The Restaurant Group Blog

Tips on Starting a New Restaurant

Starting a new restaurant

Starting a new restaurant

Starting any kind of business can be challenging and, in many cases, outright daunting. Restaurants are no exception. Here’s an idea of what the process will entail.

Concept 

The first step in starting a new restaurant is developing a concept, which lays the groundwork for all that follows. You then need to design a plan of action. We at TRG can help you through our five-stage process:

  • Alignment — You’ll present to us your vision, as well as ideas for things like menu design, location and budget.
  • Research — We’ll compile a strategic list based on potential competition in your target market area.
  • Analysis — We’ll do a comparative analysis, pitting your restaurant against the competition.
  • Plan of Action — During a brainstorm session, we’ll create a plan of action that will include all aspects of your operation, including kitchen and bar design, menu, brand value, ideal location, and other requirements.
  • Reporting — We’ll help your restaurant achieve a smooth implementation and launch.

Brand

Here at TRG, we realize that brand is everything. It’s through branding that you convey your restaurant’s personality, paving the way for brand loyalty. We can help develop your brand and thereby create a lasting impression on your customers. TRG can provide services in such areas as graphic design and brand development.

Kitchen and Bar Design

A great kitchen design is essential for every restaurant, as it can help guarantee repeat business. Our consultants have real world experience and the know-how to help you design your kitchen and bar so you can generate repeat business. We can help you pick the perfect restaurant kitchen and bar design that both helps generate profit and reflects your brand and values. Don’t worry — we’ll guide you every step of the way.

Business Plan

A business plan is necessary to obtain funding for your operation. At TRG, we can help you craft a 20-30 pages business plan that we think could attract potential investors. Each plan, which we would deliver in both printed and digital formats, would include:

  • A mission statement.
  • A Business and Marketing Overview.
  • One- and Five-Year Sales and Profit Projections.
  • A Rough Draft of the Menu and more.

We’ll also provide you with a restaurant strategy plan, which will include 400 issues restaurant owners must address when they’re opening their business.

Feasibility Study

The next step would be a feasibility study to ensure that your concept aligns with your goal of maximum profitability. The study would include data and recommendations for such crucial elements as: local restaurant marketing potential, traffic count, possible location problems and solutions, demographics and identification of the target area, staffing potential, advertising options, direct and indirect competition, photos of the target trade area, and issues involving ingress and egress.

We can help you transform your restaurant idea into reality. For more information, please contact us.

Opening a restaurant? Why you should have a feasibility study before you start a new restaurant

So you want to start a restaurant? How prepared are you? Did you know that there are several aspects of opening a restaurant that need consideration for success? Location, competition, management and staff, and market statistics are just a few of the areas that can make or break a new restaurant.

Opening a restaurant - you need a Feasibility Study

 

Location

Location, location, location! One of the most important aspects of any successful restaurant is location. While it is important that location of the restaurant be in a busy traffic area, it is just as important that the restaurant have ample parking for customers. A busy traffic area does not always guarantee success. It is also important to look at the style of restaurant you want to open and compare it with other restaurants in the area, and how the location will affect your customer flow.

Competition

What is going to set your restaurant apart from the competition? If you are offering a similar cuisine, as other restaurants in the area, why would patrons choose your restaurant over the others? Points to consider are the number of established restaurants in the area, price points of other the restaurants, and who is the target market.

Management and Staff

A good restaurant is only as good as the staff. What is your game plan on hiring the best staff to accommodate your customers? A successful management staff works well under pressure, is able to make split-second decisions, and have the overall success of the restaurant in mind.

Market Statistics

You have the perfect location, you have reviewed the competition, you have the perfect staff in mind, now you must look at the market statistics. Why have other restaurants succeeded or failed? It is imperative that you know the demographics in the area. If you plan on opening a restaurant that mainly focuses on family style dining, then you want to look at how many families live in the area; a community of young singles would likely not support your endeavor.

TRG can help your plan for success. Contact us today, and allow our experts to help with all of your planning needs.

Restaurant Design: Building the Efficient Commercial Kitchen

Restaurant Design: Building the Efficient Commercial Kitchen

 

 Restaurant Design Kitchen

Your restaurant design is a reflection of your brand. From the front of house design to the back of house, your entire design plan needs to reflect your brand’s personality, market position and mission.

Efficient Restaurant Design

Whether you have a large chain or one store, it’s necessary to take every detail into account; from the store front sign to the table settings. The front of house design should reflect the style of your brand in its décor, also a large consideration should be paid to the construction of the service areas, to include the layout organization and efficiencies. If something looks beautiful but doesn’t function well, your customers will be the first to notice.

