It seems like all of America is watching “Next Great Restaurant.” I’m actually sitting here watching it right now when I came up with the inspiration to write this blog. If you haven’t seen the show yet, the concept is incredibly simple. A dozen contestants go head to head to compete for the opportunity to open their dream restaurant. Watching the show I began to think of how easy people must think it is to open a restaurant. It’s not! The number one mistake that restaurateurs make is overlooking startup expenses when opening. Here are 5 commonly overlooked expenses that you should not overlook:
1- ADVERTISEMENT!!!! You have to advertise these days!! It takes more than just great food and decor to bring the people in. Customers need to know who you are , where you are, and why they should select your restaurant over the thousands of others out there. An inexpensive and effective way to do this is to advertise through social media outlets such as Facebook. Don’t forget the added expense of trademarks, logos, and graphics to be used.
2- Equipment Installation- Okay, so you are handy enough to install your gas range at home, but can you install a Vulcan 358,000 BTU, 60″ 10 Burner Gas Range with 2 Standard Ovens? Probably not. Be aware that different types of installers could be needed to install different types of equipment. You’ll need someone to install the Norlake Walk-in Cooler as well as the proper hood ventilation.
3- Permits and License- Permits and licenses are legally required for the safety of you and others but their fees can really add up quickly. Check your state, city, and county for applicable licenses and fees. Some will include
- License for Your Business
- Food Handler’s License or Permit
- Liquor license (if you’re going to serve liquor)
- Music license (if you’re going to play music)
- Fire Certificates
- Sign Permit
4- Designing a Menu- A well engineered menu is key to profitability and popularity. A good tip is to hire a photographer and graphic designer to create a beautiful menu with pictures that will capture your hungry customers eyes. Its quite easy to list the food you’re offering, it’s a whole new thing to show them exactly what will be be put in front of them.
5- Training Employees- First, you’ll need to pay to put help wanted ads in the local newspapers as well as most online employment search sites. After you hire your dream team, do not, I repeat do not assume that the experienced waitress you hired can effectively and accurately sell your menu. Take the time to train them on each dish- what ingredients did you use, how is it prepared, which wines will compliment the dish, and will the apple pie ala mode or the creme brulee make the dish complete. Have your cooks come in for several weeks before opening day to practice making each dish in a variety of ways. This will require having your team come in before you open to learn the menu. Remember their proficiency is your profitability.