Despite the pandemic, many businesses continue to open. Entrepreneurs are working with government officials to understand COVID-19 regulations and to find ways to open their doors while staying safe. Even as the pandemic continues to spread across the country, business owners are optimistic about the future and looking ahead to their new ventures.
If you are part of this group of people and are ready to open a restaurant next year, follow these steps. You can make a big impact in your community and grow your business quickly even with lockdown restrictions still in place.
As you start to acquire items for your restaurant, you may be tempted to look for used items that are heavily discounted. While there are some things you can pick up on the cheap (like a couch in your waiting area that you plan to upcycle) your restaurant equipment is not. You want your commercial kitchen to function at its best, and there is no guarantee that the items you get continue to operate unless you buy it new. Even restaurant appliances that seem like they are in good shape could have hidden flaws. Invest in high-quality commercial cooking equipment before you open your doors. Your cooking staff and customers will appreciate it.
The foodservice industry has a significant impact on the environment. Restaurants throw away a large amount of uneaten food and contribute to sewer buildup from used cooking oil. The oil, fat and grease that gets dumped down the drain has to go somewhere, and it usually ends up congealing with other solid waste that humans create. This may be gross to think about, but it is important to know where your cooking oil is going.
Look for ways to reduce your environmental impact as a restaurant owner. For example, you can work with a company that offers used cooking oil recycling to take away your old vegetable oil in gallons and use it for biofuel. You can also find a composting source and use biodegradable utensils and napkins when serving customers.
You have an opportunity to develop a restaurant concept that meets or exceeds COVID-19 guidelines in your area. For example, you can look for a location that has outdoor seating that is safer for diners or opt to have fewer tables at first for greater social distancing. If you are opening a bakery or grill in a high-traffic area, consider getting a takeout window that customers can walk up to. These steps will allow you to stay open and thrive during the pandemic.
As your new restaurant launches, identify partnerships and relationships that you can form with others around you. For example, offer a discount to a store across the street with each purchase and ask that store to offer the same.
These partnerships can boost the word of mouth marketing related to your business and bring in new people to try out your kitchen and meet your chef.
Restaurant diners are increasingly focused on where their food comes from, opting to eat at new restaurants that have farm-to-table practices or use organic produce. Keep this in mind as you choose your vendors. Ask them where they get their supplies and how their vegetables and livestock are raised. Look for top quality products and items that can win over food-conscious customers so they know the meals they order are ethical as well as delicious.
Opening a restaurant will have its challenges in 2021. However, you can take steps to increase your chances of success and win loyal customers over.