Opening a restaurant: The essential checklist

The past year and a half hasn’t been easy on the hospitality sector, but with the industry opening back up, we’ve put together a restaurant checklist to guide you through the various stages of opening a new restaurant — covering conception, location scouting, funding and more. 

1. A distinctive concept

Coming up with a unique aesthetic will help you align your branding with everything you do including your interior design, messaging, menu items and the segment population you’ll target.

Starting with a standard design depending on your offering you can opt for anything from a fast-casual look, family-style, fine dining to a cafe or bistro. Your aesthetic should be partially determined by market research as this will help you target gaps in the market and pinpoint demand. 

It’s a good idea to include a unique component alongside the basic aesthetic. This can be a standout ambience, dedicated entertainment, exotic menu items or a themed approach to your restaurant environment. A unique selling point will go a long way in emboldening your messaging and stand out against competitors.

2. Create a business plan

A business plan will act as both a checklist and a proposal to obtain funding from potential investors. It will include a comprehensive description and action plan and address the most important aspects that will be of interest to third parties.

Here’s what you should cover:

  • Mission statement

  • Concept

  • Execution 

  • Costs

  • Expected returns

3. Find the right location

Scouting potential locations will help you select the most opportune neighbourhood for your business and target your chosen demographic.

The location will play a key role in your business plan and address how your restaurant will stand out in a saturated market. 

It’s a good idea therefore to take the time to get to know the community, measure interest and scope out the competition. Keep logistics in mind including accessibility, parking, length of lease and more.

4. Your menu

Creating your menu is one of the more exciting tasks on your restaurant journey and a chance to play out your vision. It’s important to note that your offering will influence logistics; from what equipment you will need to purchase to setting the right pricing to stay competitive. So consider the cost of goods, profit margins and restaurant inventory before you finalise your menu.

 5. Hospitality-bespoke POS 

By choosing a POS system, you will be able to expand your capabilities through a range of integrations and add-on modules. The most prominent features used by restaurants include mobile ordering, reporting and stock management features.   

Restaurant POS systems also offer table management features that are tailored to answer hospitality-specific demands which include:

  • Table and tab management

  • Real-time menu editing

  • Kitchen display screen

  • Loyalty features including points-based programmes

  • Stock management

  • Wastage reporting

 6. Funding and finances

The cash needed to open a restaurant is often more than merchants-to-be may expect. If you consider that your budget will have to account for the property, equipment, marketing and keep-up and that it will usually take up to two years for your restaurant to break even, you will want to acquire a sizable budget to cover the expenses necessary.

Investors are therefore key to providing you with the working capital and your fleshed-out business plan will provide further security for those interested in partnering with you; whether that is a bank, a private investor or a company. 

 7. Hire your team

Your staff are walking and talking representations of your brand and therefore a key element in the success of your restaurant. From waiters to chefs and managers, you will need to fill a number of positions depending on the size of your restaurant. Recruitment can be a lengthy process, so it’s a good idea to get started early.

You will be able to use job boards, referrals, career sites and recruitment agencies to fill your positions. It’s important to treat this as a fully-fledged interview process; craft a job description and communicate your essentials and ideals, prepare interview questions and have a vetting process in place including reference checks.

SumUp Point of Sale

Whether you’re running a hospitality or retail business, navigating all of the different elements of your day-to-day operations can be tricky. With a flexible, all-in-one point of sale system, you can make it simple. Manage your stock, menus, employees and customers and always accept safe and secure payments. You’ll also have access to useful insights that can help you pump up your sales.

If you think SumUp Point of Sale could be a fit for your business, get in touch with us via the form below. 

SumUp Team

Book your demo now

Book an online demo with one of our team. Let us show you how simple, yet feature-rich SumUp Point of Sale is and how we can optimise it for you.