Opening a restaurant? Don’t overlook these 5 crucial elements


No one ever said owning and running a restaurant is easy, but few understand how difficult it can be. In working with hundreds of restaurant operators, we have learned at least one thing about the restaurant game: Preparation is key. Prepare, prepare, prepare. An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure. Prepare twice, cry once. Etcetera.

If you are looking at opening up your own restaurant, first of all, congratulations. Second, here are five not-so-obvious elements you should take heed of before you fire up the stoves and chauffeur in the hungry patrons.


1. Pick a theme or concept, and stick to it

Want to do American-style cuisine? Indian? Thai? A new trendy fusion you’ve dreamed up yourself? Fine, great – just make sure you match your restaurant’s theme to its cuisine. A Chinese restaurant with 60s era memorabilia hung by the bar tends to grate patrons, as would a Tex-Mex eatery draped in eastern tones. Not all design missteps are that extreme, however, and it is often the little details you need to consider. Should your menus be printed on paper, or should you use an iPad? Should your tables me timber or steel? What kind of coasters do you use? When it comes to a consistent theme, everything matters.


2. Pick a cuisine, and stick to it

Unless you want to run another nondescript ‘pub Mod-Oz’ eatery, you should define a clear menu according to a singular cuisine from the get-go. Say you do steak and schnitzel better than your competitors: don’t be afraid to specialise, and let prospective customers know you specialise. Play fast and loose with restaurant menu staples at your peril – today you are grilling scotch fillet to perfection; tomorrow you are serving sloppy lasagna from a metre-by-metre pan.


3. Talk to other businesses around your restaurant

Catering for different demographics within a single area is another topic entirely, but it pays to know the people in your service area. So talk to well-established businesses nearby. If they have been there longer than five years, chances are they know all there is to know about demographics, customer habits, rush periods and quiet times. You will be utterly surprised by how much your fellow business owners have to teach you, even if they don’t work in hospitality. Seek them out and listen.


4. Hire as many experienced people as you can reasonably afford

Be they wait staff, chefs or floor managers, it pays to have wily veterans onboard your operation. Aside from assisting you to run the business properly, they have experience in keeping you calm in moments of stress, and are able to step in when required to give you a reprieve from the non-stop ferocity of restaurant management. And for those times when you feel like managing tables, you’ll be thankful you have somebody able to take over for you while you focus on customer experience. Remember this mantra: Every captain needs a first mate; every sheriff needs a deputy.


5. Focus on the minor details, always.

At the Leather Menu Factory, adherence to the minor details is a central part of our credo. Focussing on the minor details is a full-time job in itself, but it’s a crucial one. When it comes to service, food, decor – even the tablecloths – you need to defy expectation.
All of our clients came to us because they lacked an element of style, or flair, or character, or memorability. They looked at their decor and thought, ‘this is not the best my restaurant can be’. They came to us and we pointed them to what was missing: premium grade leather goods.
It’s a well-documented fact that the scores of restaurants who have worked with us now put genuine leather menu covers in the hands of their patrons every day. That, quite simply, is a seamless blend of user experience and impression-setting you cannot achieve any other way. Reach out to us today and we will tell you all about it.


Let’s start the creative process today – you will see the beauty and versatility of leather straightaway, and you will never go back.


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