Independent restaurants, cafes and eateries are growing in popularity all the time. In some ways, this is great and makes the dream of opening your own place a realistic option. But, it also means that there is a lot of competition from both larger chains and from other small businesses. This means it’s more important than ever to get in right from the beginning. Here’s a look at what you need if you hope to open your own restaurant.

An Idea

Firstly, you need to decide what kind of restaurant you want. Do you want to fit into a theme or niche? Is there a type of cuisine you want to sell? Think about what you like eating, and cooking, but also what’s likely to sell. Try not to just follow the pack. Niches come and go with food, just like fashion trends. So, try to find something that will withstand the test of time and not be a passing fad.

A Plan

Once you have your idea, you need to plan. First, do some comprehensive market research to assess how viable your idea is. Look at your competition and make sure your target market has an appetite for your idea. Then, once you have completed your market research, write a business plan. The idea of writing a business plan can be daunting, but there are lots of resources out there to help you.

Premises

Getting your premises will be what makes it all seem real, like you are finally on your way, even though there is still a lot of work to do. Make a list of all the things you need from your premises. How much space you need, whether you want an open or separate kitchen, what office and storage space you need, how much you want to spend, and any locations you like. Then, contact a realtor and start your search.

Equipment

To run any kind of catering business, you need reliable, high quality, professional kitchen equipment. Make sure they come with warrantees, and take out a maintenance contract. Once the kitchen is set up, think about customer areas, make a list of everything you need, from tables, to sauce bottles. Then get shopping.

Licenses

There are certain legal requirements you need to meet to open a restaurant. These will vary depending on your business and location, but can include, alcohol licenses, music licensing and a food hygiene certification.

Staff

The staff you need will depend on how large your restaurant is, and how much you want to do yourself. But, you’ll need to recruit at least a few people to help.

Marketing

You can have the best food in the world, but it won’t work if no one knows about it. Marketing, and getting the word out, is one of the most important ways to ensure you have a successful start. Make sure people know about your restaurant before it opens.

Opening your own restaurant is an exciting challenge. Get all these steps in place, and then start enjoying running your own business and preparing fantastic food.