For starting entrepreneurs, the food service industry is an enticing hotspot. Businesses are economy-proof to a certain extent. There’s always a hungry market. More importantly, they’re easily a good outlet for creative passions. But of course, the challenges abound.
It’s one of the harshest, most cutthroat industries. You’re basically brushing up against giant brands that have already found the magic ingredient, the way to the market’s hearts (and tummies). That’s why it’s important to get yourself fully ready before diving into this industry. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before opening your first restaurant.
What would set you apart from competitors?
The food service industry is a highly competitive field. That’s why when you’re just a new kid on the block, you must have a ‘hook’, something that would entice customers to try your business instead of your competitor. What you need is a clear distinction from other industry players. You must communicate to your target audience your unique selling point and make sure that they’d buy it.
If you’re going the franchising route, this is one matter you should ask the parent company. You’ll recognize a promising franchise opportunity at the depth of the brand’s knowledge of customers and competitors. So, just before buying a pizza franchise, look at all your options again and observe just how each of them is positioning themselves in the market.
How much time and effort can you dedicate to this?
One thing you should know about owning a restaurant is that it constantly needs your attention. Sure, you may have a manager and chefs doing all the “dirty work,” but you would be forced to oversee everything, from accounting to marketing to food quality control to supplier outreach to customer service. You’ll work long hours. You’ll toil hard, without full assurance yet that you’d get the returns you want on your first months.
You must be willing to make these sacrifices. If you’re really passionate about being a foodpreneur, then you can, and you will. Find people who have the same passions as you, so you can have someone to talk to when passion seems not enough.
Can you be a people person?
Although restaurants primarily focus on food, its success hinges on relationships with people. Everyone has that one favorite restaurant they love going to, not because of the stellar food it offers, but because of the hospitality of the owner, the warm smile of the receptionist, and the festive mood of the staff whenever they would burst into a Happy Birthday song for a customer. This doesn’t at all mean that it’s okay to serve so-so food. This just means that beyond the good food, you have to master the art of building a good rapport with people.
When you’re a people person or willing to become one, this attitude radiates to your employees, and then to your customers, who become loyal patrons. It increases your chances of business success. Aside from employees and customers though, you should be able to improve working relationships with suppliers as well.
Again, the food service industry is a cutthroat industry. The best way to prepare for it is to do some self-reflection, calculating the stakes while counting the gains. Finally, ask yourself: are you ready to open your restaurant now?