Study the Competition
What types of restaurants are already established in your area? Are there already lots of pizza places or Mexican themed restaurants? If your concept isn’t different from the competition, how are you going to stand out from the rest? Learn as much as you can about every other restaurant in your area—their menus, price range, and customer service style. Even if you don’t fancy a particular restaurant, many people do, so you need to find out why.
Decide How Much to Spend on a Restaurant Concept
Certain restaurant concepts will cost more than others. For example, do you want to specialize in authentic wood fired pizza? A wood fired oven is thousands of dollars more expensive than a regular pizza oven. Does your restaurant menu require expensive ingredients like seafood or steaks? Even if you qualify for a huge loan to open a new restaurant, don’t burden yourself with a huge loan payment each month, because you don’t know how busy you really will be until you are open for several months. It’s great to dream big when thinking of a new restaurant concept, but starting small may be the wisest option.
Keep Your Focus
The first restaurant I ever worked at was a bakery by day and Italian restaurant by night. It even changed names! I would answer the phone at 4pm “Hello, The Bakery!” and at 5pm I’d answer “Hello, Luigi’s!” This was very confusing to customers. Eventually Luigi’s was dropped and The Bakery is still a thriving dinner establishment. With all the restaurant fads that come and go, it’s tempting to open a restaurant featuring the hottest food trend. Recall the mid 1990s, when coffee houses popped up everywhere and suddenly every mom and pop restaurant featured cappuccino. Starbucks rose to prominence during this time, but all the rest? Where are they now?