The Dining Dish – 5 Tips for Setting up Your Own Restaurant

Many people dream of escaping the oppressive clutches of office culture and setting up their own restaurant or cafe. The allure of setting your own hours and not having to deal with workplace politics anymore is a strong pull for some people, even when they understand the amount of work required to run a hospitality business.

Setting up your kitchen can be a drawn out process of finding each individual piece needed, or it can be as simple as looking through commercial kitchen supply websites. For other restaurant-related concerns, we have written out a list of 5 tips for setting up your own restaurant, in the hopes that it eases your setup woes. 

Kitchen Fit-out

Many people don’t understand the difference between a commercial piece of kitchen machinery and one intended for home use, but the importance of buying the correct kind of gear is paramount. Domestic microwaves, for instance, will break down after a fairly short amount of time being used in a commercial setting, because their parts are designed for a lower number of usages before breaking down, and a commercial kitchen will do double or triple the usual number of usages in a household per day. 

Decorative Decisions

Working out the design of the inside of the restaurant as well as the outside is highly important, as this is what you display to the customers. Is your restaurant going to be modern in it’s design aspects? Will you implement minimalism to accentuate the dishes? Does your restaurant have a theme? These questions should give you an idea of the vein of thinking you should explore prior to settling on a design. Once you’re ready to go, ensure all decorations tie in with your overall design, and you won’t have any decorative discrepancies that may draw the customer’s eye. 

Managing Menus 

Your menu can be decided by you, if you wish, and the cuisine should match the overall visual design. If you’re running a steakhouse-style restaurant, it would be an odd choice to have a strictly Vietnamese menu. The menu can also be decided by your head chef, if you decide to hire one. Usually, this is a better option for high-end restaurants, as the chef has complete control over the menu, and a regularly changing menu can bring back regulars time and time again to try the new menu items. 

Looking at Locations

Location can make or break a restaurant because higher foot-traffic means higher rent costs, but also higher customer numbers. Try for a restaurant that is on a small side street, so you get the benefit of the foot traffic without the rent costs. If that isn’t an option, there are always pockets of people and shops further away from heavily populated areas, and setting up in one of those might make your restaurant the new “place to go” for the locals of that area.

Hiring Heroes 

Finally, who you hire can make or break your restaurant.

Hiring a team of workers who don’t care about their jobs and have no passion for the work isn’t always avoidable, and sometimes risks must be taken to see how a person will turn out as an employee, but specifically hiring “heroes” – workers who are passionate and motivated about their job and, importantly, can motivate others – is a good way to even out a workforce. “Heroes” are hard to come by, but they are a great asset for any restaurant to have on-hand. 

These tips can help you on your way to becoming a successful business owner, as long as you do what you feel is right for your business, your employees, and yourself.

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Tony Mantos