If you’re umming and ahhing and teetering on the edge of starting your own business, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve curated seven top tips to hospitality success, so read on and see how many you can check off.
1. Plan before the plunge. We know it’s tempting, but before you even think about signing that lease, make sure you really know what to expect. That means developing a detailed business plan. It’s time to put pen to paper and write down all your awesome ideas. You need to finesse your concept, work out a menu and suppliers, and understand your finances, cash flow, bills and break-event point. You need to know food safety, wages and staffing requirements, alcohol licences and the intricacies of coffee. Have you thought of everything?
2. Being a restaurateur basically means being a manufacturer. You’re producing a product (food and beverages) from raw materials (your ingredients) and selling it to a customer. You’ll be competing with lots of other manufacturers for that same customer, so you’ll need to do it better than the place across the road, or you’ll be out of business.
3. Get customers interested before you open doors. If you’re the best in town but no one shows up, what’s the point? Start thinking about how to drum up interest and get customers in the door before you even have doors. Some simple social media works a treat. What do you do differently to the three other restaurants on your block? Study the competition.
4. Find your purpose. What’s your reason for opening your own place? If it’s always been your dream to open a restaurant, you’re part of a pretty big club. You can’t open a place for the sake of it, you need to develop your business plan based on what’s special, unique or different about your restaurant. Find your advantage.
5. Do it with passion or not at all. To succeed in hospitality, you need to live and breathe it. Your passion also has to be contagious; your staff have to feel it and most importantly, so do your customers. You can’t fake authenticity.
6. Keep calm and carry on. The ability to keep cool under pressure, thrive in chaos and handle multiple points of view and personalities will serve you well in hospitality. The hours are long and the environment is inherently stressful. The industry changes constantly so you need to be able to think on your feet.
7. Be present. Being there day in and day out has no substitute. Being on the front line means you can keep your finger on the pulse, build rapport with your staff and get to know your customers
Want more tips on starting out in hospitality? Get your free pocket hard copy of Starting a Restaurant for Dummies.