Article Written by Vanessa Holwell - Hiring Squad
Opening a restaurant is a lifetime goal for many entrepreneurial chefs. Starting your own business requires emotional and financial investment.
Think outside the box
If you don't have the finances available to start a restaurant, look for alternatives that give you the experience of running your own business and enough money to save towards your dream. More people than ever want to dine out. Despite the fact that the food service businesses in the U.S. have increased by nearly 800,000 in recent years, there is still room in the market for new enterprises.
Restaurants no longer need to be confined to four walls. Consider a creative angle to deliver food and new experiences to your customers: start a food truck, a pop-up stall, or a regular feature at an organic market. Being flexible and thinking of alternative ways to reach consumers is key to keeping costs low. Low-cost eateries are great, as they allow you to test out ideas before committing to a brick-and-mortar. Running a temporary restaurant will give you the confidence that your food is well received and your vision is on point.
Head over to the National Restaurants Association
Not entirely sure what you want to do? The National Restaurants Association is an excellent place to start brainstorming. The NRA is a one-stop shop for anyone from fledgling restaurant owners to experienced proprietors. The NRA has webinars, events, information on funding, sourcing food, sustainable issues, staffing, anything and everything connected with the restaurants and food business.
Get legal with an LLC
Make it official and form your restaurant as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). An LLC protects your assets by keeping your business and personal finances separate. In addition, an LLC has several tax advantages, it requires less paperwork, and it gives you more flexibility than a sole proprietor. Each state has varying regulations around forming an LLC, so check the rules in New York before moving ahead. If you would rather not do the legwork, you can avoid hefty lawyer fees by using a formation service.
Even the most scrupulous saver may find it hard to fund a restaurant these days. If you lack the finances to start your restaurant, buy equipment and supplies, and market your venture, then you need to find viable alternatives that won't break the bank.
The first place to start is Grant.gov which is a database of government agency administered business grants. Search the database to see if there is a way to get your business funded by the government. You could also check out SBIR or the U.S. Small Business Administration, both of which support small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Market your business
Getting your business in front of consumers should be high up on your list of priorities because without customers, even the most brilliant restaurant will fail. You don't have to spend a fortune on expensive advertising as low-cost options are plentiful if you know where to look.
Start with social media. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool and social media is where people talk and share these days — see what people are saying about MumsKitchens NYC! Create a Google My Business Page, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page and post pictures of your food and premises. Use your pages to keep people aware of updates and events. You can also promote your restaurant by using paid-for advertising on social media, which can be very inexpensive.
Team up with other local businesses to spread the word.
Set up a community event with other local businesses or run a trial with each other's products. Offer recommendations and shout outs for products that you adore and make sure they do the same for you. Read how MumsKitchens NYC has been working in the community.
Entrepreneurs should seek out innovative solutions to traditional problems. A successful start-up will formulate a creative business model and look for alternative ways to launch, fund, and market their business.
Image via MumsKitchens NYC