How To Start a Restaurant: The Step-by-Step Road to Success

Interested in how to start a restaurant? This guide will show you how, and why you should consider entering the world of restaurants.

Interested in how to start a restaurant? This guide will show you how, and why you should consider entering the world of restaurants.

Creating Communities One Meal at a Time

Restaurants nourish the body and soul. They offer a haven for people to escape the daily grind and relax over a good meal and great company. Family traditions and friendships are formed around the restaurant table in the U.S. It’s an opportunity to try new dishes or enjoy old favorites. Whether it’s a pitstop at the drive-thru or date night at a fine-dining favorite, restaurants are part of the fabric of our daily lives.

Restaurants provide opportunities for career development and an avenue for minority business ownership. Nearly 80% of restaurant owners started their industry careers in entry-level positions, and at least 41% of restaurants are owned by minorities, versus 30% of businesses in the overall private sector, according to the National Restaurant Association.

The state of the restaurant industry is strong, and the outlook is bright. The National Restaurant Association forecasts the restaurant industry will generate $898 billion in 2022 and employ 14.9 million people. Restaurants took a hit during the first year of the pandemic, and 96% of operators experienced supply delays or shortages in 2021. Many operators had to pivot their business model to offer takeout and delivery or online ordering. And it looks like those changes are here to stay.

Steps to Launch a Restaurant

Do you want to feed your community by opening a restaurant? Let’s explore the steps it takes to get a restaurant up and running.

Choose a type of restaurant. Determine what kind of restaurant fits your wheelhouse. Do you want to focus on fast food or fine dining? Maybe you want to cater to the breakfast crowd or attract sports lovers. The restaurant segment you choose will shape your menu and business plan.

Develop a menu. Once you settle on a type of restaurant and price point, you can start building your menu. It will be important to develop menu items that fit your brand and cater to the demographics in the area. Having your menu in place will help you determine how much restaurant space you need and the equipment required to serve customers.

Craft a business plan. Your restaurant business plan needs to be extensive and should cover everything from real estate to marketing. Having a solid business plan will ensure you can obtain the financing you need to get the business started. Starting any business requires a big initial investment, and this is particularly true in the food service arena. Restaurants require a lot of red tape, and securing staff is cumbersome. Having a plan of action will keep your grand opening date on track.

Secure financing. With a secure plan of action, there are many ways to finance your restaurant venture. Obtaining a loan from the U.S. Small Business Association, a traditional bank, or retirement savings can make your dreams come true. Keep in mind you’ll need to make sure you have money in the bank to cover pre-opening expenses and provide a cushion until you start to turn a profit.

Shop for a location. Finding a prime location can make all the difference in your restaurant’s success. You will need a space with enough room to meet your financial goals in an area catering to the demographic willing to meet your menu price point. Having a high-traffic location will secure walk-in business and lure customers into your dining room. Analyzing the competition in the area can help give you an idea of the available clientele.

Obtain permits. Tackling the licenses required to open a restaurant is not for the faint of heart. It’s crucial to have all the licenses and food safety requirements established to provide a quality experience for customers and employees. We recommend securing a lawyer to make sure you have all the paperwork in order before opening for business.

Purchase supplies. Before you head out to the equipment supplier, create blueprints of your dining room and kitchen. It’s important to maximize table space to have room to seat customers during the rush. Forming relationships with vendors will help you cut costs in the long run and ensure your kitchen is stocked with the food you need.

Hire employees. Finding quality staff is difficult in a tight labor market. According to the National Restaurant Association, nearly half of all operators report recruitment and retention as their biggest challenge. Pay close attention to your employee benefits and training program to improve retention.

Promote your eatery. With everything you have on your plate, promoting your new business may need to be outsourced. A marketing firm can help do the legwork as you concentrate on in-house operations and menus. Regardless, you’ll need to develop an omnichannel marketing plan, including traditional and online promotions.

Debut your new concept. Set a date and start cooking. After all the long days and intense strategy sessions, it’s time to open your doors and serve the community.

Greet the Day with Scramblers

Understanding how to start a restaurant is challenging. Exploring franchise options can help make the job easier. The franchise industry offers budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to operate a business with the tools, experience, and menu in place. Investing in a business with proven appeal helps limit risk. It offers a reliable partner to answer questions and provide training to ensure you are on a path to success. The International Franchise Association estimates there will be 192,426 fast-food franchise locations and 32,819 full-service restaurants in the U.S. at the end of 2022.

Scramblers is a family-focused business specializing in brunch. We opened our first location to showcase the recipes of our matriarch, Deby Marie Buerk. Over the past 30 years, we’ve streamlined our concept and grown to 26 locations throughout the Midwest and Florida. Scramblers locations serve home-cooked breakfast items like omelets, Tex-Mex choices, eggs Benedict, and bottomless pancakes. Our lunch menu features soups, salads, and sandwiches. To highlight the fall season, we added Pumpkin-Stuffed French Toast and Bacon Praline Pancakes to the menu.

The time is right to learn how to start a restaurant. Investing in a brand specializing in breakfast offers flexibility and meets current consumer trends. As customers cut back on spending to cope with high inflation and economic uncertainty, the breakfast daypart continues to thrive. Breakfast restaurant traffic grew by 4% in August compared to the same month a year ago, NPD Group reported. Today’s customers focus less on finding good deals when they dine out. Instead, they rely on food quality and service to shape their dining decisions.

From a calculated menu and robust training, Scramblers knows how to build and manage successful franchises. After finding success in the Midwest, we are focused on expanding in the southern states, including five new locations in Florida. As part of our franchise process, we provide the guidance and ongoing support operators need to create thriving establishments.

Learn More About Scramblers

Now that you’re more familiar with how to start a restaurant, it’s time to learn how franchising can help you achieve your dreams. Scramblers is excited to grow our footprint nationwide and help you hatch a plan for your future. Get started today!

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