Getting a new restaurant off the ground is anything but easy. Not only do budding restaurateurs need to offer first-rate food, reasonable prices and friendly service, they need to do all this while tending to a wide range of promotional efforts. Suffice it to say, things can get pretty expensive – and if your eatery has yet to establish itself in the community, this can present a host of problems. While there’s no way around many of the trials synonymous with restaurant ownership, there are a number of ways you can ease your financial burden.
Ditch Disposable Dishes
It can’t be denied that there are a number of benefits to using disposable dishes. For starters, disposable dishes mean less dishwashing, enabling your kitchen staff to focus on issues that are more pertinent to food prep. However, if your restaurant does a fair amount of business, the cost of purchasing these dishes is bound to add up. Furthermore, even if your disposable dishes of choice are recyclable, opting for traditional glass dishes and metal utensils is more beneficial to the environment. While switching to traditional dishes and utensils may mean more dishwashing, it will ultimately save your restaurant money and decrease the size of its environmental footprint.
Purchase Manufacturer-Direct Equipment
When shopping around for kitchen equipment, many first-time restaurateurs make the mistake of not buying manufacturer-direct. Any time you purchase this equipment from a third party, you’re practically guaranteed to be charged some level of markup. Conversely, buying manufacturer-direct essentially eliminates the middleman, resulting in tremendous savings.
When searching for dependable kitchen equipment manufacturers, make sure to do your homework. This means speaking to colleagues in the restaurant business and doing online research into various brands. As a budding restaurateur, the absolute last thing you want is to be stuck with unreliable equipment.
Find a Good Wholesaler
No restaurant can succeed without the help of a good wholesaler. Purchasing meat, produce and other ingredients through non-wholesalers is far too expensive for most eateries, especially ones that are just getting their start. With this in mind, it’s in your best interest to have a reliable wholesaler lined up before declaring your restaurant open for business. Additionally, some restaurant owners find it more financially beneficial to work with multiple wholesalers. For example, you may consider having one wholesaler for produce and another for meat. Regardless of the arrangement you ultimately decide on, opening a restaurant without the help of a wholesaler is among the worst blunders a restaurateur can make.
Over the last decade, many people have become more aware of the impact their activities have on the environment and opted to change certain behaviors. Unsurprisingly, this sentiment has carried over to a wide assortment of small businesses – most notably, restaurants. In addition to doing your part for the planet, making efforts to conserve energy stands to save your restaurant money. For example, while energy-efficient appliances may come with slightly higher price tags than their power-guzzling counterparts, they can save you a considerable sum in monthly energy costs. You can also conserve water by not running your dishwashers unless they’re full and investing in low-flow toilets for your restrooms.
Focus on Social Media Promotion
Many fledgling restaurants lack the funds to devote to traditional forms of promotion. While local newspapers, radio ads and TV spots can still be effective vehicles for spreading the word about a new business, there’s a lot to be said for social media. In addition to providing restaurateurs with convenient platforms to build awareness, use of said platforms is completely free. As such, it’s recommended that you create accounts for your restaurant on prominent social media sites and update them on a consistent basis. When creating posts, take care to emphasize the high points of your business – i.e., reasonable prices and unique cuisine – and include plenty of images.
As any seasoned restaurateur can confirm, carving out a name for your first eatery can be an uphill battle. Regardless of where your establishment is based, you’re liable to face a steady amount of competition from other local hotspots. However, while getting a restaurant off the ground may seem tough, the satisfaction of seeing this ordeal through is indescribable. When looking for tips on getting a budding restaurant through a rough first year, the importance of saving money cannot be overlooked. Fortunately, conserving funds isn’t nearly as daunting as certain restaurateurs may expect.