Opening a restaurant isn’t a very straightforward thing and it actually involves taking care of a lot of things. Learning the essentials is nothing short of mandatory, and we’re going to give you those essentials in the form of a checklist.
This checklist won’t have things such as stockpiling on ingredients or anything, but things such as legal matters. Since this article is only about the essential things prior to opening a restaurant, we figured it would be a smart thing to divide the article into monthly subheadings.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
6 Months Out
By this time, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that you want to open your very own restaurant. Congratulations as this will be your business, and you need to think about a few things first.
A business plan should be the first thing on your mind. A business plan is the most important first step to make since it accounts for EVERYTHING associated with your business.
This includes anything from your location to how you’ll be making money, to what you’ll be serving, etc.
During this time frame, it’s important to also secure a lease for your business or buy an existing building or restaurant. But this doesn’t stop here.
Afterward, you will need to secure a business license by applying at your city council or other institution, apply for a liquor license if you’ll be serving, and acquire a signage permit.
All of these things take a lot of time finalizing, so it’s important to do them at this time frame.
5 Months Out
When you’ve done all that, the next thing to do is to settle into your new building or establishment. Here, you’ll need to do a few things such as take care of the exterior.
Since it’s too early to buy the necessary interior, at least you should put up a signage and start working on some window lettering. This is completely optional, but it’s the least amount of work you should do with the location.
3-4 Months Out
During this time frame, it’s important to take care of other things associated with your business.
For starters, you should almost immediately apply for health permits that could include numerous documents and appointments with local health inspectors.
Also, you could start working on your interior by purchasing chairs, tables, chandeliers, maybe a bar table, etc. The kitchen should be the main focus when doing so since you’ll need to acquire the necessary equipment that will allow your chefs to prepare food for the customers.
When on the subject of chefs, this is the time where you should be thinking about hiring personnel. While we advise against hiring the actual person, what you could do is formulate the job description and be ready in the coming months to make it public and hire potential employees.
Your restaurant will have numerous positions, and these positions need filling in.
Safety should also be a topic you should explore during this time frame. As each state has different regulations in terms of premises safety, you should do some research regarding what those regulations are.
For starters, your state might require your establishment to have the necessary tools to combat a potential fire hazard. As a general rule of thumb, you should hire experts to create an entire evacuation planner in case of any emergency, and you can find ones at evacuation-planner.com
2 Months Out
Once you’ve created the job applications, it’s now time to consider employee needs and how many shifts you’ll need to maintain operations.
If you want to run a successful business, you’ll need to hire quality personnel at a higher cost of wages, or train newcomers in cleaning, safety, cash handling, and the most important one, hospitality.
This also comes at a cost, so we suggest you choose the path that suits you better.
Next on the list is to make some friendships with food vendors and sign agreements for ordering food with those same vendors. These people will be the lifeblood of your business since you won’t be able to prepare any food if you don’t have the necessary ingredients.
5 Weeks Out
Times are very exciting and you’ll be opening for business in no time, but you’re not done yet.
Now is the time where you’ll need to dedicate more of your time to ensure everything runs smoothly.
First on the list is to determine food production needs which accounts for what needs preparing beforehand, what can be made in batches, and what needs to be prepared upon ordering.
This is also the fine when you’ll be creating your menu and the prices for each meal and beverage.
Your refrigerators will need to be operating at all costs, so it’s important to grab a few thermometers to regulate the temperatures. Also, you’ll need to set up the opening date as well as operating hours.
Most of your focus needs to go into marketing your establishment so people can find it.
3 Weeks Out
During this time frame, you’ll need to create your social channels where you can also market your establishment. Important ones include Yelp and Facebook.
Finishing up with the kitchen supplies should also be a priority during this time, as well as, setting up inventory spaces and formulating the recipes.
Since you’ve probably hired employees by now, you’ll need to specify the direction of the business, the importance of their professionalism, and their dedication to making this a success.
1 Week Out
It’s only a week before you open and touching upon a couple of things is necessary.
First off, do a full inspection of all kitchen equipment and make sure they’re operational. Also, make sure that your silverware, plates, and glasses, are in place and set up the branding station.
You should also finalize the menu and have it ready to hit Facebook.
An important thing to do is to perform a test run, which you can think about it as a small party where friends and family can visit your establishment and act as customers. This is important as it uncovers potential issues that could be solved before you open.