Like any new business venture, many decisions need making. Opening a Restaurant or a Cafe is no different and because there are so many decisions to be made it’s not hard to make some mistakes along the way. Here is a Hospitality Consultants Guide and some tips to avoiding common mistakes while opening a Restaurant or a Cafe.

1) Underestimating the finances required. Cash flow management.

It’s not enough to have just a dynamic concept and great food. Most restaurants fall behind before the doors even open, so it’s vital you plan correctly your budgets and cash flow and have allowances for add-ons.  It’s very common for new Restaurant or Cafe owners to inadequately predict start-up costs required and fail to understand that things don’t always go as planned. These might include construction delays, design changes and additional costs raised from local inspectors or building authorities.

Other less obvious costs may include licenses, permits, insurance premiums, pre-opening payrolls, bank guarantees and other associated borrowing expenses which are usually missed completely or grossly under estimated. Unless you are experienced in this field it is advisable to seek some experienced professional guidance in identifying and projecting finances required. Even with experience many professionals tend to add up to 15% contingency to allow for overruns which will enable a smooth launch.

2) Entrepreneurial explosions = clouded vision.

It’s not enough to have a romantic dream of opening your own Restaurant or Cafe. You will require a clear vision as to your chosen demographic and food style. Also necessary is a realistic mindset in understanding the leadership skills that are required to work to achieve this in a very stressful environment, with long hours, egos and at an often-chaotic pace. Six absolute characteristics you will require are grit, empathy, strong communication skills, integrity, business savvy and finally, some more grit.

 3) A well-founded sales projection.

So let’s say you overcome your first hurdle and the doors swing open. What now? It may take time to build your sales and even if your sales take off from day one your labour and food costs could be very high for the first few months as your staff find their feet. Teething problems are a given but run out of cash and you’re finished.

A well-founded sales forecast is a must and even then the most professionally run outfits will allow a deficit for up to 2 to 3 months in cash flow. After the Restaurant or Cafe doors open.

4) Documented manuals/systems. Menu consulting/development.

Execute correctly your documents and working manuals and you are at least on track to having a foundation of which to work on.

As well documented in all of my teachings, consistency is the key to success and longevity. On any given day in a successful Restaurant or Cafe there will be thousands of tasks performed. This is the attraction of buying a franchise or license model, even though this requires ongoing expenses, it has a certain element of guidance and consistency, especially for inexperienced operators. What you’re hopefully paying for is a well-documented system, which still requires implementation but is a good head start, (with the presumption of course that this model has been proven.) As I always say, to assume, is to make an ‘ass’, of ‘u’ and ‘me’. Always do your due diligence if considering a franchise or license agreement or use a Restaurant consultant.

If you are not considering this option then think carefully about how you plan to lead a team by a vision solely placed in your head. The longer you operate without carefully documented manuals and guidelines the longer your Restaurant or Cafe will stay stuck in the often chaotic opening phase, a phase you want to put behind you as soon as possible. Failure to plan is a sure plan to fail. Find out more – Menu Consultant Melbourne.

5) Working in the business and not on it.

Managing a Restaurant or Cafe and running a Restaurant or Cafe are two separate tasks. Obviously at the beginning stage you will like and need to be hands-on in training, designing systems, customer service/feed back and overseeing the critical launch phase.

The core of your business is always your product and ensuring the product remains consistent. It is also important to have systems in place to allow you to distance yourself from the hands on tasks like serving tables and helping in the kitchen. Eventually your focus should be more managing the business by monitoring cash flow, planning marketing activities, evaluating your menus, administration, liaising with book keeper for wages and other associated running expenses. If you’re doing the menial tasks of the day-to-day running of the business who is working on managing the future success of the business?

At Copper Pantry Restaurant and Café Consulting, my aim is to teach you from the mistakes I have made. Please check out my other blogs and drop me a line if you have any queries. Good Luck.