People often love the idea of a food business, long before they know what it entails. Watching movies like Burnt, or Chef and seeing how heated and stressful the kitchen can become does give you some insight.
And, of course, how hard could it be? That pizza place you order from has been there for years – so has the Chinese takeaway on the corner. But think about the restaurants. How many of them have opened and closed, lasting only two years before disappearing totally?
This isn’t about putting you off, in fact, it is the opposite – people will always need great food. Cooking and creating new recipes is a passion – and you should always give it your best shot. Just remember a few of the following tips and expect to work incredible hours.
All businesses need a business plan. This is no different. What is different however is that you will always have to consider the safety of your customers, from tripping on the floor, drink spilling to the hygiene in the kitchen and the quality of the food.
If you have a concept restaurant, then you are going to need to manipulate your business plan to match. For example, if you aren’t planning on opening a big restaurant – but instead a small exclusive place – you’ll need to think about how you’re going to draw people in and make money.
This is a place that you can’t skimp on. Making cuts when it comes to getting the best things for the job isn’t an option. And you’ll need a big range of things:
- Glassware and barware
- Utensils in the kitchen – industrial kitchen ones – steel most often for durability
- Ovens, grills, fryers, sous vide, vacuum packing, microwaves and more
- Cold storage like that from Retracom to keep all of your produce fresh
- Silverware – the front of house ones, tablecloths, napkins, placements
- Pots and pans – ones to suit your intended menu
- Table, chairs, interior decor
And that isn’t even everything. So head to a restaurant and take a seat, make a list of everything you see.
You’ll need a team in place long before the doors open. Kitchen staff are typically hard workers with a lot of passion, their kitchen will matter to them just as much as it does to you. That said, don’t be surprised if you see that on their CVS they have hopped from job to job regularly. Different kitchens teach different skills.
Bartender, servers, kitchen staff and hosts are a must. Plus busboys.
Licenses and Permits
You will need a lot to be compliant with the applicable health and safety codes in your state or country. Due to the fact you are dealing with the things that people consume, it is essential that you get everything in place asap.
- All of your personal tax documents
- Business license for your city or state
- A food service license
- Certificate of Occupancy
- A liquor license for serving cocktails and hard liquor
- Tavern license for beer and wine
- And a cabaret license if you have a space for dancing
Different food business concepts will need different license combinations – so always check as you go what you need.
And all of that is before you have even opened your doors. However, the restaurant business is vibrant, fast and exciting. There are big highs and big lows too. Having a team around you that supports your vision and work hard will make the process feel much lighter also.