If sitting restoration makes you dream, the reality is sometimes much more difficult. Increasing tax pressure, hygiene control, cash register standards, difficulty in retaining staff are recurring issues. However, opening a restaurant in a country that highly values gastronomy is not impossible.
#1 A concrete business plan to attract investors
In order to be able to open your restaurant, it is essential to have a business plan. In it, you will find your detailed project and the expected expenses, in short, everything that concerns your company. The idea is to be able to rest on a stable basis and thus convince investors of the viability of the concept to gain their trust. It is also necessary to use a dashboard from the beginning to better manage your ratios. “The business plan helps to convince the partners to follow you in your adventure. The idea is to explain how you will achieve your objectives.”
What a business plan should include:
- The actor(s) of a project: presentation of the creators, background, motivations, personal balance
- The formalization of the project: concept, market study, choice of location, commercial action plan
- Economic and legal structuring: company status and management status, investment needs, financing plan
- The economic feasibility study
The market research includes a macro-economic approach, which sets a global consumption trend, and a microeconomic approach that defines who the future customers will be, what budget they will have, etc. Finally, it allows you to identify your competitors.
#2 A safe place that will be safe in the years to come
Make sure that the area in which you want to set up your business is not exposed to flooding or the construction of a building that would block the view, for example. It is preferable to be vigilant and seek the advice of an expert on the commercial lease that defines the operating conditions so as not to have any unpleasant surprises. It is also necessary to be attentive to the condition of the premises in relation to standards and occupancy costs.
Pay particular attention to the catchment area
In addition, the location must be easily accessible to customers, located in a developing area if possible. Make sure there is a flow of passengers in the area to ensure that you have a potential customer base.
#3 A strong positioning vis-à-vis the competition
Why you rather than another restaurant? Feel free to mark your difference and your signature with a strong visual identity. Customers like to go to a place that bears its trademark. Be original, be unique, be you, and you will build customer loyalty. Whether it is through decoration (which you can choose second hand, for a vintage… and economical side!), communication, everything is possible to stand out. The location already makes your establishment unique, play on this argument!
#4 An establishment adapted to catering
Think practical, think ergonomic! Many restaurateurs take over a former inn or restaurant. However, if this is not the case, plan and take into account all the parameters of the restoration: the passage into the kitchen, the service, the place for the kitchen, the seating plan, the ventilation, the optimization of the space for the service, etc. Check that the location will adapt well to the standards so as not to get stuck during a PMR access control, for example.
#5 Be up to standard
In the same vein, consider all the administrative and legal steps before tearing down a wall or buying an oven. Regulations are often the thorn in the side of restaurateurs’ side, so it is better to take the lead on all these hygiene, safety, operating permit and other standards.
#6 Keep accounts healthy
Whether you are mainly financed by the bank, by crowdfunding or by your own savings, remain lucid and reasonable. You can have a crazy but financially feasible project! Don’t get into a risky bet. “The banker is not there to take risks for you and his problem is to be convinced that he will be reimbursed,” explains Frédéric Schmitt of RestauGestion.
#7 Efficiency first and foremost!
A good organization can be felt very quickly in a restaurant and customers will appreciate a well synchronized and planned service. The division of labour must be clear and relevant within the brigade and you must manage the staff well. “Before moving on to the hiring phase, you should try to define your work requirements in terms of hours of work based on your projected activity, identifying peaks in activity and, conversely, periods of low activity.”
#8 Focus on product quality
Keep in mind that restaurants are no longer just a place to eat, but customers are looking for a real experience. To do this, put all the chances on your side by favouring good products, as fresh as possible, in order to have positive and rewarding opinions. There must be a real relationship of trust with your suppliers. “Choosing a supplier only for a price can be a mistake. Above all, the qualitative and service aspects must be taken into consideration. Instead, you should choose a supplier who delivers small quantities regularly because this facilitates stock rotation and is therefore a guarantee of freshness. »
#9 Communicate to stay in touch with your customers
Feel free to publish on social networks so that your customers are aware of the existence of your restaurant, the project in the making, and then afterwards to keep your restaurant in mind. You can also send a regular newsletter. During the inauguration, contact the local press or bloggers so that they can relay information about the opening of your restaurant.
#10 Plan an online booking and customer notification software
Become a restaurateur 2.0 by adopting an online reservation platform in order to be able to respond to the trend that is leading more and more customers to book online. You will also need a customer feedback system because many people find out about a restaurant’s reputation before they visit it, so to ensure that your establishment is well known, it is better to be able to rely on feedback from real customers than from anyone (who would never have come to eat in your restaurant) on public platforms.