Things to keep in mind while opening a new restaurant

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Image Credit: Supplied

Opening a new restaurant may be a daunting task. There may be several issues while planning out your next outlet which might give you the jitters over the success and failure of a restaurant. Below are a few points to keep in mind to make sure your restaurant is destined for success.

Location

Choosing a location is one of the most basic yet one of the most crucial aspects of opening a new restaurant. Ease of getting to the place, parking, visibility and footfall all play a very important role if you are going to open a restaurant for the first time.

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Clientele and competition

Base your restaurant around people in that area or specific people you are targeting. Check out local competition and pricing. You don’t want to be over priced and not get enough people coming in through the doors neither do you want to be underpriced and reduce profitability.

Branding and Marketing

While creating a new restaurant it is essential to create a new brand, take time out to design a new logo and then go out in the market to target your clients and make them connect with that specific brand. Believe in it first, only then you will be able to sell it to other people. Don’t settle for less.

Design and architecture

I think the way a restaurant is designed and attention to the finest details make or break a restaurant as well. How dark or bright it is. Connecting the design to the brand to tell a story and associating with your guests is very important.

Planning

It is going to be tough but plan everything. Be part of discussions you don’t want to be part of whether it is kitchen design, HVAC, MEP, crockery, fire suppression, storage planning, work flow management and of course menu tastings. Along the way you’ll learn how important it is to plan the little things to make the guests experience a pleasant one.

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Image Credit: Supplied

Unique selling points (USP’s)

Bring something new to the market. I am not a big fan of franchising unless it is in different countries and I feel that each restaurant needs to have its own soul. Be experimental, go the extra step, dig deep and most importantly be authentic. As a chef I tend to translate the clients vision to reality. This is where we come to the next step..

Recruitment

Hire right! A lot of investors/owners believe that by sourcing cheap unskilled labour and imparting the right training it would give the same experience to the customer as a skilled, trained professional would. Not only do you need to hire the right people with the right skills, education and attitude. It is very important to take care of them and retain them so that they in turn will provide valuable inputs to your business and take care of your guests.

Picture is for illustrative purposes only
Image Credit: Supplied

Soft openings

No matter who you hire or how many restaurants you open. Doing a soft opening gives the team a chance to iron out all creases. Make sure you call friends, family and industry experts to give you honest feedback. Soft openings also give the team a chance to get accustomed to their surroundings and get used to the frantic pace of a busy operation.

Monitor costs

Do standard recipes, compare potential and actual costs and make sure standards are maintained. Speak to suppliers and see what deals they are offering and what are their rebate plans. The industry being as competitive as ever, suppliers are always eager to start a dialogue and support you in whatever way possible.

If you do have any questions/queries of opening or running a restaurant, do write in to contact@nigeljlobo.com

Nigel J Lobo
Nigel J Lobo is currently the Executive Chef and Group Culinary Administrator at the Royal Orchid Hospitality Group in Dubai. Prior to this, he was the Chef de Cuisine at The Eloquent Elephant at the Taj Dubai. Nigel holds a Bachelors degree in Tourism Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Kitchen Management from the renowned Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development (OCLD). He spent his formative years training at Miramar under Michelin star Chef Paco Perez, at Compartir under Chef Mateu Casanas in Spain; Attica in Australia under Chef Ben Shewry, La Vie under Chef Thomas Buhner in Germany and at a local tapas bar in Valladolid-La Tahona under Chef Jose. Nigel remains passionate about Modern European cuisine and being born and raised in the UAE, he has harnessed the locally available produce to create successful menus which he has rolled out across all the group’s outlets. Keen to share his experiences to educate and guide young chefs or students who are looking at starting a career in the Food & Beverage industry, Nigel recently launched his website (www.nigeljlobo.com) which has different sections breaking down complex F&B terminology into simple, understandable lingo. A career that started in his late teens, Nigel has developed his skills over the years and currently oversees the operations for ten of the group’s restaurants – from efficiently controlling the logistics of services and supplies, pricing the menus for various segment and portioning the plates, to training staff and maintaining consistency in product offering across all restaurants. A sports and music enthusiast, Nigel enjoys playing squash in his free time and has been a lifelong supporter of the English football club Arsenal FC. Nigel is also a trained pianist and now admits that playing the instrument, something that used to be a chore whilst growing up, is now his best remedy to unwind and destress.