Restaurants are the most profitable business now in Nigeria. The demand for well cooked food is in hot demand. Most Nigerian workers eat out at least once a day. There’s more need for better restaurant business owners who value quality foods to venture into the business.
If you want to start a restaurant, have you thought about what you will need to start business? Do you want a step by step guide that will show you how to go about starting your restaurant? It’s essential to have better information before starting a business.
The restaurant business is not just about cooking delicious meals and selling it to people. It’s a complete food experience that a restaurant should give to its customers.
Delicious food should be eating in an excellent environment, with the right ambience and service experience. Your restaurant should do more than just feeding people. It should offer complete food satisfaction.
Imagine if your customers think of your restaurant as their second kitchen. That’s a significant advantage over your competitors in that neighbourhood. But how do you meet such kind of result?
In this startup guide, I will be showing you steps that will lead to a profitable restaurant in Nigeria. How to grow your restaurant business and keep up your customer’s taste and patronage.
Huge Potentials of Restaurant Business
The restaurant business is one of the most profitable ventures in the world. People eat every day. Even the sick ones in the hospitals eat food. Every family out of the 7 billion world population eat a meal every day.
No day passes that people don’t spend money on food.
However, as the world advance in technology and lifestyle, more and more people are eating out than cooking home meals. The demand for good restaurants to match the quality of home meals are in short supply.
And an average restaurant can serve just an amount of hungry customers per day. All these create a huge gap for those seeking good meals and the number of available restaurants to meet that need.
How Restaurant Business Works
You do have an idea of restaurant business but maybe not according to this knowledge. If you have eaten in a restaurant before or even own one, you know about the restaurant. But you need to understand the restaurant business beyond just cooking and serving food.
The restaurant business is more than food. It’s the hospitality business. It’s not just about dealing with the hunger. If you can’t see it beyond hunger, then you are in the ‘bukka’ business.
If you don’t start the process right, your restaurant business will struggle and may even close down. You should know what’s priority in the industry.
Have A Restaurant Business Plan
You should as well write a plan for your restaurant business. Don’t assume anything. Put it down in writing.
A good restaurant business plan should consider everything you need to start and run profitably. It should articulate your funding need and where it would come from.
That also includes your service provision, the menu, recipes and customer service experience. What you want the customers to think about your restaurant when they leave should be important to you.
Your business plan should help you see the restaurant before you even start the business.
Revenue Sources For Your Restaurant
Starting a profitable restaurant business means knowing all the revenue options available in the industry. You need to find the ones that can help you maximise your profit.
For example, out-door services can generate high revenues for your restaurant business per transaction. But you need to develop the skills for outdoor functions.
Here are a few revenue options for the restaurant business.
- Outdoor catering service
- Cocktail services
- Lunch hour services
- Breakfast meetings
- Birthday reception
- Engagement reception
- Wedding reception
- Venue services
- Office parties
- Private parties
You can add those you know as well. It’s either you are combining all, or you are picking those you can offer successfully.
Buying Restaurant Equipment
Buying restaurant equipments when starting out can be a huge financial burden. You may need to get some soft loan from your bank to offset such huge financial need.
However, if you have a major restaurant equipment supplier in your city, you might strike a deal that offers you installment payments for the equipments.
It’s up to you to know what’s best for you and go for it. You also need to be sure you are getting quality equipments. Cooking equipments wear out easily due to fire pressure. So, you need top quality equipments so they would last longer for you. Dont compromise on quality due to cheap price.
Find the Best Restaurant Supply
Starting out your restaurant business would require getting restaurant supplies. What you need to start and what you would be needing regularly in your restaurant forms your restaurant supply needs.
You have to make a list of what you would be requiring now and daily and tag them to a supplier around you where you can be getting them regularly on demand.
For a Nigerian restaurant, you need fresh supplies of vegetables daily. That’s not all, everything you use in cooking, apart from the utensils are required daily to make them fresh.
If you know Farmers groups or cooperative clubs around you may be very useful. You also need to be sure the type of farm produce you are getting. Organic farm produce taste much better in food. If you hope to standout and give your customers the best, that’s one huge consideration to make.
Your Restaurant Opening Day
The best part of starting a restaurant business is the restaurant opening day. It’s like the first day your first child is going to school. Preparations are always in full gear and ahead of time. You plan for everything and anything you can possibly think of or foresee.
Nothing is taking for granted. It’s a huge day and you want your customers to think so too. The funny part of the opening day is that you plan to impress everyone. It’s opening day, and it has a lot to do with how people will perceive your restaurant going forward.
The key thing to focus here is giving your customer your defined restaurant experience. Remember that people go to a restaurant just to eat. They can walk into another one next time they are hungry. But if you give them an experience that’s beyond food they will come back for it again and again.
If your restaurant business targets high end customers, you may need to hire an event planner to help you plan out your opening day. You have to attract the right kind of customers on day one and fill up your restaurant to create the right impression and enough word of mouth publicity.
The Focus Of Restaurant Business?
Everyone knows that restaurant business is about food. So, food should be the priority, right? That wouldn’t be a restaurant business. You should see the difference between a food restaurant and a restaurant business.
A food restaurant sells food to those who are hungry and want somewhere to eat. Their primary need is to satisfy their hunger.
But a restaurant business has an entirely different focus. It cooks great meals, but it serves excellent food experience, beyond the taste of the food. The value proposition is a complete food satisfaction experience.
