Hello there

My name is Alice Chooper and I am a recently retired restaurant manager and Head Chef after a long career in the business. Now, I am sharing my experience in this restaurant management blog to help all those in the industry who are passionate about sharing their love of food with others.

I started my first restaurant at the age of 26, but this closed after just eight months. I returned to working for another restaurant and was finally able to open a successful restaurant a few years later. Many restaurants close in their first year, often because of lack of planning. Planning does not have to be complex, but it does have to be efficient.

Alice Chooper Restaurant Management Guide

A business plan will flag up challenges even before you start and no bank or investor will offer a loan without one. Your business plan should be one that you return to regularly to help you plan for growth and to measure progress, giving you the chance to see what is possible as you move forward. Include your restaurant concept and the market you will be targeting.

Finances are mapped out here to include start-up capital and long-term income and expenses forecasts. Also add all the licences and permits you will require. Include a marketing plan and details of who you will employ and what training you offer along with a retention programme. Plans around how you will deal with the challenges all restaurants face is vital. An exit strategy will make things easier for you at the time you choose to leave.

Chef Recipes

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How to Plan a Restaurant

When planning the design of your restaurant, consider how you will arrange your restaurant to cater for different requirements. This may be for large groups of family and friends who want to sit together and accessibility for people with disability. If you want to welcome families, you will need to leave space for people to move freely past high-chairs as well as a space to safely store prams and buggies plus the high-chairs when not in use.

Events bring in extra business, so consider in your planning whether you want to install a large screen to encourage sports fans to watch their favourite team on a particular night; to open the restaurant to host a charity function; an open mic or karaoke night, a cookery class with an invited chef (a celebrity chef is a massive draw) or perhaps a separate more private space for a group of diners.

Starting your business

Whether you are opening a family-friendly restaurant, upscale fine dining or a fast-food eatery, there are some commonalities between them when it comes to starting out. You need to decide what consumer group you are targeting since it is not possible to open a restaurant that will appeal to everyone.

Most successful restaurateurs suggest the best way to start a restaurant is to learn the business in a similar restaurant to the one you wish to open. This offers you insight into the reality of the business.

Before you can begin any serious business planning, decide your concept – the segment of the restaurant market you want to enter. Your personal likes and your personality will guide you to whether it is to be a fine-dining restaurant or another type of operation. As a restaurant owner, you are likely to spend most of their time creating menus; ordering supplies; dealing with human resource issues; putting together marketing campaigns; making sure you are following all legal regulations and a myriad of administrative issues.

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Management

When managing a restaurant, you are legally required to follow regulations regarding the sale of alcohol and tobacco products, as well as all issues relating to tax. Your local tax office will be able to offer you advice, support and suggestions.

Good management of staff makes for happier employees. When starting out and you should keep your your payroll costs between 24 to 35 percent of your total gross sales. This means in the early days you are likely to need staff willing to be flexible in their duties. Offering training increases confidence, aids effectiveness and reduces staff turnover. The national trade association can help you develop your own training programme.

Restaurant Tips

Here are some tips to help you improve your chances of being one of the restaurants that floats rather than sinks: