12 Sep Opening a Family Restaurant
So you have the passion for catering home cooked meals, sharing your scrumptious family recipes and a desire to make people happy through good food and atmosphere.
The dream is there, and now you need the know-how on opening a popular family restaurant. There are many factors to consider to start your venture.
First, let’s look at what makes a family style restaurant.
Typical trademarks of family-style dining include:
- Wholesome food (treasured family recipes)
- Moderately priced menu
- Table service
- Shared meal concepts
- Cosy atmosphere
- Catered to children (i.e.kids menus, kids corners, high chairs, change tables)
My personal romantic perception of traditional family-style dining is a place where the food is served by the owner or family members. Where the food comes with a story… about the product itself or their family food culture… I anticipate the food to be “melt in your mouth”, wholesome home-style, seasonal meals.
A family restaurant to me should evoke the warm feeling of the fresh home cooked meals from grandma’s cookbook in a cosy atmosphere.
So, back to business. there are many pros and cons to having a family business, and being aware of both is important to be successful.
The business side…
Some key questions to ask yourself and seek advice on:
Niche – is there a gap in the market? Will your family style restaurant offer something unique?
Legalities – ensure you meet local small business requirements and registrations. Contact your community for guidance.
Finance – consult a financial advisor to discuss the business plan and start-up costs.
Location – consider the walk-in opportunities and car traffic in the area. How much space will you need (how much seating?)
Management – delegate tasks that match the skills and qualifications (if the family doesn’t have them, consider outsourcing certain responsibilities such as accounting, HR, marketing).
The people side …
When working with family members it is important to practice a professional working relationship (and less of a personal one). You can do this by trying separating personal feelings as much as possible – positive or negative to create a more formal working relationship.
Build trust with family members – be clear and meet expectations promised.
Competency – ensure those who are put in charge, are confident and capable of their role. For example, the charismatic well-presented family member is perfect to meet and greet the customers.
Skills – Design tasks and responsibilities that match the skill set and capabilities.
Equality – demonstrate fairness for all employees ( not just family members). Favouritism can only create resentment amongst staff.