Just because you’ve spent a lot of your time dining in restaurants doesn’t necessarily make you qualified to own and operate an eatery. Even working in a food service environment may not adequately prepare you for the demands of day-to-day operations. While managing a variety of restaurants will certainly help to prepare you for the prospect of running your own business, still you might want some professional help when it comes to getting your first restaurant off the ground. And while buying into a franchise could certainly provide you with a set of built-in guidelines, parameters, and training for your operation, there are some drawbacks to going this route, namely that you’ll still be under the thumb of someone who makes decisions about how the business is managed. If you’re going to do it your way by launching your own enterprise, you might want to consider what adding a consultant to your crew, at least temporarily, can do for you. Here are just a few good reasons to hire a professional consultant when opening a restaurant.

  1. Business plan. The place to start when starting any business is with a business plan. This comprehensive document will take into account every aspect of your proposed startup, including not only projected costs and earnings (as well as detailed descriptions of all the components needed before you can open your doors), but also market analysis, demographic studies, and more. Without this crucial document you cannot get funding and you certainly can’t get a business going. A consultant can help you to draft and/or hone your plan for future success.
  2. Feasibility study. Once you’ve got the how of starting your business figured out and put on paper in your business plan, it’s time to figure out the details, namely where your restaurant will go. Finding the right spot can be tricky, so a feasibility study is necessary to ensure that you take into account all kinds of elements that could affect the likelihood of achieving success in any given location. You’ll need to address direct and indirect competitors in the vicinity, the amount of traffic and the ease of access, the cost and availability of employees and vendors, and the relative market for a business like yours. This is a lot of information to gather on your own with limited resources, so hiring experienced help could make the process a lot easier.
  3. Permits and licenses. You may need to get any number of legal ducks in a row when it comes to getting your restaurant ready for public consumption. For example, you might need permits for building or renovations. Or you may need to apply for a liquor license. A consultant can not only inform you of the legal documents you’ll need to avoid fines and shut-down, but this pro can also help you obtain any permits and licenses required.
  4. Training. In addition to offering advice on the setup of your startup, including everything from drafting architectural designs to planning a menu, a restaurant consultant will also assist in training your staff, including servers, managers, and the like. He won’t necessarily train the cooks on grill operation, but he will give instruction on how to behave appropriately in a kitchen environment, how to interact with guests, and so on. And this professional can also provide you with training manuals, policy booklets, job descriptions, and more, all of which you will need before you open, as well as every time you hire a new employee.
  5. Coordination. There are a lot of tasks that need to be done before you open the doors for a soft launch, much less a grand opening. While your consultant will offer advice and guidance along every step of the way, the main thing you’ll come to appreciate, no doubt, is the coordination. There are a lot of balls to juggle and it’s easy for someone who is unprepared to drop a couple in the process. But this can lead to costly mistakes. So consider hiring a pro from a firm likeĀ Gilkey restaurant consulting group, just for example, or going with a recommended free agent. You’ll find the assistance invaluable.

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