The front of house design is an important part of your image, but the back of house is the heart of your operation. Poor commercial kitchen design cannot only decrease your productivity, but it will impact your bottom line in many ways from food waste to loss of business.

Proper Planning

Before you can design your commercial kitchen, you need a solid plan. For example, consider your inventory needs, health codes, the type of food will you be serving and how you will be serving it. Retaining a restaurant consultant is the best way to plan. A consultant can help you establish your menu and make the best use of your kitchen space to increase restaurant efficiency.

There are several areas of a commercial kitchen that need to be established and there are a few popular configurations for different styles of service. Each layout factors in the workflow which includes receiving, storage, food preparation, meal cooking, cleaning and washing, waste disposal and most importantly service. Whichever design you chose, remember to keep it flexible in case your menu options change, use commercial grade appliances and building materials. It is also critical that you create specific work zones that will provide your employees with maximum efficiency to complete their duties.

Popular Configurations

Depending upon what category your restaurant falls into, there are three main layouts you can use to increase food production time and employee communication. These are simple guidelines that are flexible and easily modified to fit your specific needs.

Assembly-line

Many fast food or fast-casual restaurants use an assembly line set up in their kitchens. if you are making many of the same types of food or using the same ingredients in different ways, the assembly line configuration usually works best. This format arranges the kitchen in order of materials used. There is usually a preparation area connected to a cooking area that hands off to a service area. In this setup, the cleaning and storage areas are behind the line. This design offers speed and the ability to process orders quickly without employees running between stations.

 Food Service Design

The Island

The island configuration is designed with one main block in the middle of the kitchen area where food is prepped and cooked. Most often you will find the cooking spaces with appliances and equipment in this area. On the outer walls surrounding the kitchen, you will find cleaning storage, food prep and service areas with a circular flow. The Island offers a good flow for workers to move around and better communication among employees.

Food Service Design

The Zone

This layout is organized by blocks, placing major equipment around the walls. Like the other two models, this design flows in an ordered manner and allows for easy communication among employees preparing the food. It also provides more space in the center of the work area for employees to easily move to-and-from different stations.

Food Service Design

Always keep in mind that each of these designs can be modified easily depending on the equipment you use as well as the space and shape of your kitchen.

Other Considerations

Depending on where you are constructing your kitchen, you will find different local, state and county regulations. The planning and zoning restrictions vary from city to city, so you may not be aware of the required fire, electrical and plumbing codes. Additionally, you will need to apply for permits and licenses so it is important to know what you’re doing before you begin your design. Restaurant consultants are specialists in this field of design, so using one to help guide you through the entire commercial kitchen design and build process, will often save you time, money and headaches, not to mention, help you increase your restaurant’s efficiency and bottom line profits.

Contact TRG Restaurant Consulting for a free commercial kitchen design consultation.

5 Great Marketing Ideas for your Restaurant in 2016

Marketing Ideas for your Restaurant

 

Restaurant Marketing

 

As a busy operator making decisions about how to best market your restaurant brand often takes a backseat to the day to day business of running your operation. And, in a marketing world that is constantly evolving, learning the ins and outs of new strategies is difficult. Moreover, figuring out how to deploy them for your restaurant may seem overwhelming and impossible. But, armed with a few new and emerging ideas and some straightforward implementation ideas, restaurant managers and owners can leverage the best of the current marketing trends to raise brand awareness and increase traffic and revenues.

Let’s explore 5 powerful, cutting edge ideas and strategies and how you can put them to work for your restaurant.

 

Get Visual

Visual content in the form of videos, animated GIFS and short-form looping videos such as Vines allow restaurants to engage their target audience in a completely new and interesting way. Restaurants have a unique opportunity to create rich visual content through action videos both in the front of the house and the kitchen and through special events, cooking classes, charity tie-ins and community involvement for example. By promoting their own branded video content on their website and on social media, restaurants can create brand building campaigns that raise awareness and invite customer interaction in ways not possible before.

Email marketing, which remains one of the most effective and cost friendly marketing methods for restaurants, takes on a entirely new dimension with the addition of quality, short animation and video content. Look to an email service such as MailChimp or Constant Contact to make creating robust email campaigns easy.

 

Restaurant Marketing Ideas 1

Get Mobile

The mobile movement isn’t coming. It’s here, and it’s here to stay. In fact, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches well over a year ago (see graph) and searches for local businesses make up the majority.

