The restaurant industry is hands down one of the most difficult industries to operate a business in. The average profit margin for restaurants is just 3-5% and 80% of new restaurants will close their doors before their fifth anniversary. That being said, with great risk comes the opportunity for great reward. Restaurateurs such as Emeril Lagasse, Gordon Ramsey, Paul Bocuse, and Jamie Oliver have all made fortunes in the industry. There are many restaurant owners that also report making upwards of $150,000 a year. With help and hard work, you can take your restaurant concept to new heights and there is never such a thing as having too much help.
Fortunately for restaurateurs, there is a wealth of information and help out there from industry veterans, business experts, and software developers. From books to blogs and apps, there are resources for every restaurateur. To save you time, we’ve done the searching for you to compile some of the best resources the internet has to offer.
Resources For Starting Up A Restaurant
It’s no secret that starting up a restaurant is a huge gamble. It’s estimated that 60% of all new restaurants fail within their first year of business. It takes a lot of work and planning to be within the 40% of new restaurants that live to see a second year in business. Fortunately, you’re not alone as you work to start up your new restaurant. We’ve compiled a number of learning resources you can use to make sure your restaurant concept starts up without a hitch.
Every successful restaurant starts with a plan and a solid foundation. The following resources can help you create some of the initial documents for your restaurant concept so that you can start your business with a good foundation in place.
- How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan (Step by Step Guide with Samples): One of the first documents you’ll ever create for your restaurant will undoubtedly be your business plan. Creating a business plan can be a very daunting task to approach. This blog post breaks every step down and even includes a downloadable business plan template so that you can hit the ground running.
- How to Write a Mission Statement (With Examples): This post comes straight from the Budget Branders Blog. It includes a complete breakdown on how to write a mission statement along with over 50 examples to pull inspiration from. You’ll find that it is the most comprehensive resource for writing a restaurant mission statement on the web.
- 7 Licenses & Permits to Open a New Restaurant: This post outlines all of the permits and licenses you’ll likely need to obtain to open your restaurant along with how you can go about obtaining them.
As the old cliché goes; the three most important factors when determining the desirability of a property are location, location, and location. In the restaurant business, location plays a vital role in determining whether your restaurant will succeed or flop. Even in an age of growing delivery orders via Grubhub and UberEats, you’re still confined to a radius where you can reasonably keep food warm during delivery. The following resources can guide you in choosing the right location for your restaurant.
- How to Find the Perfect Location for a New Restaurant: 6 Ways: This post from Inc. walks through one franchise owner’s search for the perfect location and dissects six important tips that came out of that search for others scouting for the right location.
- Restaurant Location Analysis: Choosing a Location for Your Restaurant: RestoHub completely breaks down the process for analyzing a location to determine if it will make sense for your restaurant. This is one of the most comprehensive posts on location analysis and it is definitely worth the read.
Equipment by far will be one of the largest expenses for your restaurant. Because restaurants have such a high failure rate, it doesn’t make sense to shell out thousands of dollars on the latest equipment. You’re then increasing your gamble and the amount of money you could stand to lose. The following posts will help you decide what equipment your restaurant will need and how to get that equipment at an affordable price.
- Commercial Restaurant Kitchen Equipment Checklist: Not every restaurant will need the same kitchen equipment. Equipment can vary depending on the types of food you’re preparing. Nevertheless, certain equipment is universally included in every restaurant kitchen. This post lays out all of that equipment, so you can start planning for what you’ll need.
- A Guide to Buying Used Restaurant Equipment: As previously mentioned, restaurant equipment is costly and if you can buy good equipment that’s used, you should. This post walks through several routes you can take to score affordable used restaurant equipment.
Stellar inventory management is hard to pull off. If you order too much supplies, you may be throwing away a lot of rotting food. On the flip side, if you order too little you may have some very unhappy customers when they can’t order their favorite menu item. Inventory management takes time and experience to perfect, but tips from veterans and experts could help speed up the learning process.
- Restaurant Inventory Management Tips to Increase Profit: This blog post provides seven actionable tips restaurateurs can utilize to increase profits with good inventory management.
- 5 Best Practices for Restaurant Inventory Management: The best practices in any industry are always good to know. This post outlines five of the best practices for inventory management and how to smoothly implement them into your restaurant.
Your menu is a part of your restaurant’s brand identity and it’s something you’ll have to put a lot of time and energy into developing. The thing about menu creation is that it’s not something you can set and forget. A menu is a living, breathing document that will change over time. In fact, 25% of all restaurants change their menu on a weekly basis. The following posts will help you craft your restaurant menu.
- 12 Things to Consider When Developing Your First Menu: Foodable breaks down 12 of the most important considerations in menu development for first-time restaurateurs in this great post.
