This may seem a bit random, but have you ever been told how amazing your cooking is? Do people always compliment it, and do they make comments like ‘wow, this is so good! You should open a restaurant’?
It’s something that happens from time to time, and you take no notice of it. Oh, they’re just polite, you tell yourself. But what if they’re right? What if people would pay money to try your cooking?! It would be a fantastic way to make money, and you get to do what you love; cook.
So, this brings me onto today’s blog; what if you actually opened a family restaurant? It doesn’t have to be massive, you don’t have to start opening chains, but what if you set up a family business and showed your food to more people? How would you go about doing this?
If this is an idea that you’ve maybe had at the back of your mind and never acted upon, then I’ll try and help you out. Here’s a guide to help you get started, along with a few key points to consider:
Decide what food you’ll serve
A restaurant is only as good as its menu. With that in mind, you have to figure out what food you’ll serve. This shouldn’t be much of a challenge, just think about the dishes people have complimented you on the most!
Also, if your family has a particular cultural or ethnic background, then you might make a specific type of food. For example, if your family is Italian, then you’ll know how to make authentic pasta dishes and loads of excellent homecooked Italian meals. People love this stuff, it’s way better than the cheap and quick Italian food from non-authentic restaurants.
So, settle on the cuisine and come up with a menu that includes a handful of dishes. For a family restaurant, it’s all about quality over quantity. You can’t have a massive menu as it puts too much pressure on the chefs in the kitchen. This leads to a dilution of quality, so your food doesn’t taste like it’s had that homecooked love and care poured into it!
Find a location for the restaurant
Okay, you obviously need somewhere to set up the restaurant. The somewhat good news is that restaurants close all the time. Now, that sounds bleak for your future, but there’s a reason most places close. Usually, it’s because they’re a big chain that doesn’t really bring anything unique to the area. Or, it’s a small restaurant that tries to compete with the big chains and fails. With your family restaurant, you offer a unique selling point; homecooked food that tastes just like it’s being served up on your dining room table.
So, look around for any retail units that you can potentially rent. I wouldn’t recommend buying one, just because it usually ends up more expensive. You can always buy it in the future, but renting should be good enough for now.
Also, try and find a good location. You want your restaurant to be visible and have lots of people walking by it all the time. Of course, thanks to social media and the internet, this isn’t as important as it once was. Even small restaurants in secluded little back alleys will gain lots of customers if the food is good. All people need to do is check the online reviews and follow the Google Maps directions!
Design the inside
Obviously, you need to make your restaurant look nice. The way it appears will vary depending on what type of restaurant you open. For example, a family restaurant serving Asian cuisine has a very different decor to one serving Italian food.
Bearing that in mind, consider what your restaurant should look like to make people want to come inside. For a family restaurant, the main theme should be comfort. Diners should feel like they’re at home when they come to your restaurant. They should feel as though they’re settling down for a nice quiet meal with their family. You don’t want it to be too loud or ‘out there’, let the whacky chains deal with all of that.
Sort out your money
Clearly, you can’t go ahead with this idea unless you have your finances sorted out. You will almost certainly need to start saving money. The only way I can see you affording this right now is if you’ve planned to open a restaurant for some time, or you’ve fallen into a substantial sum of money.
Do some research and figure out the average cost of opening a small restaurant. Then, you should calculate the expenses and look at how much money you have. It’s well worth investing in some restaurant accounting software to help you deal with the financial side of things. It just makes it easier for you to visualize your accounts and see where the money is coming and going. You could use regular accounting software, but a restaurant-specific one is more tailored to this business idea.
Raise awareness before opening your doors
The worst thing to happen to your restaurant is that nobody comes in. Imagine opening the doors for the first time and seeing no customers. It’s a horrible feeling, so you need to ensure it doesn’t happen.
You can do lots of things to raise awareness for your restaurant. Firstly, use social media platforms to reach out to friends/family and get them to spread the word. Then, you could take to the streets with samples of your food for people to buy. It could even be a smart idea to hold a few free tasting evenings in the lead up to the launch. People won’t turn down free food, so they get to come and see what your restaurant is about. They’ll love it so much that they recommend it to everyone!
The more awareness you raise, the more hype there is around your restaurant. As a result, you’ll be fully booked for the whole opening week.
If you have a passion for cooking, and everyone always goes on about how amazing your food is, then why don’t you open a restaurant? It can be the start of a long-lasting family business! Hopefully, this guide has shed some light on the matter and given you a few things to think about.