Consumers are making buying decisions on the go making it especially important for restaurant websites to be mobile-friendly. It’s not enough to just be found when potential customers are looking for a restaurant to visit. You must have a website that offers up the information they are seeking in an easy to navigate, “thumb-friendly” format. Your menu, location, hours and contact information must be easily accessible and your website experience must be seamless and smooth. Make it hard for your online visitors and they will bounce off your site and move on to your competitor.

Mobile websites are easily attainable and a responsive site, meaning one that adapts to the device being used to access it, can accommodate simple and inexpensive online ordering and reservation applications.

 

Restaurant Marketing Ideas 2

Get Content

You’ve no doubt heard the phrase, coined by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, “Content is King” and, without a doubt, it still holds true.

There is no substitute for quality content on your website in optimizing your site for search and reaching your target market. Great content is characterized by its laser focus on specific groups and their interests. It must be original, interesting, informative and easy for your potential restaurant customers to digest. Being well written and free of misspellings and grammatical errors goes without saying.

The time and/or money spent creating or acquiring great content is well worth the investment but savvy marketers are finding new paths to great content by encouraging user generated content on their sites. Content generated by your website visitors or social media followers can come in the form of comments, tweets, images, video clips, reviews, etc. Either way, good quality content is imperative to make a solid mark on the digital landscape.

 

Restaurant Marketing Ideas 3

Get Social

Restaurants that fully engage a social media strategy can connect with their customers in a very direct and personal way. Having a strategy for social media doesn’t mean employing every form. It involves choosing which platforms will be most effective for your brand and utilizing social media as part of a larger marketing strategy for your restaurant.

Each platform offers something unique and has certain attributes that fit with particular brands. Facebook is well suited for restaurants because of its wide appeal and range of features such as photo and video sharing, event creation, reviews, groups, chat and presence technology which allows members to see which contacts are online and, most recently, where they are located.

Creating a page gives you the ability to promote your restaurant through both organic means and affordable paid advertising. Creating events allows you to publicize, invite guests and track those planning to attend.

Live-streaming video through Facebook and other applications such as Periscope and Meerkat is a great way to tap into your audience in a spontaneous and meaningful way. You can use it to share live events in your restaurant or action in the kitchen such as cooking demos for example.

Followers can interact with your brand in a variety of ways and the ability to connect social media to your other marketing efforts exponentially expands your reach.

 

Restaurant Marketing Ideas 4

Get Personal

The days of the anonymous customer are over. Our connected society is digitally engaged in each other and the brands they are interested in. How you interact with your customers must transcend the transaction and enter into the relationship status if you want to create brand ambassadors. Getting to know your customers and what resonates with them is the key to developing an effective marketing strategy for your restaurant.

How do restaurateurs gain an understanding of what motivates their community of customers and personalize marketing to them? By mining information from their POS systems, social media interactions and other data which is now easy to access and understand.

Tools such as Google Trends allow you to access data at a local level in order to understand what’s on the minds of your target market. Google Trends is a dynamic and easy to use platform that will only cost you, as a restaurant operator, a little of your time. From this data you can gain valuable insights to help you chart the course of your marketing months ahead and keep your concept relevant, fresh and on the cutting edge.

In the future personalized, relationship oriented, data-driven marketing will become increasingly important so start thinking about how you will connect with your customers in this way.

 

Restaurant Marketing Ideas 5

Get Going

The marketing world around us is evolving rapidly and while it may seem too complicated to engage and understand the long term success of your restaurant depends on you not just keeping up but getting ahead of it. That being said, you don’t have to recreate the wheel in order get onboard. Chances are by better utilizing the tools you already have and adding in some new and exciting applications you can create a compelling and effective marketing plan. Take some time to add some new ideas and applications to your marketing toolbox and watch your business grow in 2016 .

 

For More Restaurant Marketing Advice Contact TRG Restaurant Consulting.

Food Waste: Problem to profit through menu design

Menu Design

There are plenty of studies that will tell you that anywhere between 30 and 40 percent of the overall food supply in the U.S. ends up in landfills. According to a 2014 study, restaurant sector respondents reported approximately 84 percent of food waste was literally thrown away.

The impact on profit

The report estimates that almost 16 percent of all food waste is generated by the restaurant industry. On average, survey respondents generated 33 pounds of food waste per thousand dollars of company revenue. When you put that into dollars and cents, it adds up to a great deal of lost profit.

The restaurant industry is highly competitive and remaining profitable is the key to existence in this overcrowded marketplace. Food waste can be one of the largest hits to your bottom-line so menu design is an important consideration in determining how much food waste your business will generate.

