It’s an ambitious dream to have a restaurant of your own with you sitting at the counter and listening to the sweet sound of ka-chings! However, it’s not easy. Setting up your own restaurant is a big challenge and turning customers into patrons is even a bigger one.
So to help you understand how difficult or easy it is to get into the Food & Beverage industry, we spoke to restaurateurs who have few words of wisdom for future restaurateurs.
1. Concept is the king
The first thing to work on is the ‘concept’ on which the restaurant will be based on. Nishek Jain, owner of 29, zeroed down on a very interesting concept. The concept of ‘29’ is based on 29 states of India, wherein the menu has dishes from all the 29 states in India. “There should be a concept on paper, to keep the plan sustainable. Today, there is so much competition, and therefore a different concept is important. ”
2. Never compromise with the quality
Ansh Seth, one of the three partners of Brewbot, Pub Brewery has wise advice for the future restaurateurs. “Customers are not stupid, so you cannot fool them by compromising on the quality of food or anything that they are going to pay for,” he said.
3. Get into it only if you’re passionate about the business
Saloni Rupani of Dishkiyaoon restobar told us that though everything about the hotel industry look glamorous, there’s a lot of work involved. “You’ve got to be around all the time to overlook everything. Get in the business, only when you are passionate about it as it’s very demanding.”
4. Be ready to run around for licenses
Licenses can be a great pain in the neck because there’s a lot of bureaucracy involved. All the restaurateurs that we interviewed agreed on the fact that there’s a lot of red tape and protocol involved. So, you’ve got to be patient with the authorities as they would be, at times, very demanding.
5. Conduct training programs for the staff
Yash Bhanage, partner, The Bombay Canteen feels that any restaurant is only as good as the team that runs it. “Opening a restaurant is tough but sustaining it and maintaining a standard and quality is a direct function of the amount of time and effort that is spent in building a good team by the restaurateur. While it obviously starts with hiring the right people that fit into the culture of your restaurant, having a strong and consistent training program is a key to helping the team grow to add value to various aspects of the business”, Bhanage said.
6. 50 per cent food and 50 per cent ambience makes a restaurant great
Ten years back, the food was 70 and ambience 30. But today, due to restaurants which offer great ambience, the decor and architecture also play a great role in attracting patrons. So both food and ambience should have an equal weightage to make a restaurant successful.
7. Make the customers return to your restaurant
It’s a challenge to make an impact on the customer so that he goes back happily and comes back again. “It’s easy to get people eat at your place once, but you have to engage them so that they come next time too,” says Ansh Seth, partner Brewbot.
8. Do not forget to make profit
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Karan Dharod of the Light House Cafe is of the view that opening a restaurant should be of the benefit of the both parties, both the customer, as well as the owner, should gain in the deal. “The core thought here is to make business. The F&B business should be fun for both the customer as well as the owner,” Dharod said.
9. Always pay attention to the reviews
You’ve got to pay attention to the reviews people write on Zomato or in the suggestion box. The customer’s feedback is important, as, at the end of the day, you have to please the customer and get their positive reviews.
10. Location too plays an important role in the success of a restaurant
The location can make or break your restaurant. The restaurant which is easy to locate and is a popular destination will get more visibility and would attract more customers. A clean, buzzing place is where people love to hang out. However, on the other hand, people avoid going to shady places, unless it’s a cheap watering hole.
11. Always have a Plan B
Since it’s an unpredictable industry, always have a Plan B. Just to be on the safer side, a plan B will come to your rescue when your business is dwindling or if you decide to halt your plans.
12. Don’t psuedo-intellectualise your food
Keep your language simple. It’s not cool to call a ‘bhindi fry’ as ‘sauteed okra in cumin seeds and spices’ or ‘khichdi’ as simmered kedgeree with a dash of lentils and spices.
P.s: Here’s how to come up with an idea for a restaurant menu
– Set a theme. Is your restaurant a food truck that sells grilled sandwiches or is it a cafe that serves the best coffee? Once the theme is decided, you will get the flow.
– Start with the starters. Make it a fun combination of finger foods, kebabs and rolls.
– Edit, combine and refine. Always, combine two dishes to make it one or edit one dish out of the combination. Once done, always refine it by adding or subtracting an ingredient.
– Make your menu readable and do not laminate it.
– Make special dishes and label them so that your customers know what to order.
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