Thinking about opening the restaurant that you’ve been dreaming about for decades? Looking to build upon years of culinary experience as a line cook or chef de cuisine by opening your own restaurant but not sure where to start or what kind of restaurant would work?
You’re in the right place! At GoFoodservice, we’re passionate about helping restaurateurs and food & hospitality professionals just like you realize their culinary dreams while providing for their equipment needs.
So, when it comes to opening a restaurant, what do you need to know? Well, if you haven’t come up with different restaurant ideas, brainstorming comes first. But after that, how do you narrow down your options, concretizing them into a viable and unique restaurant concept with real upside?
Here’s what you need to know.
How Do I Come Up With a Restaurant Idea?
There’s no one “right way” to generate unique restaurant ideas. Still, it may help you to draw on your culinary preferences and experiences, culture and heritage, preferred aesthetic, or even the ideas and suggestions of friends and family.
Ask yourself questions like “What kind of food excites me?”, “What are my favorite restaurants to visit, and why?”, and “How can I create a successful restaurant with my own unique angle?”. The key here is to engage in a little self-reflection so you can put some of your personal flair into your restaurant’s brand identity.
Once you’ve thought about what you like, it’s time to think about your potential customers and their preferences. This is where doing your own market research or hiring a consultant comes in handy. Just because you like something, doesn’t mean everyone will, after all. And that may be okay if you’re appealing to a specific niche – but you want to make sure that demand for that niche exists in the market before you execute your ideas.
On a related note, you’ll want to consider what the local food scene is like in your area…is it a town of fine dining restaurants or food trucks and casual outdoor cafes; hip digs with trendy menu items or no-frills eateries serving up tried-and-true classics?
If you’re looking to start a restaurant in a culinary hotspot like New York City or Los Angeles, you will likely have more options for what types of restaurants will be realistic from a business perspective — but you’ll also face steeper financial barriers to entry.
Push Operations suggests considering these 8 essential elements when brainstorming restaurant theme ideas:
- Your restaurant's name
- Menu design and descriptions of dishes
- Style of service (e.g. fine dining, bistro, family style, buffet, food truck, etc.)
- Decor and overall ambiance
- Background music or vibe
- Floor plan, number of tables
- Restaurant location
- Marketing for your concept
How Do I Make My Restaurant Unique?
Did you ever notice that fast food establishments are often placed next to each other? While economic game theory likely has something to do with it, what about uniqueness?
Wendy’s is the only place you can get a frosty – or a square burger for that matter. McDonald’s is home to the famed Golden Arches. And Burger King is known for letting you “Have it Your Way” (though that slogan has been retired).
The point is, it’s easier to compete with other restaurants — even ones close by — if you offer a unique menu and restaurant experience to customers. In fact, as Americana Kitchen and Bar notes, there are several factors that can differentiate your restaurant from others, including:
- Exceptional food
- Distinctive selling points
- Exemplary business practices
- Unique social media presence
- Audio & musical elements (restaurant experience/ambiance)
Dont skip doing a competitive analysis on neighboring foodservice establishments and local competitors when developing restaurant food ideas and concept ideas. Doing a SWOT analysis, for instance, ensures that once you’ve generated your initial list of restaurant ideas, you can compare them against what everyone else is doing to ensure you don’t develop and execute a “me too” concept or copycat establishment.
When it comes to generating small restaurant ideas (and even larger restaurant proposal ideas) that turn into lasting establishments, the name of the game is crafting your unique value proposition.
That can come in the form of a unique menu, locally sourced ingredients, type of cuisine or fusion of different cuisines, a unique marketing strategy, or even unique events and ways to get involved in your community.
What is the Easiest Restaurant to Open?
What you define as “easy” may be different than what someone else defines as “easy”.
For instance, if you’re looking for a “plug-and-play” concept and have plenty of capital to contribute, a franchise may be for you.
If, on the other hand, you’re cash-strapped and value creative control as well as the ability to craft a highly-personalized menu and culinary experience, then you may find it far easier to open a standalone restaurant location.
That having been said, certain types of restaurants are less complex to operate than others. For instance, when opening a food truck or ghost kitchen, you don’t have to worry about hiring or training front-of-house staff or any type of service.
Find the Right Equipment For Your Restaurant Concept
When opening a restaurant, execution is just as important as conception. You will need to carefully design your restaurant layout to accommodate whatever unique restaurant ideas you ultimately settle on. And you’ll also need to think carefully about the restaurant equipment you choose.
Looking for top-notch commercial restaurant equipment? GoFoodservice can provide you with what you need!