How to Open a New Restaurant: A Basic Checklist

You’ve just bought a restaurant and are on your way to living your dream of becoming a successful restauranteur. It’s an incredibly exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming, as there are so many steps to take before you’re ready to officially open your doors to your new customers. You don’t want to miss any steps and realise right before opening that you’ve forgotten something crucial, so here is a checklist including everything you need to get your restaurant up and running.

The theme or concept

This will be what helps your restaurant stand out from the rest, so choose a concept that makes sense to you. Restaurant themes and concepts are often chosen based on the current food trends or fads, but like the fad, they most likely won’t last once people have moved on to the next one. If you want your restaurant to remain popular and timeless, it’s best to go with a concept or theme that is more diverse and built on classic dishes, perhaps with a twist. 

The decor

The interior of your restaurant is an important aspect when you’re trying to convey your concept or a certain feeling you want your guests to enjoy while they’re visiting. If you’ve taken over your new restaurant from a previous owner, perhaps the decor that’s already there is perfect and you don’t need to change it to fit your vision. If you’re planning on redecorating or are starting from scratch, you need to consider a lot of different aspects of the interior decorations. 

The furniture your guests will use is one major consideration, so looking for restaurant tables and other furniture that will fit into your concept or theme is a priority. Do you want more modern furniture or more comfortable furniture with a homestyle look? Do you want round tables, square tables, or communal tables? Consider the dining experience you’re trying to give your guests and base your choices on that. 

The cutlery and dishware you use is also important, as it can impact the feel of your presentation when you bring out their food. Cheap dishware can detract from an upscale experience, so again, it’s best to align your decision with the concept of the restaurant. 

The menu

The heart of every restaurant is its menu, but it isn’t that simple to come up with a menu that will resonate with your guests. First, consider the size of your kitchen, as this will directly impact how big your menu is and what style of food you put on it. Smaller kitchens will obviously require a smaller, more limited menu, but it’s still possible to have a wide variety of items. Think back to your restaurant’s concept and find dishes that can easily be made in your kitchen while still fitting in with the theme. 

The team

Your restaurant will only be as good as the people who are working there, so finding a capable and reliable team to help you make your restaurant dreams a reality is necessary. When hiring, make sure you have your criteria laid out, but overall you should look for a mix of experience, skill, and personality. Consider what each role will demand from the person in the position so you can fill each role carefully. You want to avoid high turnover, as it’s expensive for your business, and can also cause uncertainty among your remaining staff.