Opening a new restaurant can be equal parts exhilarating and stressful. As is the case with any other type of small business, there are a multitude of tasks that are essential to a restaurant’s survival. From financial management to sanitation to meal prep, restaurateurs are never at a loss for things to do.

However, if this is your first foray into restaurant ownership, you’re likely to find certain aspects of the job overwhelming. In the interest of keeping your stress levels in check and facilitating the long-term success of your restaurant, take care to prioritize the following tasks.

Location 

When real estate investors chant the mantra “Location, location, location,” they’re not just trying to be funny – they’re also revealing one of the most undeniable truths of their industry.

When purchasing an investment property or business space (like a restaurant), location has the power to make or break this endeavor. For example, if you were to invest in a house or rental property in an area with waning demand for housing, you’re unlikely to see the desired ROI.

So, when seeking out prospective restaurant spaces, you’d be wise to take location into careful consideration. In your quest to find the right location, do some research into other local eateries.

How many restaurants of your type can be found in this area? If the answer is “quite a few,” it may be a good idea to shift your attention to other potential locations, especially if there’s nothing that dramatically distinguishes your business from similar restaurants.

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At such a befitting location, there are certainly very bright chances for your business to flourish at a great pace, for there will be no real competitor to your restaurant.   

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Sanitation 

Sanitation should be among the foremost priorities of every restaurateur. In the absence of proper sanitation, you’re liable to draw the ire of diners, tarnish the reputation of your business and potentially even land yourself in legal trouble.

So, if you’ve never owned or managed a restaurant, it’s in everyone’s best interest that you take the time to study up on proper sanitation practices before proceeding to open your first eatery. 

Furthermore, having a poor health grade is practically guaranteed to scare away a large number of prospective diners. So, if you’re serious about providing a safe, healthy dining experience, you should strive to ensure that proper sanitation is practiced at all times.

This is particularly important for restaurants based in municipalities that utilize cutting-edge health inspection software.    

Knowledgeable Staff 

Hiring a knowledgeable, energetic staff can do wonders for your restaurant. So, whether you’re recruiting chefs, kitchen staff, servers or managers, it’s recommended that you take the hiring process seriously and put forth the effort to fill every position with the best possible candidate.

In many respects, your staff’s efforts are a reflection of your approach to restaurant management, so any missteps on their end are liable to fall back on you. 

You should be particularly discerning when hiring managers. Since these individuals will essentially serve as your proxy and make important decisions in your absence, it’s only fitting that you seek out the best of the best. For example, previous experience managing successful eateries should be among the chief qualifications for the job. 

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Marketing 

No matter how unique a dining experience your restaurant offers, it won’t matter if prospective patrons are unaware of its existence. With this in mind, take care to make marketing one of your top priorities – both in the leadup to your grand opening and after your restaurant is fully operational.

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The ideal vehicles for promotion will largely depend on the type of audience you hope to reach. For example, if you’re aiming for an older crowd, purchasing ad space in local publications and buying ad spots on local TV and radio outlets may be effective ways to spread the word.

Conversely, if your target demo skews younger, focusing your promotional efforts on digital endeavors – like pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization and social media – may be a wiser use of resources. 

As is the case with any small business, opening a restaurant can be very exciting. However, this shouldn’t underscore how much work a successful restaurant opening truly requires.

Getting the ball rolling on a new restaurant is liable to place a considerable strain on your time and finances, so if this is your first foray into restaurant ownership, it’s imperative that you brush up on the basics and prioritize the factors outlined above. Chances are that you will click miraculously.