- The Most Ordered Menu Items at 20 Popular Restaurants: You want your restaurant menu to be unique, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely disregard what is working for other restaurants. You may be able to take some of their most popular dishes and build upon them. That is precisely why we recommend taking a look at Thrillist’s list of the most ordered restaurant items at 20 popular restaurants.
If you’re strapped for cash and trying to start your own restaurant, we don’t typically recommend pouring a lot of money into your decor to start. While the ambiance of your location will help to build the experience, you can create memorable experiences without shelling out a lot of cash. Nevertheless, good interior design can help the performance of your restaurant and we’ve included posts on restaurant design that we think are worth reading.
- The Top 10 Restaurant Design Trends of 2020: Dining trends are ever-evolving to the point where it can be hard to keep up with the latest trends. This post from the WebstaurantStore blog highlights some of the latest trends in dining for 2020.
- Restaurant Interior Design Ideas: While not a blog post, this Pinterest thread of over 339 images of restaurant interiors is sure to provide excellent inspiration as you work on designing your own dining space.
Best Books for Restaurant Owners
Reading a book is a time commitment and we know it can be hard to find leisure time while operating a restaurant. If you happen to be able to find some time for books, we’ve compiled a list of excellent books both specifically for restaurant owners and more general entrepreneurs that may help you take your restaurant to the next level.
Books Specifically for Restaurant Owners
- Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business: Danny Myer is the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, which owns 11 unique restaurant concepts in New York. Danny shares his personal recipe for success in Setting the Table.
- Restaurant Success By the Numbers: Many restaurant owners have openly admitted that they struggle making sense of all the numbers involved in operating a business. However, understanding the numbers of business is crucial. Restaurant Success By the Numbers is written by an accountant-turned-restauranteur and helps owners understand the science behind the service.
- The Profit Recipe: Cesar Quintero pioneered the Fit2Go healthy food system and launched the first licensed food boat in Florida. With his great success in food service, Cesar shares his valuable insights on how to make your restaurant leaner and more profitable.
- Restaurant Owners Uncorked: Twenty Owners Share Their Recipes for Success: Restaurant Owners Uncorked is written with the premise that there is no one single recipe for success. The book offers insights and stories from twenty different restaurant owners to give you a wider perspective on what success could look like for your restaurant and how you can achieve it.
- It’s All About the Guest: Exceeding Expectations in Business and in Life the Davio’s Way: Steve DiFillippo is the epitome of success in the restaurant industry. He opened his first restaurant at just 24 years old and slowly transformed it into a $50 million restaurant group all while wowing Julia Child, hosting a party for Oprah, and more along the way. Steve had many challenges and successes on his journey and he took the time to document everything, which is now included in It’s All About the Guest. It’s definitely worth reading.
- The Restaurant Manager’s Handbook: How to Set Up, Operate, and Manage a Financially Successful Food Service Operation: The Restaurant Manager’s Handbook is an incredibly comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about starting up and operating a successful restaurant. From effectively laying out your floor space to training employees and implementing basic cost controls, this book covers it all.
General Business & Entrepreneurship Books
- The E-Myth Revisited: Michael Gerber is considered by many to be one of the world’s best small business gurus. He is credited for popularizing the distinction between working on your business and working in it. E-Myth covers why many small businesses don’t work and how to create one that does with a walkthrough of every step in the life of a business.
- Will It Fly: Will It Fly by Thomas McKnight addresses one of the most important questions entrepreneurs ask when starting a business: “Will my business take off or will it fall flat?” The book offers a 44-item checklist to help readers determine whether or not their business may be destined for success.
- Outliers: The Story of Success: Malcolm Gladwell is a world-renowned author and public speaker. His book, Outliers, examines people who achieved extraordinary success in an effort to find patterns and replicable behaviors.
- Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable: Written by Seth Godin (considered to be a true thought leader and guru in the marketing industry,) Purple Cow has helped business owners across the world create truly remarkable products and properly market them. Purple Cow will have you thinking critically about your marketing strategy and what it is really communicating about your product.
- Start Run & Grow a Successful Small Business:This book is an all-in-one utility book that covers the entire process of setting up a business from start to finish. If you’re in the initial stages of planning your restaurant, this is a must-read.
Best Apps for Restaurant Owners
There really are apps for everything and restaurant management is no exception. There are a slew of different apps and software applications owners can use to optimize their operations and work smarter instead of harder. In an industry where free time is sparse, the right apps may just help you generate more of it.
The Best Free Apps for Restaurants
- Buffer: Social media will certainly be included in your marketing mix. Images of mouth watering food on Instagram or details surrounding new promotions on Facebook can help generate shares and draw in new business. Buffer offers a free tier for their post scheduling app. You can use Buffer to schedule all of your social media posts at once across all of your different social platforms.
