It might be that you’ve always dreamt about owning your own restaurant business and you‘ve been working with another restaurateur for many years. Now feel ready to take the plunge and go out on your own.  Before you take that big leap make sure you’ve thought of everything because you need to take plenty into account. As well as finding the right venue, designing and decorating it and devising a sublime menu you need money and equipment. 

At Alliance Online we help restaurants and hotel businesses to equip themselves with everything needed to make a new restaurant a success so this article might help you with some of the things you need to do to get your restaurant off the ground.  After you’ve read it, ask yourself if you’re ready, if you are then it’s all systems go but if not, use the advice to set yourself some goals.  Once you’ve ticked off your goal list you will be well on your way to opening your first restaurant.

  • Know Your Point Of Difference

If you’ve been considering opening your food business for a while there’s a good chance you’ve already thought about your concept.  Knowing what makes you different from everyone else is important.  There could be five Italian restaurants within 2 miles of each other, do you want to compete with them or do you have something new to offer customers?  You should definitely have something which sets you apart from others.

  • Know Your Budget

This is paramount.  Knowing what you can afford is the difference between success and failure.  Over spending at the beginning could seriously impact your business in the first one or two years.  As much as you can, have some reserves because there will always be problems and not being able to fix them will be disastrous.  You should also budget for restaurant design, decorating, equipment, staff, marketing and promotion.  The Alliance Online website has all restaurant equipment available you need at varying price-points to suit your pocket.


  • Find Your Location

Research exactly where you want to be.  You need to know which location is suitable, tuck yourself away from a busy high street might not work to your advantage because you will miss passing trade and no one will know where you are.  However, that’s not to say it won’t work but you will need to invest heavily in marketing and promotion to get your business off the ground.  A busy high street could be expensive because it is very sought after so know your budget.  It’s wise to really know the area you are going to be positioned in, if you don’t already have plenty of knowledge, do your research.  Watch, listen and learn.  Visit the area regularly, go to other restaurants in the area, talk to business owners, identify the people in the area you want to target and research what they are willing to spend.

  • Design Your Restaurant

This is where livery is important because it stretches far beyond the design of your restaurant.  It will be used online, through your website and social media and offline through leafleting, menus, posters and business cards.  It will make you instantly recognisable on the high street and through any other mode of communication.  Choose carefully, certain colours evoke different moods so find a design consultancy who specialise in restaurants and will advise you well (it’s worth talking to two or three different businesses before making final decisions).

  • Decorate Your Restaurant

This might be a just lick of paint and some light decorating but it could also be full renovation.  Choose your builders and decorators wisely and go with a reputable firm because you don’t want to be left high and dry!  Set a realistic goal so you know when you will open and make sure everyone involved works toward that goal getting everything ready behind the scenes for the big day.

  • Buy Your Equipment

Work out what you need for your restaurant to run efficiently, check your footprint in the kitchen and in your main restaurant area and buy the right equipment.  You should have a good idea as to number of covers per shift.  When you have run the numbers, you will be better informed to work out how many plates, how much cutlery and glassware etc. you will need per shift.  Buy your appliances according to these numbers and choose machines which are efficient, for example, a dishwasher or ware-washer which will cope with your plate numbers and have different cycles for speed.  You will need ovens with plenty of gas top burners, commercial microwaves, perhaps specialist equipment such as pizza ovens, coffee machines etc.  Everything you need is listed on the Alliance website along with useful buying guides to help you understand what equipment will work best for your restaurant business.


  • Get Online

Start creating a buzz online by setting up a website and your social media presence.  Start offering discounts and special offers in exchange for email addresses and begin building your database so you can use it to get noticed.

  • Build Your Supply Base

Get in touch with potential suppliers and start negotiating on what you need in relation to food.  Apart from visiting day to day market suppliers, there will be plenty of food you can order direct from food supply businesses.  Establish a relationship with reputable suppliers and make it work – you will need their help and you can use their knowledge too.

  • Set Up A Soft Launch

Invite restaurant bloggers, local celebrities, family and friends to what is known as a “soft launch” and offer everything at 50% off.  This gives you a chance to try out your new menu and see how your restaurant operates when it is busy.  A soft launch is your practice run for the official launch and helps you to learn from your mistakes before the big day.

  • Set Up Your Official Launch

You could create a special launch party and invite all the local community, local press, friends, neighbours etc.  Placing adverts in the local newspapers and sending out flyers will help to get the word out.  Have special drinks on the menu to celebrate and why not give your tables a glass of something sparkly to celebrate?  It’s a good idea to discount your launch day which encourages custom. Capture your customers’ feedback at the end of the meal, asking where you could improve if necessary and give them an incentive to return with a loyalty card or a voucher for a 10% off their next meal.


These are just a few suggestions to help you realise your restaurant dream. For further information on what you need to make your restaurant a success, visit where we have everything from cutlery to dishwashers, crockery to coffee machines and so much more.