Top Five Tips to Opening a Successful Restaurant Location

by Carolyn Miller2 Min Read

We know that it can be scary to think about opening up a new location for your business.  You want your restaurant to be successful and you’ll do whatever you need to do in order to make that happen.  Below are five key things that you can do to set your business up for success.

Get Your Financial Ducks In A Row

Financing is the fuel that fires the engine. This is as close to ‘Step #1’ as you can get.  You can go to a car dealership and fall in love with the most incredible car imaginable but if you can’t get financing for it, the car sits on the showroom floor!  If your goal is to build a new location and you are not sitting on a pile of unencumbered money, get funding now.

Hire the Right Team

Prepare, trust, and follow your business plan ...

There is only so much of you to go around. What tasks can only be done by you?

  • Who is best suited to hire the employees for your new location?  You.
  • Who is best suited to train the employees you hire?  You.
  • Who is best suited to scour the town to find available real estate locations?  Not you. Whether it is real estate, construction management, or legal representation, the time and money you save in the long run by hiring experts in key areas far exceeds the investment in their services. Avoid the ‘friends and family’ discount or the ‘favors’ of hiring relatives.  Your holidays will never be the same.
Know Your Costs

A ready-FIRE-Aim approach can be deadly. Establish a clear target that takes hard costs, soft costs, and contingencies into account. Frugality is good, but cutting the wrong corners seldom ever leads to lower overall development costs. Beware the urge to shoot first (spend money) and aim later (attempt to estimate a budget without knowing all of the variables).  Shooting yourself in the foot isn’t fatal but it sure hurts a lot.

Know Your Development Timeline

Time is always money. An ounce of prevention is sage advice — waiting too long always costs more. Not acting when the time is right can also be a detriment; Due diligence is your friend.  You may not like or agree with the zoning and permitting requirements but you can be sure that you will live (or die) by them.

Cover Your Assets

It’s not about what you make, but what you keep. Insurance covers the expected and the unexpected, yet problems cannot be solved by insurance alone. Iron sharpens iron.  Your advisors – you know, the ones who see ten steps ahead of you – are another form of insurance.  Their expertise prevents the wrong money from going out the door. Prepare, trust, and follow your business plan – it is your roadmap for ending up at the right destination: Open for Business.

Without a doubt, when you take the time to proactively look at each of these areas and develop a solid plan of attack, you will enjoy a much smoother and more successful new restaurant opening.

Carolyn Miller

@franchiseed | Website

Carolyn Miller is founder of the National Franchise Institute and author of “Brick & Mortar Franchise Success: Know The Costs or Pay The Price." She began her career at McDonald’s and has worked with Chipotle Mexican Grill, Red Robin, CiCi’s Pizza, and Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s. Miller founded the National Franchise Institute in 2015.

Related Articles