How To Start A Restaurant (Part 6)

Training and Orientation

In an established restaurant, a new employee can be quickly trained and oriented by pairing him or her up with an experienced employee who can show the new employee the restaurantís procedures. In a start-up situation, on the other hand, it is necessary to initially train all employees before the restaurant opens. Some of the difficulty in the initial training phase can be overcome in hiring employees with previous restaurant experience. Employees with prior experience understand their basic job, (i.e., server, cook, etc.) and need only be taught the special procedures or equipment that makes your restaurant unique.

As I noted earlier, many restaurants conduct a pre-opening testing phase in which the servers and kitchen staff practice processing meals, as well as working with each other. This is a very efficient way to work any kinks out of the restaurantís system. Although, if it goes too long, it can prove to be very expensive, since the employees are earning wages while no revenues are being generated. A way to control the expense of pre-opening testing to limit it to a few days or evenings before opening. Another method is to designate a core group of employees who will be on the payroll for pre-opening training. These core employees would be responsible for training the other employees once the restaurant opens.

As a practical matter, most patrons allow a new establishment a few weeks to refine their procedures. Therefore, although it would be nice to have the staff performing flawlessly on opening day, it probably will not happen. You should attempt to strike a balance that provides as much training as financially possible.

Opening Week Schedule

One of the ingredients to the success of a new restaurant is adequate scheduling of staff. However, it is not always possible to predict opening demand with certainty. Therefore, many operators elect to schedule their opening week staff levels on the heavy side to ensure that there will be enough people to adequately serve customers. This is probably necessary if the restaurant only trained a core group of employees in the pre-opening testing phase. In such a case, the other employees can be training during the opening week. One major pitfall to scheduling so many employees is that it can hamper your operation. You must look for balance.

Financial Considerations

The expense of starting a restaurant, coupled with the high failure rate associated with new restaurants, dictates a very careful evaluation of the financial aspects of any restaurant start-up or acquisition. Banks and other lenders are traditionally very wary of lending money to beginning restaurateurs. Consequently, the ownerís capital, as well as that of his or her family or friends is frequently at risk. If the restaurant is not properly capitalized from the beginning it may fail because it is often not possible to obtain loans to tide it over until the operation gets established.

My recommendation to anyone considering starting a restaurant is to complete the following:

a. Carefully evaluate the financial feasibility of your restaurant

b. Project your total capital needs

c. Project your operating results

d. Assess operating results

e. Determine worst case scenario.

d. Get the proper assistance from the experts

Starting a new restaurant venture is an enormous undertaking. Please feel free to contact us at 866-903-5875 if you have any questions, or if we can provide additional assistance.