Many food lovers with enterprising hopes cling to the dream of starting their own restaurant. It’s not just about the food: the sense of community and the entertainment opportunities are endless for the restaurant industry. Humans being social creatures, there’s never a fear that your products will suffer from a lack of interest.
Along with the many good things that come with a successful business, however, is the realization that your restaurant will probably not begin on such a high note. The mental, physical, and financial effort required to begin is anything but easy. Depending on where you find yourself personally and economically, there are three different ways you can materialize your vision without breaking your bank.
The Traditional Restaurant
Who says you can’t start small, even when you go for the traditional approach? If you have no background in the food business, the best place to start is with a limited menu you know by heart. This would minimize the capital you’ll need for the equipment, staff, marketing, and the shop itself. Narrowing your menu to a couple of drinks and dishes will enable you to better engage your target market.
Are you looking to entice families? Starting with three to four affordable group meals is a good idea. Perhaps your specialty is in pastries, and the location you found is in the business district. Create a minimalist, rustic environment with services patterned after Starbucks. Based on your first few months, you’ll be able to make realistic projections on how you’ll expand brand-wise and store-wise.
If you find yourself falling in love with certain restaurants, consider franchising. The advantage of choosing this route is that you can skip the initial branding and marketing struggle most new restaurants undergo. A chicken restaurant franchise is a prime example of a brand that needs little introduction. NationalToday revealed that in a survey conducted in 2018, 95 percent of Americans interviewed claimed to like fried chicken, with an impassioned 16 percent saying they’d marry fried chicken if they could.
Even first-time entrepreneurs would enjoy a reduced risk of business failure. You’ll have the support of your franchisor and a literal guidebook on how to run the business. Of course, with such a great opportunity comes a great sum of money. The franchisor will also impose restrictions on business decisions, and you’ll have them monitoring your every action to guarantee that you uphold their brand.
Franchising isn’t for every food lover, especially if you have grand ideas about running your own show. It is, however, a great opportunity for success to anyone who loves the brand they’ll franchise, as well as the idea of being part of something bigger.
The Home Business
There are different ways you can start small, and a home business is one of your safest options. Paula Deene, the owner of The Lady and The Lady & Sons, started her food business by providing bagged lunches to Savannah’s office workers. Look up the humble beginnings of some of the most well-loved restaurants, and you’ll find countless examples similar to Deene’s.
A home business is much easier to operate and to market nowadays, thanks to social media. It’s also a good means to earn the capital you’ll need either for a real store or a franchise. You can skip on much of the overhead costs if your kitchen is already equipped with the basic materials you’ll need. The primary challenge of running a home business lies in marketing because you’ll have to make sure people know your products exist. Once you get the hang of that, however, there’s little else stopping you from earning a considerable sum doing what you love.
Start in Your Comfort Zone
It’s exhilarating to think of stepping out of your comfort zone to endeavor into the restaurant business. When you’re a food-lover first before you’re an entrepreneur, however, operating within your area of comfort is best. Take the time to master the trade and, when you’re ready, expand from there.