- Mailchimp: You may decide to start an email list to keep customers engaged and returning to dine. You could use email campaigns to send out notifications for loyalty programs, promote special offers, and celebrate special occasions like customer birthdays. Mailchimp has a free tier, so you can run your campaigns without having to shell out any money. Mailchimp is free for up to 2,000 contacts, so if you run a larger restaurant, you may have to pay.
- Yelp: Yelp could make or break your restaurant depending on the reviews that end up coming in. Nevertheless, it’s an app you don’t want to ignore due to the size of the userbase and Yelp’s dominance in the search results in certain markets. You can find ways to remind diners to leave you a Yelp review so that you can amass positive reviews and generate more business for your restaurant.
The Best Paid Apps for Restaurants
- Eat: Many restaurant-goers want to dine somewhere where they can secure a table without having to wait long. Managing reservations can be a headache, but if you don’t offer reservations, you risk losing business to those regularly using apps like OpenTable or Resy. Eat allows you to map out your tables and easily schedule and manage reservations for your tables to ensure you can seamlessly balance reservations with walk-ins.
- 7Shifts: Scheduling and managing part-time employees is unarguably a nightmare for any business owner, but 7Shifts makes scheduling a bit easier. Owners can drag-and-drop shifts into a calendar which automatically takes availability and local labor laws into account. The app will also send messages to employees so everyone knows when their shifts are.
- BlueCart: BlueCart simplifies supply ordering. You can manage all of your inventory, easily return extra or damaged products, and order all of your inventory from one place with the click of a button. Some restaurants have claimed they’ve been able to reduce food waste by 50% using BlueCart.
Restaurant Blogs Worth Subscribing To
Many food service and restaurant-related blogs have a few good posts, but not many blogs consistently produce great content. The following blogs regularly produce posts worth reading for restaurant owners and are worth subscribing to.
- The Restaurant Boss: For those that prefer digesting content in video format, the Restaurant Boss video blog is for you. Every post includes a video and the video content itself is highly informational. Ryan Gromfin has helped thousands of restaurant owners and operators achieve success around the world. He is incredibly knowledgeable and has a lot of great information to share.
- Budget Branders: We may be a little biased, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t include the Budget Branders blog on the list. We regularly publish blogs tailored to the restaurant industry with posts on helpful tips, the latest trends, and emerging statistics.
- Modern Restaurant Management: Modern Restaurant Management is a go-to resource for many restaurant professionals. The blog covers trends and management news from many industry veterans.
- Restaurant Den: Restaurant Den is a restaurant industry web developer that operates a blog on marketing restaurants. It’s a great blog to subscribe to if you’re looking to keep a finger on the pulse of the lastest food service marketing trends.
- Uncorkd: Own a bar or an establishment that serves alcohol? Uncorkd may be just the blog for you. The Uncorkd blog helps restaurant leaders create holiday cocktails, learn bar inventory management techniques, and stay on top of wine trends.
Helpful Videos for Restaurant Owners
While text content is great, it can be easier and quicker to digest video lessons. Not only that, but sometimes there are concepts that are best taught visually. That is precisely why we’ve also compiled a list of helpful videos for restaurateurs.
Not every restaurant has the luxury of having a lot of floor space to work with. In fact, depending on the restaurant concept, large amounts of space may be a waste. This video includes over 70 images of excellent small restaurant interior design examples, so that you can get inspiration for transforming your small space into an exceptional experience for diners.
Food Costs Formula: How To Calculate Restaurant Food Cost Percentage: This video is one of The Restaurant Boss’s many video blog entries. It’s a very important topic, because accurately pricing food will allow you to ensure a solid profit margin.
How to Create a Restaurant Budget: Almost every business in existence runs on a budget, but in the restaurant industry, it’s very common for restaurateurs to run operations without ever putting together budgets or recipe costing cards. Running a restaurant without a budget in place is a huge mistake. This video walks you through how to put together a budget for your restaurant.
Branding Help for Restaurant Owners
Expanding brand reach and growing brand awareness for your restaurant is likely one of your growth goals for this year (or it should be if it isn’t currently). You work hard to create excellent food and you want others to know it. You can put your brand’s stamp on the food and beverages you produce with custom-branded disposable cups and to-go food bags.
What was once a luxury for only the largest and most successful restaurant chains is now accessible to any restaurant across the country. Budget Branders has partnered with some of the largest restaurant supply factories in the world to be able to provide restaurant owners with custom-printed restaurant supplies at an affordable price point. You no longer have to order millions of units or break the bank to get your logo on your restaurant supplies. Contact Budget Branders today to speak with one of our brand consultants and learn what Budget Branders can do for your restaurant.