4 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Own Restaurant


The process of starting a restaurant can be extremely exciting, but it can also make your stomach churn. The amount of capital needed to start a restaurant means it will be a decision that alters your entire life.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of restaurants fail, but the reality is that a large percentage of failed restaurants end up failing because the owner didn’t avoid some simple mistakes. By avoiding these four costly mistakes when opening your first restaurant, you can significantly increase the odds of success.

Picking the Wrong Location

When opening a new restaurant, many business owners make the mistake of picking the location for all of the wrong reasons. Put simply, a lot of people only open a restaurant because they think they’ve found the perfect location.

It’s true that location is very important, but you shouldn’t pick the location first because you’ll get stuck having to force your business to conform to the requirements of the location. It’s also a bad idea to sign a lease for a location because it seems cheap.

It doesn’t matter how much traffic a location gets if the traffic is the type that you need for your business to be successful. Before you sign the lease, you need to make sure everything aligns with the goals of your restaurant.

You’re Not Market Centric

Before you open a restaurant, you need to know exactly who will be walking through the doors to eat your food. It’s wrong to assume that everyone will automatically love your food.

As with most things in life, it’s important to niche down and make sure you know your target audience. If your restaurant doesn’t target a specific group of people, then there is a good chance that it won’t work for anyone. An example might involve starting a restaurant that serves casual Mexican food.

You need to do research and make sure you know exactly who’ll be eating this food. When you don’t understand your target market, you’ll also have trouble customizing the look and feel of your new restaurant.

Not Getting Specific Enough

Another costly mistake that new restaurant owners make is not getting specific enough with what market they’ll be targeting. Many restaurant owners go too broad and think that it’s a good idea to offer countless menu choices.

They believe that offering more menu items will help them to appeal to a larger audience. The reality is that it’s better to offer a small number of menu items and make sure you prepare and serve those items very well. The goal is to give customers an experience that they’ll never forget.

When you have too many menu items, you make it nearly impossible to ensure every item will give customers a memorable experience.

Skip Planning

Many potential restaurant owners get very excited with their new business idea and make the mistake of skipping planning.

Without proper planning, even the best business ideas are almost guaranteed to fail. It’s important for business owners to perform the planning that is needed to succeed. A common failure point for many restaurants is being undercapitalized, which occurs as a result of no planning.

Another failure point is a lack of sales, which can be caused by not planning. These are four costly mistakes that must be avoided when starting a restaurant.