So, you want to run a restaurant? Welcome, friend, to the industry of the brave, the creative, and the bold. If you’re starting out, with no culinary background, congrats! You’re already on the same path as many chefs and culinary experts the world looks to for inspiration, including, the late Anthony Bourdain.
If you’re like many in the food world, and coming from a past career with no culinary degree and no intention of going back to school – use these articles as a crash course in things you’ll need to know:
1. How to Calculate Recipe Costs
You’ll need to know how to do this. It’s tempting to be a maximalist when it comes to food. But if you’re planning on becoming a business, you’ll need to make the best recipes in a cost-effective way. This isn’t just for you, it’s also a great way to keep your menu affordable so even more guests can experience your food.
2. Where to Go If You Can’t Meet Minimums
You don’t need a full order from a distributor yet, because you're just starting out, but that doesn’t limit you to local cash and carry options or bulk brick and mortar chains. You can look to e-commerce providers who specialize in bulk food for restaurants. Food Service Direct has over 250,000 items including food and supplies.
3. Marketing Your Restaurant
This is going to be a pain in the you-know-what if you haven’t worked in marketing in the past. You’ll put yourself ahead of the curve by applying even a few of these strategies for marketing, including allowing users to make a reservation by adding links to your Google Business account, and developing one or two Instagram worthy dishes that will result in free marketing.
4. Menu Engineering
Hear us out. There is a whole science to menu design. Remember when you would go to a diner you love, but almost get a headache looking at the menu? Forgetting how bad the layout was, think about the time each guest takes, especially if they’ve never been there before. You are adding minutes to each table flip which over a long day, decreases sales. Design your menu to maximize profit.
5. Learn How to Manage Your Inventory
You’ll need to know how much food to order to meet sales, but not let food go to waste. There are terms and words that are standard in the industry that you’ll want to know. There are already templates that can help you manage this, either manually, or using software, depending on your budget. And inventory might be the most boring part of the work, but it’s one of the most crucial if you want your restaurant to thrive.
6. Understanding Restaurant Margins
This is not what you like to dream about when it comes to your future restaurant, but it is what you should know. Here’s a quick resource we recommend for a rapid course in restaurant profit and loss. For example, did you know the average restaurant profit margin usually falls between 3 – 5 percent? You’ll want benchmarks to know if you’re doing well or not, and this is a quick place to start. Plus, there are templates!