The only thing more exciting than owning a successful restaurant is deciding to undergo a restaurant expansion.
With a bustling dining room, rock-star staff and a menu to die for, it must be the right time Right? Well….. maybe.
4 Essential Tips for Restaurant Expansion
Expanding your restaurant is a lot riskier than just replicating past successes. With such large financial and emotional investments at stake, it is definitely in your best interest to go about it in the most thorough, research-based way possible.
The following 4 tips will help guide you through some of the most essential elements of a successful restaurant expansion project:
DEVELOP A RESEARCH-ORIENTED GAME PLAN:
Your new restaurant location(s) will come with a whole new set of demographics, site requirements, ordinances and marketing plans.
When planning your expansion strategy, consider the following questions:
– Why do I want to open another location?
– Do I have the right General Contractor partner to open multiple locations, hassle free?
– What elements have made my restaurant so successful?
– What are the demographics of my current clientele?
– How much are these demographics influenced by geographics?
– What other demographics can I cater to, and where are they located?
– How can I improve my menu for the new location?
– How can I make the layout more efficient?
– What will the foot traffic look like?
– Will there be adequate parking?
– Who will manage my new location?
As the greatest risks include closed locations or financial distress, pursuing a poorly planned, supported or operated location is better off avoided.
Develop a clear and compelling vision for your new location, put in the research and create educated, well-informed decisions from there.
Once you have confirmed that you are ready and well-prepared for your restaurant expansion project, it’s time to secure funding.
Understand how much your mortgage/rent will cost based on location (making note that downtown locations will cost more than suburban areas) and how much you will need to invest in design, construction and equipment.
Be sure to speak with a trusted financial advisor to determine if capital, loans or outside investors will be in your best interest.
INVEST IN A STRONG RESTAURANT EXPANSION TEAM
A business is as strong as the team behind it.
As you aspire to own more than one location, chances are you’ll have to divide your time between them.
However, who will be managing your livelihood when you are not around?
Go into your expansion with a team of the right operational, and people skills, as these are the passionate minds that will drive your endeavours towards success.
Pay attention to the small details and surround yourself with smart, capable people who align with your overall vision.
As great staff is probably one of the major reasons your first location was successful, take a close look at the attitudes and characteristics that have succeeded in the past, and ingrain these values into your new location as well.
CREATE A RESTAURANT MARKETING PLAN
Ideally, each restaurant location should have a tailored marketing plan.
While the brand and menu may be generally consistent, you will want to ensure that your targeted advertising takes into consideration the demographics, geographics and psychographics of each location’s target market.
With that, here is a checklist of advertising approaches that have proven profitable:
– Social Media Advertising
– Website Updates
– Email Marketing
– Third Party Food Delivery Services
– Loyalty Rewards Plans
– Soft Opening Event
– Media Outreach
– Promotional Coupons
– Free Samples
– Contests & Giveaways
– Influencer Events
With a combination of research, planning, great people and a powerful marketing – your new restaurant expansion is bound to be a success.
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