Why you should not start a restaurant, part 2
Congrats on making it this far on your journey to consider if this industry is right for you. Now you are at a crossroads, of should or should you not start a restaurant. Well, this is the article for you, we’ll discuss the potential reasons and things you should consider before fully committing to starting a restaurant. We define and refer to “restaurant” in the traditional sense, as a brick-and-mortar store that serves food, either QSR to dine in. This a part 2 of a 2 part series, scroll down to the conclusion to read part 1.
The most important question you should ask yourself, regardless of your experience, knowledge, niche, or uniqueness of an idea, is “what is success to you?”. Do you want to be the next McDonalds, Starbucks, Chipotle, or simply serve your community and expand within your region and it's ok for your goals to change, but you’ll need a goal to begin? Starting a restaurant, just to see how things go, won't give you the focus you need to optimally develop your energy and resources. Knowing how far you want to go will make your considerations of why or why not you should start a restaurant much clearer.
A couple of things to consider when on your journey to starting a restaurant is what are your goals, how long and how much time can you give to building your restaurant, do you have the business sense to start any business, and do you have an idea of how your business will grow. An unfortunate reality that may apply to you but shouldn’t limit you in any sense, is that most restaurants aren’t started by “business people”, ie people with previous business management experience or formal training. Thus making their journey in the restaurant industry that much harder. One thing to always remember as someone interested in starting a business is that “businesses don’t succeed, people do” meaning your idea only won’t get you anywhere and is all up to you and your team for the business to reach its potential.
You think all you have to do is hire people to manage if it for you
Unless your Elon Musk and have a billion dollars from thin air, you will have to get your hands dirty. You are the business owner, you are the boss, your input will be needed very often, and starting a restaurant is not a passive income generator. Trusting your restaurant with the team, especially as a first-time restaurant owner with no previous experience in this industry is a very irresponsible and nonsensical decision. You might as well pay the bank with interest for wasting your loan. "Businesses do not succeed, people do." - some famous guy
You do not have a marketing plan in place
Come on now, if you do not have a marketing plan in place you might as well shoot the cattle in the foot. For many first-time restaurants, revenue is low and a budget for marketing is not very much considered and seen as a disposable expense for the “successful”. Many restaurants would rather rely on free "word of mouth" marketing and though it has been the most common marketing method and worked many, it is still a gamble. However, if you desire growth and actually turn a profit, marketing should be one of your primary concerns. Now for some marketing isn't as necessary and is generic or lower due to their location or hype but on average you should dedicate a subset of your revenue, 3-5% funded towards actual “paid” marketing. Not just posting on your pages, you will need to spend money.
Customers give their dollars as a sign of trust, you will spend money to gain that trust, for example, “bring a friend and get a free item” or “sign up to our loyalty program and get 20% off discount”. A first-time customer giving you their dollar is a risk assessment in the customer’s mind and if you happen to serve a community that does not require as much risk assessment then you are in luck.
You detest technology or a grandpa when it comes to technology
In 2021, you need to learn and adopt software that saves you time, energy, and sanity. Invest in technology that makes your business appear to be more sophisticated such as a mobile platform or self-kiosk POS. Investing in technology also does not mean you have to go and buy the biggest and shiniest toys, there are many free technologies and services that can help you grow and operate your restaurant. For example, Craspa makes your marketing more effective without one click. You can learn more by clicking our logo at the top left.
In conclusion, running a restaurant is a daunting task, and starting it for the wrong reason will leave you in a financial pit hole and stress your mind. Before you start a restaurant, consider the things you will have to sacrifice and consider the obstacles you will have to face as a first business owner. Make sure you are focusing on your marketing, customer services, yourself, and your team, you have a rainy day fund or access capital such as a loan. This goes without saying, do not think you will become an instant millionaire. This a part 2 of a 2 part piece. You can check out more in part 1.