You have to create this satisfaction in your restaurant business. If you meet the taste need of your target customers, you would have built a perfect food brand for your restaurant business.
How to Promote Restaurant Business?
One of the important promotional strategies for the restaurant is word-of-mouth. It should be your number one marketing strategy.
All other marketing plans should be to bring people to your restaurant for a first time experience. But word of mouth should be your secret marketing tool for building a regular and consistent customer base.
One of the best ways to create word of mouth in the restaurant business is with your food recipe. If you can create an excellent and satisfying taste for your customers, they will advertise you to their world.
Another strategy is your restaurant ambience. People want a place they can be proud to take their loved ones and hold important business lunch meetings.
If you combine great food recipe with lovely ambience, within your target market, you win. It’s that straight and simple.
Restaurant Secret Recipe
Your number one advantage and success measuring factor is your food recipe. Before you see your restaurant business as hunger palace, see it first as people’s taste bud satisfier.
Your restaurant business is only as good as your food recipe. If your food is like the roadside food vendor, you have already got it wrong.
Moreover, your recipe is your restaurant business food brand. That’s your primary advantage. That’s why people will tell their friends about you. The taste is the secret. And you must have one before you think of starting a restaurant business.
And if you thinking, I’m not a chef, then go become one. Don’t go into the food business without the right knowledge. And what do you think chefs learn in cooking schools? It’s how to create recipes. That’s what you need to learn.
Create The Right Restaurant Environment
Good food should necessarily go with the right environment. But before you go thinking that the right eating environment is expensive, here is what it should be like.
A good food environment should be spacious, clean and smell right. Don’t let people cram together when they are eating. Remember, good food makes people eat more. And that would make them a bit tired after eating. Struggling to come out of the chair would be a bad experience.
You are in the restaurant business to make money. Think about everything that would help you meet that faster. And a suitable space is one of them.
And when it comes to a clean restaurant, it’s not only the environment but your waiters as well. If you can’t afford to hire clean waiters, at least give them clean uniforms to wear every day.
Where to Start Your Restaurant
Your location is another strategy you should take seriously. Restaurant business number one strategy, even before the great taste and lovely ambience is the place.
You should site your restaurant as close enough to your target customers. You make it easier for them to choose you.
It’s important you consider every advantage available to you in the restaurant business before making the decision to start.
Here is a thought process that can help you in step by step guide.
Restaurants That Are Closing
Imagine you are planning to start a restaurant in a location but most restaurants before you are either closing or not doing so well. You shouldn’t just shrug it off and say it’s not your portion. It doesn’t work that way.
You have to find out why they are closing and why they are not doing well. You don’t want to wind up like them.
There could be reasons restaurants in that area are closing up. It could be the location doesn’t have enough customers to patronize them. It could even be that there too many restaurants in that neighbour hood struggling over a few customers.
Sometimes, it might food quality and taste. Not every restaurant ensures the quality of their cooking ingredients. Some may not even hire a good cook. So, you have to research Reasons restaurant are closing up there before you setup your own.
Action Points to Take
It’s not necessarily in order of procession to follow but essential points of starting a restaurant.
Step one: Write a good business plan. Do a market plan and cash flow analysis. Let it be a comprehensive business plan. If the foundation is right, the structure will be magnificent. One of the focus of your business plan will be to define the right customer persona for your restaurant business.
Step two: Get a chef training. You can do this before writing your restaurant business plan or after. What matters is that you get the knowledge. There are many restaurant etiquettes you need to know and apply in your food business.
Step three: Write your restaurant service experience handbook. It should contain all the services you want every customer to experience when they come to your restaurant. This will also form part of your restaurant training manual for your workers.
Step four: create an interior and exterior design for the restaurant. You should get an experienced designer that can adequately articulate your concept to make it real. People value what they see more than what they even feel. The right environment would add more to their service experience.
Step five: create your food menu for the walk-in restaurant customers, for out-door services and special receptions.
Your restaurant business should create a food business brand that customers will be proud to associate with. Even though a restaurant cooks food, I would instead recommend that you serve food satisfaction.
The best service experience for the customers will always win in the end. Everything about your restaurant business should bring joy to your customers. And make them want to come again and again.
The idea is to give them the best food experience and make them crave for more. And don’t settle for less. Be excellent!
- Training your workers should be a major priority
- Hire a staff whose work is standard monitoring and control
- Stick to your recipe or develop in-house methods for favourite meals.
References – List Of Popular Restaurants
Izanagi, 19B Idejo Street, Victoria Island, Lagos
RSVP Lagos, 9 Eletu Ogabi, Victoria Island, Lagos
Talindo Steak House, 7b Karimu Ikotun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos
Sky Restaurant & Lounge, Eko Hotel, Eko Hotel and Suites, 1415 Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos
Metisse, AIM Plaza, 267A Etim Inyang Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos
Tarragon by Culinary Academy, Culinary Academy, 50 Raymond Njoku Street, Ikoyi, Lagos
Orchid Bistro, 58A Issac John Street, Ikeja, Lagos
Craft Gourmet by Lou Baker, Mega Plaza Mall, 14 Idowu Martins Street, Victoria Island, Lagos
Craft Gourmet by Lou Baker, Mega Plaza Mall, 14 Idowu Martins Street, Victoria Island, Lagos