Turning a long-held dream into a reality can be an exciting time. But while opening a restaurant can be incredibly rewarding, it is also a notoriously difficult and expensive process.
Although you may have been planning your dream restaurant for years—or even since you were a kid—there may still be some surprises you may not have considered, or other spontaneous changes that may need to be made to get your restaurant in working order. These changes may be necessary, but they can also be costly, and it’s important to understand how to best manage them if they do come up.
If you’re interested in starting a rewarding culinary career, read on to find out how you can prepare for a few financial surprises along the way.
1. Your Restaurant’s Design Can Bring Costs Up
It’s no secret that a restaurant’s design will take up a significant portion of the initial budget. Tables, chairs, lighting, artwork, and more all come at a pretty hefty price. For many new restaurant owners, it can be easy to anticipate some of these costs, but there might be smaller elements that are easy to overlook when first setting out. The costs of printing out menus, purchasing napkins, or getting other small items, for example, can easily add up.
As your restaurant goes into the construction phase, your carefully laid out designs might also need to be revisited. Some things may look and function differently in person than on paper. You may not realize, for instance, that your kitchen needs extra space to avoid becoming too cramped during the lunch rush, or that the organizational system you have for the kitchen tools works better on the other side of the room.
Making these kinds of sudden changes can easily balloon outside of your intended budget, so in order to save yourself the time, money, and headache, use the training from your culinary management program to envision how your layout’s design would operate on both slow and busy days, and whether or not you can make it more efficient before construction begins.
2. The Marketing Budget for Your Restaurant Can Quickly Get Out of Hand
One of the hardest steps that comes after opening your restaurant is gathering enough public attention to keep your tables full. On the surface, marketing your restaurant may seem straightforward, especially with the help of social media. However, there are plenty of other considerations to keep in mind as well. A sign for your restaurant’s exterior will be a necessity, as will a website—which are both significant and often overlooked expenses.
Even using social media takes dedication, time, and patience to build up a following. Time spent preparing tweets, taking pictures of menu items, and replying to customers does add up quickly. However, hiring a marketing agency may mean paying a little more money than you might have initially expected. For professionals working in culinary management, deciding between these two options can feel tricky, and can impact what you initially had in your budget.
3. Software-Related Expenses Can Become a Financial Headache for Those in Culinary Management
Credit cards are often the preferred form of payment, especially for customers who don’t like carrying cash. Whenever these cards are used, however, businesses must pay a transaction or processing fee in order to accept the payment from the cardholder. This loss can quickly accumulate, especially for a new business where every penny counts. Even with these fees, though, it’s often best to have a point of sale (POS) system in place to handle them, since going cash only could make customers think twice about choosing your restaurant.
However, that’s not the only tech-related headache many new restaurant owners have. Software to help you with accounting, or to allow guests to book online, could also be a necessity for your establishment. While all of these expenses will help your business run smoothly, they do add up at the beginning, and can affect your budget if you didn’t plan for them ahead of time.