There's a difference between owning a restaurant and creating a brand for a restaurant. You could be considering expanding your company and creating a larger brand if you are a restaurant owner who has seen steady success with your single-restaurant location. Many entrepreneurs feel the desire to expand once they have graduated from the start-up process and run a mature, successful restaurant with an existing daily guest base. You are not alone.

1. You have a large number of customers.

If you have a lot of repeat clients as well as new ones coming in on a daily basis and you can manage to fulfill their needs, this suggests growth potential. Plus, it may be time to consider their wishes if out-of-town fans are clamoring for new locations.

2. You've got a talented, dependable squad.

It would be easier for you to handle an expansion of your current location or the addition of a second location nearby if you have a solid team of hard-working and diverse employees. This is a perfect way to start creating a bigger chain of restaurants, without being a franchised company.

3. Your business is stable.

Ideally, before you plan to expand, you should have steady traffic to your restaurant, constant positive reviews on what you're serving, and healthy or growing profits. It seems obvious, but before you branch out, your current restaurant must be successful and run smoothly. You have to have stability with location # 1 if you're ever going to inspire or expect customers to visit location # 2, let alone location # 200.

4. You are prepared to take big risks.

No matter how well the first restaurant location is doing, it doesn't say how well a new company is going to do. There are so many factors that come into play: timing, place, store management. Be prepared for the bumps in the road that you are expected to experience and be smart about handling failures to improve your chances of success. Expanding your restaurant company will require you to venture outside your comfort zone.

Exploring franchising to build the scope of your restaurant

Franchising is one of the most productive and successful ways to develop a restaurant business. Franchising helps you to expand the scope of your brand by introducing new locations that you do not have to supervise directly. Franchising isn't, however, for everyone. So how do you know if your brand is ready to be a franchised restaurant? Your company should:

Be Different

If it provides something special, such as excellent food, affordable prices, and a noteworthy, special, or superior dining experience compared to similar eateries in the region, your brand has the potential for franchise success. You may think that being recognizable goes without saying, but not every restaurant brand can work for every demographic. You will have to know the geographic areas in which you plan to start before committing to those areas.

Have a system that can be taught.

The business process must be repeatable in order for new locations to succeed under franchise owners. In more places than just the kitchen, you must be able to train the new franchisees to ensure they have the necessary resources for success. You should have a comprehensive operating manual detailing your method, recipes and procedures. If you have a very unique skill set that leads to the success of your restaurant, consider whether a franchisee location will be able to survive over the long term without the continual need for your assistance. Currently, even if you do not franchise, but you intend to open additional restaurants, this is a must.

Be scalable.

To be franchisable on a wide scale, in a number of geographical locations, the restaurant needs to be easy to replicate. If your company only makes sense in one square block of a regional market, growing it by franchising is risky. And this goes beyond the activities of a single restaurant. Can you scale up your support team to help market your next position or places, too? The need for local store marketing, social media, and in-store marketing materials is brought with it by a second location. It's important to make sure that you can also deliver for that.