How to Start a Restaurant

Because people love going out to eat good food, there will always be a strong demand for quality restaurants. However, offering delicious food is only one of the success factors in starting a restaurant business. You must also learn about the business side of the equation. Some of the tasks you must know to start off well are the following:
Determine the type of restaurant. What type of food would you serve? Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, etc.? Restaurants are also classified according to the type of service. There are sit-down restaurants where the waiter gets and serves orders. In most fast food types, the customers order at the counter and get the food themselves. Restaurants are also divided according to the price of food so there are fine dining places that are extremely expensive, and there are affordable ones like cafeterias.
Plan your menu. Collect the menus of other restaurants similar to your concept and use the ideas that would work best for you. Compute the costs and the pricing of the items to project your potential profits per item. Remember to incorporate all your overhead expenses like labor, time, rentals and taxes.
Plan your location. Consider market size, adequate parking space, easy access and visibility. Having an excellent market size means having a large number of potential customers. If you will be offering fine dining, a large number of students in the area will not matter as they could not afford it.
Compute feasibility. Before signing on the lease agreement, make sure you can afford the rentals and other expenses on the sales you are projecting.
Register your business. Avoid penalties or closure by complying with government regulations. First, register your business name with either the DTI for sole proprietor or the SEC if you plan to set up a corporation. Get a barangay clearance and proceed to City Hall for the mayor’s permit. After this, register with the BIR where you will be required to attend a short seminar.
Invest in adequate equipment. Having the right type and capacity of equipment enables you to serve your customers promptly, which is one of the keys to customer satisfaction. Having the proper equipment also helps maintain the quality and consistency of the food.
Hire experienced employees. It takes time for people to learn, and during that period, many dissatisfied customers may result. Whatever savings you get from hiring inexperienced people will be offset by errors they will commit.
Have modern control systems. Invest in a POS (point of sale) system and develop control procedures with the help of an accountant to both minimize internal theft and to manage your operations better. The POS will also be useful in tracking the movement of items and monitoring the productivity of your employees.
Market your business continuously. Never stop promoting your restaurant. Take special care to have promotions for holidays like Mother’s Day. Keep on introducing new menu items so that customers will not get tired of your offerings.
While there is intense competition in the restaurant business, there still is a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs determined to succeed.
BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, conducts an excellent seminar on How to Plan and Operate a Restaurant. Contact (02) 727-5628, (02) 727-8860, (0915) 205-0133 or visit for details.

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*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.