re serving. Educating yourself about the technology you can use is perhaps the most important step. Although it’s possible to hire a professional to give you a hand, you want to do your homework to understand how technology is now used in the culinary world.
- Hire the right people
Many family-run restaurants consist of a chef and waiting staff–that’s it. It’s certainly going to work for a while, but it’s not sustainable. You need to train chefs to cover for illness, you need lots of waiting staff and a system to assign shifts, and you also need social media managers for when your brand starts to grow bigger.
- Condense your menu
Large menus are terrible. Not only does it overwhelm your patrons with choice, but it means you have to stock too many ingredients which ends up reducing the overall quality of your food. Condense your menu and focus on specific dishes and meals that are unique to you and embody the message behind your concept. When you start to get suggestions from customers and grow your brand, you can then venture out into the unknown and start adding more menu items. However, until you reach that stage, you want to focus on what you do best instead of pumping out mediocre dishes.
- Don’t neglect design
The design of your restaurant, the interiors, the branding, the packaging and even your website are incredibly important. As the saying goes, people eat with their eyes before anything else and presentation is everything. Make sure your food looks amazing, ensure that your establishment has a cohesive theme and give your culinary venture the exposure it deserves.
- Promote your opening
Whether you’re opening a restaurant or launching a new product with a supermarket, it’s essential that you think about how you can promote your products. Think about the audience that you’ll be appealing to and how you can capitalize on that. Think about the seasons that you’ll be releasing your products and if you can take advantage of fresh fruits, vegetables or even the weather. There are many ways to promote your opening and it’s crucial that you take this into consideration. The first impression you make is often the most important, so don’t screw it up!
- Protect your company
Let’s not forget that you need to protect your company in virtually every way possible. Consider restaurant insurance coverage so that your company is physically protected, remember to install shutters so that your restaurant isn’t vandalized, and make sure you have legal protection to ensure that your company’s products and famous dishes aren’t plagiarised and stolen by your competition.
- Interact with your customers
Lastly, don’t forget to interact with customers. Be it over the internet or in person, word of mouth marketing is strong in the culinary world and the more people you get talking about your restaurant, the more successful it will be. Make sure you’re always active on social media (hire someone to do it if you have to) and work on nurturing your brand locally as well. Be it running promotions, competitions or even hosting internet personalities (there are many restaurants doing eating challenges for exposure nowadays!) think of unique ways to interact with customers and get yourself out there.
Operating a business can be incredibly difficult, and running a restaurant is arguably on the higher-end of the difficulty spectrum. If you’re capable of growing your business as a restauranteur, then you’re prepared for any entrepreneurial venture you have in the future.
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