Whether you have decided to open your first café, restaurant, or food truck you have a lot of work ahead of you. Food businesses are complicated to set up and run, so it is important to plan each step carefully.
Do Your Research
Even if you have already decided what type of food business to run and what to serve it is still important to do some further research. In particular, you need to check that there is adequate demand for what you are planning to offer.
The best way to do this is to spend a few weeks using similar businesses in the area that you are planning to open. This article explains, in-depth, how to do it for a coffee shop. Use it to research market size, whether it is already saturated, and what customers want for any type of food business.
Work Out What Equipment You Will Need and Costs
Before you go further, identify roughly what your start-up costs and overheads will be. Do not be tempted to skip this step. It is all too easy to underestimate the costs and end up opening a business that is doomed to failure. For example, for a modern restaurant, food truck, and café digital signage is a must. Without it, it will be much harder to stand out from the crowd, attract people in, and be able to tempt them to enjoy more of your food.
Check It Makes Financial Sense
Once you know what your costs will be you can work out what your turnover needs to be in order to turn a profit. Because this is your first business, we suggest that you get an accountant or someone who already runs a food business to help you with this stage.
Put Together a Business Plan
If your business idea is financially viable, draw up a business plan. This will help you with the planning and can be used if you need to borrow money to get started.
Find the Ideal Location
During the research stage, you should have been looking out for good locations. Choose one and look for premises to rent or buy. In most cases, it will be easier to get the permissions you need and to adapt things so you can prepare and serve food if they are already being used as a food business.
Obtain Licenses, Permits, and Insurance
Before you sign a lease or buy premises double check that you can run a café or restaurant out of them. The authorities that issue the licenses and permits you need can advise you. Also, check that you can secure insurance.
Create Your Brand
In most areas, there are a lot of cafes, so you must get your branding right. If you don´t do that, attracting customers and keeping them coming back will be very difficult. This article explains how to create Café branding. What you learn there can easily be adapted if you are creating a restaurant, or food truck brand.
The first step of branding is to identify the demographics of your main customer group and work out what will appeal to them. Therefore, this stage includes finalizing your menu.
Choose Suppliers and Place Your First Order
Now that you know what you will be cooking it is also time to find suppliers and place your first orders. Ask for an introductory deal. Most will be only too happy to do this for you.
Put Together Your Cafe’s Marketing Strategy
Once you start physically putting together your cafe, restaurant, or food truck you are going to get incredibly busy. No matter how carefully you plan, things are not likely to go 100% smoothly. So, at that stage, you will not have time to put together your marketing strategy and get your launch advertising sorted out. That is why it is wise to get this task done early.
Put Together Your Team
It is a good idea to hire your team several weeks before opening. This will give you a chance to train them and get them all to work well together.
Do a Soft Opening
Having your staff in place will also enable you to do a soft opening. This gives you the chance to identify any issues while there is still sufficient time to sort them out. Inviting a few people to sample the food is also a good way to get potential long-term customers to talk about what you have to offer. Use what you have learned to make your actual opening more memorable for all of the right reasons.