Ever dream of becoming a restaurateur? OpenTable has partnered with hospitality consultant Alison Arth to create How to Open a Restaurant: The Modern Restaurateur’s Guide to Starting & Growing a Restaurant Business. The guide provides prospective restaurant owners with the tools they need to succeed, hitting on topics like funding, staffing and restaurant technology. It’s also chock full of anecdotes from Michelin-starred restaurateurs, including the restaurant groups of Daniel Boulud and Danny Meyer, as well as insight from James Beard-nominated chefs like Gavin Kaysen. Kaysen talks durability, brand consistency and even the nitty-gritty of how to pick the appropriate place to open your restaurant and how to price plates.
As part of this campaign, OpenTable is hosting a contest with a generous prize that could help fund your dream project.
I was born with an entrepreneurial spirit, and love fostering that same fire in others chasing their passion. As an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Boston’s Babson College, I mentor those eager to solve food-related problems, furthering innovation in the food system. It’s one of the most rewarding things I do. We all know opening a restaurant is hard. Keeping it open and successful is even more challenging, so I’m happy to see a new resource for budding restaurateurs. For all you entrepreneurs out there, this is good stuff… take note.
Here are just a few insights from Alison Arth, founder of hospitality consulting firm Salt & Roe with 16 restaurant openings under her belt.
- Business planning & funding:
- DO structure your business to protect yourself. Working with an attorney to set up your business helps shelter you from personal liability if your restaurant fails.
- DON’T allow too many investors to come in with small levels of funding. Set a minimum amount for investment, and stick to it.
- Finding a location & signing a lease:
- DO decide upon a long-term lease, 10 years minimum, with renewal options.
- DON’T be afraid to choose a location with competitor restaurants nearby – they are proof the location can be a successful one.
- Branding, designing & construction:
- DO invest in core branding elements early on, including your logo, menu design, website and photography.
- DON’T overlook renting equipment instead of buying – especially ones that require constant service calls – since maintenance on rentals is typically free.
- Staffing & training:
- DO find your managers before seeking hourly employees.
- DON’T skimp on pre-opening training. It is worth the investment to iron out the kinks.
- Purchasing, pricing & menus:
- DO start with a menu that showcases approachable items and cooking styles – not just what the chef wants to cook.
- DON’T break the bank on items like water glasses that get handled the most, because you’ll have to replace them frequently.
Download the guide here.