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Challenges Of Opening A New Restaurant

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By Joseph Anthony

September 8, 2013

Those who own their own companies, large or small, once had to go through the struggles of preparing to open. Regardless of what industry you are starting a company in, you have to be prepared to deal with challenges that come with the territory of devising a business plan, and seeing that plan through to opening day. In an industry where your competition is very high, such as the restaurant industry, you don’t want to miss a beat when preparing to open your doors to the public. Here are some challenges to expect when preparing to open your own restaurant to help you be as prepared as possible for your grand opening.

The Process In A Nutshell

The process of opening your own restaurant includes many things to cross off your checklist from attaining licenses to sell alcohol to creating relationships with distributors and hiring a staff. One of the first things you need to decide is if you are going to be the sole owner, or if you want to have a partner or two to help run it. There are pros and cons to whichever you choose. If you decide to go at it alone, you have total control over everything, however you risk not having another mind or two in the room to run big decisions past. With a partner or two however, you risk disagreements and losing time hashing out what direction you want to go.

The next step in the process is acquiring all of your licenses and creating a relationship with the distributors you will be working with. Licenses that you will need include a liquor license, a food handling and safety license, a building license, a music license for pre-recorded or live music and a franchise or trademark license depending on whether you are opening your own restaurant or if you are opening a franchised establishment. Along with the licenses, distributors you will have to work with are liquor distribution companies and food distribution companies. Having great relationships with these distributors is important and should not be overlooked. They are part of the process of you acquiring what you need to function as a business.


No matter where you are opening your restaurant, you want to select a staff that you can rely on. This is a lot harder than it sounds and can be a time consuming task, but its critical to find people that you can trust in giving customers a good experience to keep them coming back. A common mistake among first time owners is that they hire a staff quickly without taking adequate time to interview and evaluate multiple candidates for the job, particularly managers. Having great managers to manage your restaurant is important, so starting your search well before opening night is a good idea and it gives you plenty of time to select the best candidates to manage.


Getting the word out about your new restaurant getting ready to open is very important. There are many ways you can do this, and some are actually pretty cheap. For example, creating a social media buzz for your company is one of the cheapest ways to market your new business. People are spending a lot of time on social media these days so take advantage of these free profiles and start engaging with people to spread word about your restaurant.

Leveraging any connections you and your staff have to spread the word is a free marketing tool. When you open, take a couple of minutes to walk around and talk to some of your customers. Make sure their experience is great and they will likely tell a few of their friends. Remember that happy customers will tell a few friends to go and checkout your place; while unhappy customers will tell everyone they know not too. Other ways to get the word out are through local press releases and networking events. Networking events can be great because you can meet other professionals in the area and create opportunities to sponsor events they may be holding.

Making sure that you get things done right the first time is very important when opening any business, especially a restaurant. Take the time to ensure you have all your licenses and distributors so you are ready to go when its time to open. Interview a lot of candidates for positions, and then select the ones that you can trust with your company’s reputation. Last but not lease get your name out there by leveraging your staff and any connections you may have, as well as social media. 

 Joseph Anthony is a writer for Willie's Pub & Pool in Columbia, MO. Willie's is known for their awesome chicken wings and famous Willie's Wing Sauce.

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