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Tips to start a cafe or restaurant business

Are you someone that loves business, and unashamedly loves food? If so, running a restaurant could be the perfect challenge for you.

With equal portions of dealing with the food aspects, being front of house and dealing with the customers, and in dealing with the business side of things, you’ll never go hungry for something to do.

But don't forget, if you do decide to go down your own restaurant road, you may find that there is just too much on your plate. This is why a crack team of field-related experts and professionals should be sought and hired.

Firstly, you should seek to hire an accountant who will assist you in all the financial matters, including the drawing up of your professional business plan and any tax issues. As well as this, an accountant will give you a peace of mind when it comes to a number of acronyms that have so far just given you a headache whenever you’ve look at or thought about them, like VAT and PAYE procedures. They would take these tasks as their own as well as keeping on top of all your regulatory and compliance requirements. Having an accountant will allow you more time to focus on other areas of business that you maybe prefer, like the food aspect.

When starting any business, you need to know your numbers. You need to know every outgoing, every incoming and everything in between — even the ‘blind spots’.

Also read: Where to find expert financial help for your business

In a restaurant specifically, you need to think about food cost and inventory management because if you order too much of something for the amount of it you will sell, you will need to throw away the excess that goes off which will only result in pushing your outgoings up without the return of incomings. Or, of course, if you can afford to you can let your head chef and his team deal with all food related problems.

Doing so would allow you to focus on being front of house, if this is an itch you particularly want to scratch. You can make good of all that experience you yourself gained when you were a waiter or silver-server when you were younger — if you did it, that is. Also, it would free up more time for you to deal with the marketing of the products and produce.

When it comes to the marketing of your product, you should seek to find practical and novel ways of making sure both prospective customers and current customers know everything that you have to offer. Printing premium promotional material is a great way to show all you have on offer, such as the menu, specials of the day and bar beverage offers, and can be placed anywhere — from the tables in the restaurant, to the bar, to the waiting area — without getting irreparably dirty and ultimately having to be thrown away. You could also spend your time looking for a suitable singing act to come in and wow your in-house customers.

So, there you have it. A few hints and tips if you want to start a restaurant business, and not make a meal of it.

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