Thinking of opening a Restaurant? Read This.

 When I was younger I was torn between two career pathways. I loved to write and I loved to cook (and eat) food. Before I discovered the joys of being a food blogger (blogging didn't exist back then!) I wanted to either be a journalist or a restaurateur.

Table with food in restaurant: Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash

I left it in the hands of fate - I only applied to journalism school and decided if I didn't get in I would look at  maybe locating premises for my own cafe. I even had my eye on a venue but I won one of the few places on the journalism course run by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) moved to Cardiff to study and the rest is history.

I spend a lot of time in cafes and restaurants for work and pleasure and I often wonder what my own place might look like. I think it's important for food venues to reflect their offerings, their customers and if possible, their owners.

Having said that potential owners should beware of letting the destination overwhelm the food - there's one OTT hotel/restaurant in my area which lots of people have been to and commented about the vibe but not one of them could recall what they ate in many detail.

I want to come out of a restaurant and rave about every mouthful. I want the environment to be conducive to enjoying my meal 0- not too warm, not too cold with a good ambience - not too quiet, not to loud.

We went for dinner recently in a popular pub. In fact it was so popular the noise level was outrageous and our table of 6 ended up shouting at each other. Those at the ends of the rectangular table couldn't hear most of even a shouted conversation.

Acoustics play a big role in making a successful eatery. A new restaurant opened in our town aiming to give a kind of private dining experience to everyone by splitting the dining area into little rooms with just two three tables in. I went once for a meal with three friends and we felt that it was so quiet we felt awkward and exposed. The restaurant didn't last long.

It seems wise to get an expert in restaurant or cafe design to help create your ideal venue and contractors for restaurant construction to help turn your dreams into solid reality.

Visit other premises to help make a list of likes and dislikes then maybe think about creating a mood-board so you have a visual aid when exploring to your designers exactly what your vision is.

But be prepared to listen to experts who have created, opened and run successful food venues especially if you have what you believe is a unique theme. There might be a valid reason why that idea seems unique- it might have been used and failed previously.

Don't skimp on staff. Try and find people who understand your vision and know their food and are passionate about your ingredients. At the very least make sure you have a good chef and servers with the language ability and confidence to be able to answer questions about the menu and handle the inevitable awkward customer without resorting to abuse or fisticuffs! Be prepared to pay above minimum wage for good hospitality staff.

waiter offering plate of food towards camera:Photo by Lefteris kallergis on Unsplash

Finally, if you don't come from a hospitality background consider working or volunteering at a venue similar to the one you hope to open. You'll learn a lot about the ins and outs, ups and downs and will know for sure whether this is what you want to do.