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Opening Your Restaurant? Here Are The Key Points To Consider!

Opening Your Restaurant? Here Are The Key Points To Consider!

Opening a new restaurant has been and will always been quite a daunting yet rewarding experience. It is both labor and capital intensive decision that requires highest amount of right decision making skills and precision. Being the leading wholesale restaurant distributor Ontario,  A1 Cash and Carry has been servicing thousands of restaurant owners daily by providing just the right kind of items including commercial kitchen supplies and wholesale groceries. Here are a few key pointers that need to be ticked off while making the big decision. 

  1. Idea! – Concept, Menu, Brand

The first step in opening your restaurant is developing your Idea! The idea need to be a deep understanding of what your future customers will experience in your space, how they will interact with your business, what they will feel and taste in your food, how they will discover and relate to your brand, and most importantly what your brand and restaurant as a whole will mean to your customer. After this writing a brief menu that is in line with your concept will help you further elaborate on your concept.

Here are some questions that you should be able to answer?

  • What is your Concept?
  • Does your concept require a physical space for customers to enjoy, or is it a virtual concept?
  • How will your customers order from your restaurant?
  • What is your unique selling point?
  • What emotions should your customers feel when buying your food?
  1. Budget, Funding & Pricing

After developing your idea, we need to build a plan around it to make it into reality. One of the main attributes of this process is Money. You need to have a reasonable understanding of your capital expenses, operating expenses, and pricing strategy.

  • Capital Expenses – Capital Expenses are the expenses you will face while building your restaurant, this may include graphic designers to build your brand and menu, an architect to design your restaurant, a contractor to build your restaurant, the cost of your fixtures and restaurant equipment, and any other build improvements you put into the building. It is good to know with a degree of certainty all line items that will be over $10,000 – after totalling all these lines, you should leave an extra budget of 10-20% for unexpected expenses.
  • Operating Expenses – Operating expenses are the expenses you will face while running your restaurant, this may include: Rent, Utilities, Labour Costs, Inventory wastage, marketing, loan payments, and food and liquor costs.
  • Pricing Strategy – In our current environment, operating costs are very high, and because of this it is very important to ensure that you have a robust and competitive pricing strategy. Your basic pricing strategy should be:

Food Cost (30-40%) + Operating Expense (40-50%) + Net Profit (10-30%)

Pricing strategy will be directly correlated to the type of business you are operating, your competitive landscape, and your expected business volume, if any of these 3 factors change from the time you conceptualize your idea to when you build your restaurant, you should reconsider your pricing strategy.

  • Safety Net – It is important for you to build a safety net into your budget, Ideally you should be able to run your business for 3-6 months without breaking even. This gives you enough time to establish a core clientele and ensures long term success.
  1. Legalities – Registration, Accounting

After you’ve created your budget, you need to register your business in the province where you will be operating if you are expecting revenues to be over $30,000 annually. By Registering you will receive an HST number, which means you are a business owner. It is a good idea to find a small business lawyer and accountant at this point to ensure you establish yourself in a legal and safe way. It is also a good idea to reach out to someone in the industry whom you admire, ask them to be your mentor, or build a relationship where you are comfortable to ask them questions you may have along the way.

  1. Location – Design (BOH, FOH), Permits, Build

Choosing a location can be a difficult and frustrating experience. You should know how large of a location you want, which area you want it in, and how much you can afford to pay for the location. After these three things are established you can consider more exact locations, ease for customers to access your location, natural light of the location and other design elements. It is a good idea to hire an established commercial realtor in this process to ensure you have someone who is working for you to negotiate the best lease possible.

After your location has been finalized you can start working with an architect or designer to design the front and back of house, often Restaurant Equipment Suppliers like A1 Cash and Carry will work with you to design your commercial kitchen. Once your design is finalized you can apply for a city build permit, and once granted you can start your build to success!

  1. Find your Restaurant Supplier – Restaurant Equipment, Commercial Kitchen Supplies, Ongoing Food, Packaging & Janitorial Orders!

Once your build has started its time to start gearing up for operations, and a key point in this is your supply partners. A1 Cash and Carry has been supplying restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area, from Niagara Falls to Durham and as north as Barrie for over 20 years. A unique attribute of working with an established vendor like A1 Cash and Carry is the wide array of selection, competitive prices, and a variety of ways to shop (In Store or Online). When starting your build, A1 Cash and Carry can quote you on all the restaurant equipment you may need including refrigeration, cooking equipment, and food preparation equipment. Once your big ticket equipment is selected A1 Cash and Carry has thousands of commercial kitchen supplies that you will need such as pots, pans, spatulas, knives, mixing bowls, thermometers and more. Once your kitchen has the equipment and supplies it needs you now need some food to start cooking! A1 Cash and Carry offers the best quality proteins, produce, dairy products, dry ingredients and beverage items for your restaurant. A1 Cash and Carry also stocks thousands of food packaging products that help you ensure your entire menu can be available for take-out or a catering program including cost effective foam take-out containers, plastic takeout containers, paper take out containers, oven ready aluminum take out containers and microwavable plastic take out containers. A1 Cash and Carry is a powerhouse for your janitorial needs too supplying hand soaps, dishwashing detergents, floor cleaners, surface disinfectants, restaurant equipment cleaners, paper products, mops, brooms and various other cleaning supplies online and from our locations in Mississauga, Etobicoke, North York and London. We encourage anyone looking for a restaurant supplier to explore our website, and to visit any of our locations to get a better understanding of why thousands of local restaurants choose to work with A1 Cash and Carry.

  1. Build your Team – BOH, FOH, Leadership

Running a successful restaurant requires one to wear many hats, you must negotiate with your team, customers and suppliers, you must be knowledgeable on many ingredients, allergens and menu items, you need to know how to sell to customers, as well as how to ensure high levels of customer service, you need to maintain efficient and effective operating procedures, and many of these tasks work well only when you have a strong team behind you.

BOH stands for Back of house, meaning your kitchen – choosing a chef, sous chef, line cooks, prep cooks, or dishwashers to ensure that your business moves smoothly. A happy and experienced chef will be one who takes on more responsibilities than you could ever imagine. With them as a part of your business you can entrust them with your food quality, process controls, food safety, consistency, team leadership and more.

FOH stands for Front of house – this includes your serving team, bussers, greeters, and counter staff, its important to get personable people who can properly represent your business to your customers, they are the face of your restaurant!

  1. Market to Success!

Often a forgotten aspect to many small businesses is pre-opening and post-opening marketing. Unfortunately simply having a brand, a social media page, or website is not enough to be discovered. You have to ensure that you promote those items in a way that your relevant customer market is exposed to them. A few ideas to help market your restaurant are:

  • Ensure you’re on all the delivery apps, they help build your local market exposure
  • Try building a google AdWords campaign for relevant keywords about your restaurant
  • Message some local social influencers and ask them about paid partnerships for posts or stories
  • Reach out to some local businesses to cross promote your businesses
  • Create simple posts that your friends and family can easily share

These steps are a Restaurant opening guide, and our guidance has no limit, if you’d like to discuss your idea, equipment needs, commercial kitchen supply needs or how A1 Cash and Carry can help you in your goal to run a successful restaurant.

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