Tips for starting a successful new restaurant business on a tight budget – from menus that sell to startup restaurant marketing
In 2010, there were 27.9 million small businesses in the United States, and studies show those numbers have only continued to rise in subsequent years. That’s because forming a small business is a great way to be your own boss and set your own schedule.
However, one of the most difficult business opportunities to pursue is the restaurant industry. If you’re thinking of opening your own restaurant, marketing your brand and conducting your business properly is a must. Of course, if you don’t quite have the funds yet, it can be difficult to get your startup off the ground.
Here are just a few tips for achieving restaurant success on a tight budget.
Simplify The Menu
When it comes to crafting your restaurant’s menu, don’t feel obligated to offer an incredibly wide range of dishes. In fact, some of the best restaurants have achieved their success due to their simplistic menus.
As long as there are a decent number of items available, your customers will be more concerned with the quality of the food than the quantity of menu items. Furthermore, if you’re still struggling to think of some ideas, round out your menu with classics such as burgers and sandwiches.
In a recent survey of 1,000 Americans, 98% said they like pizza, making it a viable menu option as well. When all else fails, ask yourself, “What would I like to eat if I were a customer here?” Don’t overthink it — just go with your gut.
Consider Used Equipment
Seasoned restaurateurs may understand the distinct pleasure that comes along with investing in and setting up your restaurant’s shiny new equipment. However, used equipment can deliver the same results while providing more value. A used refrigerator will keep your food just as cold.
“If you are opening a new restaurant or looking to replace existing restaurant equipment don’t overlook used restaurant equipment. You can find many gently used pieces of restaurant equipment for pennies on the dollar,” writes Lorri Mealey on The Balance.
Prioritize Budget-Friendly Marketing
Even if your new restaurant serves the best food in the world, how will people know it exists if it isn’t advertised or marketed on any significant platform? Fortunately, the rise of social media foodie culture has given restaurateurs a practically free form of marketing.
Start by creating a Facebook page for your restaurant, sharing it on your personal page and requesting your friends to visit and share the post. However, most restaurants are finding that an active Instagram presence is the key to online restaurant marketing.
Of course, simply posting restaurant images on Instagram isn’t going to cut it. One way to boost sales and visibility is to offer a call-to-action in an ad, regardless of its medium: “Mention this ad and get 20% off an appetizer!” or “Wear your favorite football team’s colors and get half-priced wings on game day!” are exciting calls-to-action that can work wonders in getting more hungry customers in the door.
Create An Atmosphere
Traditional tactics are always effective when it comes to marketing your new restaurant, but in order to really seal the deal, you should do everything you can to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for each and every one of your valued patrons. This not only means hiring capable and well-mannered employees, but keeping up with the pace of service and maintaining the visual appeal.
About 29% of respondents to a survey said they’d never go back to a restaurant with unsanitary bathrooms, so don’t ever take shortcuts while performing necessary cleaning and sterilization procedures. Keep employees up-to-date on changes in operation and management. The nature of a restaurant’s atmosphere encompasses all of the above, and if you want to create more and more repeat customers, you can’t overlook a single detail.
Ultimately, keeping these tips in mind when opening your own restaurant can help to save you money without sacrificing the quality of food and service. But most importantly, they can help make customers happy and keep you in business for years to come.
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