Opening a Middle Eastern Restaurant: A Guide
The restaurant industry in America is a booming business opportunity. While it’s true that many restaurants struggle to establish themselves, with the right strategy, talent, and business acumen, there’s every chance a new restaurant can stand the test of time. It takes a lot of planning, hard work and there’s no doubt that there will be tough times ahead, but that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. If you have a passion for Middle Eastern food and want to run your own business, a restaurant could be the ideal solution.
Unsure where to begin? Take a look at this guide to the steps involved in opening a restaurant.
Write a Business Plan
Your restaurant is going to need funds to get started, and there are a few ways to find this. Ideally, you would have enough savings to cover your upfront costs, but that is rarely the case. Alternatively, you can apply for a business loan or try to find a wealthy individual (known as an angel investor) to invest in your business in exchange for a share in the profits.
Whether you intend to apply for a loan or reach out to an investor, you need to set out a clear and detailed business plan. This includes a company overview, market research, costs, financial projections, marketing strategy, and how your business will function in terms of daily budgets and staffing. To open a restaurant, you’ll need to get federal, state, and local permits and licenses as well as adequate business insurance.
Design Your Brand
Assuming that you have your funding, you need to ensure your restaurant has a clear concept so you can create a unique and memorable brand. Middle Eastern food is a broad heading, and you may wish to specialize in cuisine from a specific region. The branding and company ethos will inform how you design your logo, menus, marketing materials, and your dining room. You want to create an atmosphere and an experience which diners can’t find elsewhere.
Plan Your Menu
You don’t necessarily need to have a full menu in action when you open your doors for the first time. In fact, it’s often better to master a smaller menu of exceptional items which will establish your restaurant’s quality and help you build a reputation. When the restaurant has been open a while and is making money, you can start to expand and vary the menu based on which dishes are popular and profitable.
The location for your restaurant will be crucial to its success or failure. It should be easily accessible and visible to people walking or driving past and should have convenient parking options if possible. Do some research into your target market to see if the location is the right fit for the demographic. Take a look at the other restaurants in the area to ensure you’re not going to be competing with lots of other similar establishments. In the early stages, it’s often best to lease premises rather than buying to give you more flexibility in the future.
Recruit Your Staff
The quality of your staff will hugely impact your restaurant’s success. Even the most delicious food in the world can’t erase bad customer service, so ensure you are hiring staff with excellent people skills who can multitask efficiently and remain calm under pressure. In addition to the kitchen and waiting staff, you may also want to consider cleaning staff, marketing executives, accountants, and bartenders. Read more about hiring the best restaurant staff.
With the restaurant’s skeleton in place, it’s time to put some meat on the bones and start attracting customers. You will need to build a website which is attractive and in line with your brand and includes key information such as the address, telephone number, opening hours, and menu. Social media can be a great marketing platform for restaurants as you and your diners can share images of your food and positive reviews which will encourage their network to try you.