Opening a restaurant or a cafe might sound similar, but they have mild differences. While both are dining outlets, a coffee house usually has a simpler menu and casual set-up, and a restaurant has an elaborate menu with lavish decor. Both of them require market research, a prominent location, and menu selection to run successfully.
Regardless of which dining facility you wish to open, you need thorough planning and skillful execution.
The Basic Steps of Opening a Restaurant or a Cafe
Starting a cafe and restaurant requires a good amount of capital investment. Both the structures require a decent sit-and-dine set-up where people can gather, sit, order, and enjoy their meals. While cafes primarily focus on breakfast and evening coffee time, restaurants are typically meant for lunches and dinners. No matter what set-up you choose, starting the business will follow these common steps-
- Prepare a business plan.
- Interpret your vision about the outlet and the business goal
- Prepare a budget for the journey.
- Arrange for necessary capital funds to open the restaurant/cafe.
- Choose the location for your restaurant or cafe wisely, keeping the demand and budget in mind.
- Name your cafe or restaurant.
- Get your business registered and acquire the required insurances and licensure.
- Locate vendors and suppliers for all raw materials and equipment
- Design a winning menu for your facility. You can consider the restaurant or coffee shop theme while designing your menu.
- Source all the commercial equipment you require in your kitchen. The equipment you arrange depends on your menu planning.
- Decide on a restaurant or cafe theme and design the facility layout accordingly.
- Employ chefs, servers, and counter staff after testing their skills for the job.
- Indulge in promotions and marketing campaigns for your dining facility.
- List your restaurant or cafe with food aggregators.
- Open your doors to food delivery options and the online food ordering system.
Business Planning and Research
If you have decided to start a restaurant or cafe of your own, you need to research the market scenario and prepare a business plan to achieve the dream finally. No business plan can be successful without thorough market research. So, while you plan to open your restaurant, here are some of the things to research on-
- Choose a location to set up your cafe/restaurant and understand the demand in that area.
- Communicate with other cafes/restaurants’ owners and understand their experience in this field.
- Visit restaurants and cafes and see what diners prefer.
- Decide on a restaurant or cafe theme based on the diners’ demand.
- Understand the pitfalls of starting a restaurant/cafes
- While you do market research, find out the daily expenses one might incur to run a cafe or restaurant and the scope of daily income.
- The research will assist in the talent hunt or hiring reliable professionals for your dining facility.
Researching these points makes it easier to understand your clientele and fund requirements and plan your business accordingly.
Taking your Restaurant or Cafe Business Live
Do you have the business plan, licensure, and restaurant/cafe layout ready? Have hired trained chefs, restaurant host, administrative/ finance person, or your serving staff? If the set-up is ready, all equipment is functioning, and you have arranged for the raw materials, your business is ready to go live. It is now the time to finalize a launching date and promote the restaurant.
To go live with your restaurant, you need a brief checklist at your disposal.
The kitchen and Food Production Checklist
- Test run all the equipment at least twice before the big day of launch.
- Establish the flow of order with the kitchen staff.
- While promoting the restaurant/cafe launch, invite your friends and family members to visit the establishment on the launch day, taste your food, and leave honest feedback.
- Purchase fresh and high-quality ingredients for the big day.
- In the modern world, where home delivery of food items is more popular than dine-in, it is essential to stock a good quantity of packing materials and cutleries.
- Maintain kitchen hygiene.
Customer Readiness at the Gate
- If you plan to have a gala launching event for your restaurant, send out invitations to your friends, family members, or probable guest from your database, and prepare to welcome them.
- Prepare a menu card (in restaurants) or write the day’s menu on the board (in cafes).
- Ensure the outlet signboard is working.
- Improve the interior decor of your coffee shop or restaurants to create a welcoming atmosphere.
- Ensure all the staff are ready in a clean uniform, with sanitation training.
- The housekeeping staff should be at their toes.
- If you want something big, keep the photographer ready for shots.
The success of your restaurant or coffee is solely dependent on the first day of smooth operation. Smooth operation on the first day builds confidence among employees and gains guests’ trust. To ensure that operation, follow the below points-
- The staff need to be toe ready to serve the customers without delay.
- Keep the POS machine, calculator, and bill generator ready.
- Ensure you have fast internet connectivity. Every restaurant or cafe is nowadays expected to provide free Wi-Fi support to their customers.
Restaurant or coffee shop business is a promising business in India. An owner can make around 20%-35% profit margin by running a full-scale restaurant business. To ensure you have a successfully operative business, you need to focus on market research and stay updated with the food trend.