Starting a business is never a decision that you should make lightly, but that’s especially true if you’re planning on opening a food business. Restaurants and similar types of organizations are already more competitive than most, which means that you’re going to have your work cut out for you.
But starting a food business is one thing. Starting a SUCCESSFUL food business is something else entirely. So if you really want to make sure your pride and joy looks more like the latter than the former, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
It All Begins With a Plan
One of the first steps you need to take on your path to starting your food business involves securing the proper financing. The chances are high that you’re not going to be taking on 100% of the financial burden yourself, so you’re definitely going to need someone to come in and lend a helping hand.
To get to that point, you need to not only come up with a business plan – but you also need a document that will allow you to convey that plan to people in a way that lets them see (and easily buy into) your long-term vision.
Sit down with a presentation maker like Visme (which I founded) and create a document called a pitch deck. There should be at least one slide (but there will probably be a few) on just about every topic you can think of. This includes:
- What type of food business you’re trying to start.
- How you plan to actually make money, and the techniques you’ll use to get there.
- Any type of competition in the area that you will be facing.
- Opportunities for growth that you’ve already thought of and are planning to explore.
- Ways that you’re going to be able to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
All of this is hugely necessary, because again – someone isn’t going to just come in and give you thousands of dollars of their money out of the kindness of their heart. They want to know what they’re going to get in return, and a pitch deck is how you show them.
As an added benefit, this will force you to address all these legitimate challenges and strategy-related topics, too, giving you a better idea of what your future plan actually looks like as early on in the process as possible.
Don’t Forget About Marketing
For the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to assume that you already know what your food business actually looks like from a logistical perspective. You know what type of restaurant you’re going to be, what type of customers you’re going to serve, etc. If you have no idea about any of these things, you have to wonder why you even wanted to start a food business in the first place.
Once you know all of these things, the next thing you can do involves getting the word out about your impending arrival to as many people as you can. That involves marketing, and it’s never too early to start addressing it.
After your physical location has been secured and your opening date is on the calendar, sit down with a poster maker and start to advertise who you are and, more importantly, why you matter. Use a flyer maker to create direct mail collateral and send it out to people who are likely to be interested in your unique blend of business in the first place.
Be sure to leverage any opportunity you have to get people excited well in advance of your opening night. If you have some type of promotion you’re going to be running for the first week, let people know through your marketing. If you’re the only restaurant in town who serves this one particular dish or type of food, make sure that comes through loud and clear. If you’re going to be holding regular events like live music or themed nights centered around sporting events, that needs to be communicated – these are not things you want to come off as a surprise.
At that point, you’ll have a large part of the “business” side of your food business accounted for. Then, once you have a steady stream of people coming through your door, you can let the food do the rest of the work for you. That’s how you get people coming back again and again, which is the goal for any successful restaurateur.