Resources to Start a Restaurant Business

by Steve Brachmann; Updated September 26, 2017
Selecting a stunning restaurant concept can increase marketability.

The restaurant industry is a major player in the American economy. As of 2007, total American restaurants had eclipsed 900,000, doing a combined business of $537 billion while employing 12.8 million people. Unfortunately, most start-up restaurants are forced to close within one year of beginning operations. If you are thinking of opening a restaurant, there are basic resources you need to make sure are provided. Planning the early stages of your restaurant well will increase your business' chance of survival.

Human Resources

Unless you want to be personally charged with the responsibility of caring for every single patron that enters your establishment, you're going to need to hire a staff of people able to perform several jobs. If you plan on taking a significant role in management or food preparation, you can count yourself as an employee. However, you will need cooks to prepare the food, a wait staff to cater to specific tables and a manager to ensure business operations. Manager salaries will cost anywhere between $22,000 and $40,000 per year.

Many local publications will allow businesses to advertise for help for a small fee. Online classifieds such as Craigslist.org can also advertise for help. Contact your local employment office and notify them that you have openings for your business. Once you begin your business, you may be able to attract potential hires from your patrons by hanging a window sign advertising for help wanted.

Food Service

Food service providers are an integral part of any successful restaurant plan. Food service providers deliver food directly to your restaurant, so selecting a company that can provide the proper options for your business is crucial for profitability. Popular food service providers, such as Sodexo, can be found online, or additional resources can be accessed through Allfoodbusiness.com.

Building

You're going to need to find the proper building to house your restaurant. If you have the capital to build a restaurant on purchased property, you're going to need to obtain a special set of permits and licenses for construction. Also, make sure that the building design you create is easily accessible yet intriguing. Hiring specific staff for creative construction ideas, including drafters and graphic designers, may enhance the final appearance of your restaurant.

Whether building a new location or inhabiting a previously constructed building, there are some concepts to keep in mind when choosing a location. Make sure your restaurant is located in a high traffic area, preferably mostly foot traffic, with a high degree of visibility for people passing by. Remember to consider parking availability when choosing a location. Take care to ensure that the price of your restaurant, between purchasing the property and any construction or renovations, is within your budget.

Concept

To ensure that your restaurant can bring in patrons, come up with a concept that will be appealing to a major demographic of the area you plan to occupy. Major age demographics are generally separated into Generation Y (born 1980 to 2000), Generation X (1965 to 1977) and Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964); older individuals are generally grouped as empty nesters (ages 50 to 64) or senior citizens (65+). Younger diners appreciate faster service, while the older population enjoys a more formal dining experience.

Restaurants are generally categorized as either quick service, family dining or casual dining. Quick service restaurants include fast food restaurants or other similar dining businesses that value speed of service above all else. Family dining restaurants offer a fixed menu with set prices for all items, and provide seating arrangements for larger parties. Casual dining restaurants offer a laid back atmosphere with more moderately priced food. Other restaurant types include fine dining, which offers a more sophisticated dining experience for a higher price, and ethnic restaurants, which specialize in a specific country or culture's cuisine.

To create a concept that will be intriguing and marketable to local consumers, make sure to study the demographics of the surrounding area. Statistics on demographics can be found either through the US Census Bureau or your local city or town hall. Professional market analysts can also be hired to provide more in-depth analysis of your surrounding market.

Equipment

Certain pieces of equipment are necessary to ensure proper food storage and safety. Make sure to provide your kitchen with plenty of refrigeration and freezer space to keep food fresh. Refrigerators and freezers for commercial restaurant use will more than likely be the walk-in variety. Purchasing a high-quality food processor can enhance the quality and variety of food your restaurant can make available. For fast food restaurants, fryers can provide the crispy, hot food that many find satisfying, like French fries. Beverage taps allow your restaurant to purchase drink syrups that can be quickly added to a pump, which allows your restaurant to keep several popular drinks on tap. Also, remember to keep in mind the utensils your customers will need to eat, such as plates, cups and forks.