Five common mistakes when opening a restaurant

Many dream of opening their own restaurant, but it can be a bigger project than you first realise. Here are five of the most common mistakes made my new restaurateurs.
vanliga misstag när man ska öppna restaurang
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1. Not going digital from day one

No industry has been unaffected by changes brought on by increased digitalisation. The restaurant industry has been a bit slow off the starting blocks, but things are quickly changing. Now there is no reason to do things the old school ways, which are less efficient and, by extension, literally costing you money.

So what exactly does this mean? A restaurant management system can manage everything from your menu and orders to payments, reservations, staffing, and inventory. And with a cloud-based system, you can literally manage your restaurant from anywhere on your phone. Even initial set-up is becoming easier and easier, so there is no reason not to do it from day one.

Read more about three reasons you should go digital with your restaurant.

2. Choosing the wrong POSm

A POS (point of sale) requires an initial investment, but is a necessary one that ultimately should pay off in the long run. There are several different solutions available to you, but the most important thing is to make sure that the one you choose is tailored to meet the specific needs of your business.

And when we talk about a POS, today’s solutions are much more than just a cash register. They can be entire online platforms that provide not just the familiar form of cash register system, but self-service kiosks/express cash registers, smart card terminals and mobile POS systems that a server can carry with them. Ideally, they should even be part of a wider restaurant management system, tying in internet and app-based ordering, reservation systems, even staffing and inventory. A good provider should be able to put together a custom tailored system that addresses the exact needs of your restaurant.

It’s also vitally important that you choose a provider who has 24/7 support, so you’re not caught out if you have a problem at 11 pm on a Saturday night.

3. Offer too many choices on your menu

A common problem for new restaurateurs is to offer far too many dishes. The philosophy of trying to have something for everyone rarely leads to a better dining experience.

In addition, it is difficult, not to mention more expensive, with kitchens that have to prepare a lot of different dishes.

This is an area where less is definitely more. Choose specific dishes that you know are good and that you and your kitchen staff know inside out and backwards. Just by doing that, you’ll dramatically increase the chances that every meal you send out of the kitchen will be a hit.

4. Having no long-term business plan

It’s common practice to create a business plan when starting a new restaurant. Ideally it needs to describe the goals of your business from both a short-term and long-term perspective. The problem is that too many business owners focus too much on the short-term goals that come with opening a restaurant and neglect the long-term perspective. Yes, if you don’t succeed with your short-term goals, you won’t survive to get to the long-term goals. But without the long-term goals, you risk taking the success of the opening period and floundering in the coming months and years.

Make sure your business plan includes those long-term goals and don’t lose sight of them in your day-to-day operations.

Read our tips on how to create a business plan for your restaurant.

5. Hiring the wrong staff

Finding good staff for your restaurant is among the most difficult yet important tasks in the process of opening a restaurant. You need to find people you can trust, who share your vision and want to be with you for the long haul—not someone who will quit after a few weeks.

To increase your chances of attracting the right people who want to work and stay with you, you need to create an attractive workplace that respects and cares for its staff. There are no shortcuts.

Read more about how to attract restaurant staff

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