Investigating the sources of waste

If your business is losing a considerable amount of revenue due to food waste, a restaurant consultant can offer insight into your main problem areas and help you close the gap on profit and loss. They can assist you in improving efficiency and reducing waste in areas such as purchasing, product handling, preparation and storage. Additionally, your production and services areas should be factored in as well.

Restaurant consultants recommend breaking up food waste into two categories, you will be able to see the full picture of where your food waste lies. First, consider the food you waste before it is served to the customer and secondly, consider the food that is left after consumption.

Before consumption waste

If you are wasting food before it gets to the customer, there are several matters you need to investigate. The first one is, are you purchasing too much? You are not saving money buying in bulk if you throw away products that have expired or gone bad. Begin by monitoring the items you are throwing away. Review your invoices and orders and define what you are buying too much of and analyze the vendors you are using.

Another possibility could be the way you are storing your food. Monitor your storage areas by going through your inventory and figuring out the best way for all food to stay fresh and unspoiled. Moreover, examine your food preparation methods and set up. If your prep station is not set up effectively you may be throwing food out due to prep errors.

After consumption waste

Auditing your post-consumption waste can tell you a great deal as well. For example, are people eating the whole portion? If not, reducing the plating size is an obvious choice. Also, things to take into consideration is food presentation including the wasted cardboard, styrofoam and plastic that is being used. This waste also needs to be managed to improve your profitability.

Menu design

After you have assessed your waste, you should reassess your menu design. A restaurant consultant can guide you through the process based on your waste assessment. If you need to either recreate your menu or business model from scratch or make tweaks to it, having a professional direct the process can end up increasing your profitability.

Whether you are a fast casual or full-service restaurant, changing up your menu is the key opportunity to minimize food waste. Deciding what you are serving, storing, preparing and packaging will impact your bottom line and your food waste carbon footprint.

The key to ending food waste is to reduce, reuse and recycle! Learn more about how menu design can help your restaurant reduce food waste on our TRG consulting service pages.

Millennials: What Restaurants Need to Know

Millennial Marketing for Restaurants

Millennial Marketing for Restaurants

Marketing to Millennials is a huge undertaking and requires consideration. As a generation, Millennials are more likely to be computer savvy, to have disposable income and to be more decisive when it comes to food than their parents’ generations. Currently, Millennials are the largest consumer generation group in the United States, comprising age groups ranging from eighteen to thirty-four. They are spending money, although they are doing it more carefully and basing their decisions on several factors. Instead of using the desire to eat or hunger as a driving factor, Millennials are more likely to consider a restaurant’s brand value as well as their impact on society and the environment.

Why restaurants should give in order to receive

Restaurant Consultants National Restaurant Association

Giving selflessly to charity has long been considered the hallmark of a beneficent character. And many restaurateurs, quite admirably, do it because it is the right thing to do without being aware of the associated financial rewards. The tax code provides restaurateurs some degree of tax relief that is available to businesses in general that give back to their communities, but few of them are aware of the most recent legislation that aims specifically at rewarding restaurateur for their charitable giving, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by restaurant CPAs, the contemporary restaurant consultant, and other restaurant advisors.

The Most Significant Restaurant Menu Design Trends for 2015

Regardless of the vast differences among the various industries in the U.S., be it restaurant design, technology innovation, new car models, or the latest fashion trends, the one thing that appears to be invariably constant year after year is change itself, especially when it comes to consumer choice and preference. But when it comes to restaurant industry trends, consumers are progressively uniting restaurants and dining to their personal beliefs and inclinations about where or how they choose to dine. This has led to the most reasonable corollary action currently facing restaurant management and executive chefs when it comes to restaurant menu design and restaurant consulting.

Cracking the Millennial Code for Restaurants

Cracking the Millennial Code for Restaurants

In any case even the savviest of authorities strives to identify what the deciding factors are that influence Millennials and where they choose to spend their dollars when they go out.

Millennials are an essential demographic; standing 90+ million strong, its the largest demographic accessible, by far.

The study of “Millennials” is focused around how purchasers ages 18-30 buy, perceive and choose (much the same as those in diverse demographics). In any case the study shows very different patterns about Millennial expending behavior. Cracking the Millennial buyer code is no easy task, but restaurant executives are willing to invest in the benefits.

Panera, Chipotle and Starbucks Investment in Customer Demand

With new technology and capabilities being released on a daily basis, the consumer’s demand for the next new and exciting product or service is higher than ever. There is no exception when it comes to restaurants either. The top contenders in the restaurant industry have to stay on their toes and be ready to implement changes into their menus, services, etc. at a moment’s notice. Here are some innovative approaches and services from industry leaders that are changing the restaurant game:

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