The process of opening a restaurant from Birmingham nightlife start to finish can be, and should be, an arduous one. It requires a tremendous amount of research and determination, and it can easily get overwhelming. Often clients ask, “What should I be doing?” It’s the right question, but not easily answered. Why? There is a whole array of things that must be done simultaneously in opening any business, but especially one as complex as a restaurant.
So, where do you start? The best place to start is with a plan, of course. Without one, it’s like shooting from the hip. Just trusting your instincts is a recipe for failure. “If you don’t know where you’re going, you are unlikely to get anywhere worthwhile.” So you begin with a business plan, a proven foundation of success and the road map to your dream becoming reality. A quotation worth remembering and putting into practice is, “Failing to plan is planning to fail” from The 7 Habits of Highly EffectivePeople, Stephen R. Covey).
Let’s outline two important steps necessary to create a successful business plan:
1. You must have an idea of the type of restaurant you want. That means coming up with a well-thought-out concept, visualizing it with graphics, and describing in writing. Your entire business plan will evolve from this: how to bring that dream restaurant to life; how to give it its unique personality; and what makes it different from other restaurants.
2. Study successful restaurants in order to formulate a model that fits what you have in mind. You don’t have to copy them, just determine why you think they are successful. Is it their food? Is it their friendly service or atmosphere? Most likely it will be all three, fitting together to form a total concept: great food, prompt and attentive service, and a comfortable, if not unique, atmosphere.