According to a recent survey by the National Restaurant Association, 46% of restaurant employees dream of one day opening their own restaurant. Americans opened 31,480 full service restaurant franchises in 2017, proving that customers have an appetite for new FSR concepts (and menus!). That’s not to say opening an FSR is easy: the stats for success in this industry staggeringly low. But with due diligence, new restaurants can flourish. If you’re considering opening an FSR business, now is not a bad time to start exploring your options.
Test Your Concept
One of the trickiest parts of launching an FSR is knowing whether or not your idea has legs. With so many restaurants in the marketplace, your concept needs to stand out from the crowd. What makes your grandma’s recipes better than anyone else’s? Do some research, competitive analysis, and planning to lay the foundation for success. Here are some resources to help you make sure your concept is solid.
- 7 Steps to Successfully Launching a New Concept
- How to Choose a Restaurant Concept
- Answer these 13 questions before starting a new business
- Do a restaurant competitor analysis
- Identify your cuisine and get your pricing right
- Write a business plan
- Get quick cash to test your idea
- 5 questions to ask before borrowing money for your business
- 5 questions to ask a potential investor in your business
- Try a pop-up restaurant to test your concept
- What not to do: restaurant advice from the trenches
Lay the Groundwork
Now that you have your cuisine, concept, and cash flow ready to go, it’s time to make magic happen. Lay the groundwork for your restaurant by staking your claim on some sweet real estate, registering your business, and finding some vendor partners who can make sure you’re getting all the ingredients you need to keep hungry customers satisfied. Here are some steps to take to set yourself up for success on opening day.
- Understand the alphabet soup of business structures
- Organize your tax info
- Know your sales tax responsibilities [on-demand webinar]
- Negotiate your first lease
- Calculate your restaurant’s food costs
- Find the perfect location(s)
- Choose the right vendor partners for your restaurant
All Things Employee-Related
A key part of opening an FSR? The S- part: service. Your employees are critical to bringing your concept to life and providing the guest experience your customers are hungry for. Truly, the people you hire can make or break your restaurant business. Follow these tips to think through your staffing strategy and find the right people for your venture.
- The how-to guide to hiring good restaurant employees
- 5 questions to ask before hiring your first employee
- How to hire great hourly employees [Webinar]
- Establish an effective chain of communication between the front- and back-of-house [on-demand webinar]
- Stay on top of staffing needs, changes, and scheduling exchanges with these three apps:
- Ping Me If by Seven Spaces: stay on top of unusual transactions or behavior in store if you can’t be on-site to monitor new hires.
- Time Clock by Homebase: give your staff the ability to swap shifts, get reminders before shifts, and more. If your lunch rush gets a little out of hand, send out a quick message via Time Clock offering bonus shifts for available staffers.
- HR Resources by Homebase: skip paper forms and get all your HR information organized in this platform. Store onboarding material, organize reviews to keep existing staffers engaged, and more.
Marketing for Your FSR
It’s time to spread the word about your upcoming opening! Marketing can feel intimidating to many restaurateurs (and business owners in general). It doesn’t need to require a big budget. In fact, some free samples may just do the trick. Here are some other ideas to generate some buzz before your restaurant’s first day.
- 5 marketing tools to boost your restaurant’s visibility
- Take inspiration from Seattle’s FROST bakery
- Plan a successful seasonal promotion for your restaurant
- Hire a graphic designer
- Develop your brand and logo
- List your business with Apple Maps
- Choose a food delivery partner to spread the word
Ready to Open?
Congratulations: you’re nearly ready to open! This is a big moment. Savor the hard work you’ve put into your FSR so far, and then get ready to open your doors to some seriously hungry customers. Here are the last few things to make sure are in place before your grand opening.
- 3 jobs your restaurant point-of-sales should be able to get done
- Test different seating plans
- Have a soft opening
- Add some integrated POS apps to your Clover system. Automate your routine using:
- Commerce Sync: automatically syncs daily sales on your Clover POS with accounting software like Xero and Quickbooks, and can save you an average 300 hours per year.
- SimpleOrder: real-time inventory management that helps you quickly identify low performing items and replace them with better offerings.
- These popular Clover app integrations for restaurants.
Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, SunTrust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including CardConnect, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at clover.com.