You idolize many of the chefs that you see on TV like Australia’s Curtis Stone and Peter Gilmore or the UK’s Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver. Your stint working and living on both sides of the Mediterranean has moved you to consider changing careers. You can see it in your head, a Middle Eastern/Southern European-inspired restaurant, with its walls decorated with colorful Turkish ceramic tiles.
You want to leverage your experience as an executive for a company providing an integrated business software system. You know about smart dining and how technology levels the playing field between independent restaurants and big brands. How hard could it be?
It’s time to take the idea out of your head and take the next step. Here are some of the things that you need to know:
A Massive Industry
Get to know what you will be getting into. The restaurant industry’s projected sales figure is $863 billion for 2019. There are more than one million restaurants in the USA, and the industry employs 15.3 million people. These numbers are huge. It also means competition is stiff. Forbes.com also reported that an estimated 17% of new restaurants fail just after their first year. It should be comforting to know that the 90% failure rate was just an urban legend.
You already have an idea about what your concept is, Mediterranean/Middle Eastern. That’s usually the initial step. But remember to follow it through by hemming out details of your concept. Define your product clearly and make sure that it’s going to meet a need in a very crowded market. Your menu, price points, staffing, financials, and competitor analysis are just some of the items that should be contained in your business plan.
You need to obtain total funding first if you are not putting in 100% of your money for your project. Do not under any circumstance begin any work like signing a lease on a space and hiring a contractor for the renovation. Secure all the required funds before incurring the big-ticket expenses.
Part of your motivation to embark on this journey is because of your experience for a tech firm. Enter the term “smart dining.” Smart dining is about improving the customer experience, particularly when ordering food. An example is the mPOS or mobile point of sale system, wherein waiters use tablets or mobile devices to take orders, which is then sent immediately to the kitchen. This eliminates crowding at the order counter with a centralized POS.
Technology will also address customer management. Imagine the whole process of receiving guests at the door, informing them of their queue number for the next free table, sending them to the bar for free drinks while they wait, and finally being offered their table. And all these steps are tracked and registered properly on a device. DIY Kiosks have also been around for a few years.
Technology will help certain aspects of your restaurant business, but always remember that it’s mainly about the quality of the food you serve and the needs of your customers.