Turning Tables- Restaurant Capacity is KingPosted by Celeste
So you’re starting a restaurant; congratulations! How’s your math? Even before you decide what is going to be on the menu, you have some figures that will need your attention. If you think that your business is creative and you don’t need to focus on the numbers side, you are in for a bit of a shock.
Location, location, location! This is the cry of the Realtor but it should also be the cry of the food industry entrepreneur. Your restaurant capacity is wrapped up in the choice of the location of your restaurant.
If you have a larger space, you will be able to seat more people. If you can seat more people, you can sell more food. This means that you will have larger potential for revenue.
If your lease is very costly, you may have to pass some of that cost on to your customers. If your food is not out of the ordinary, you may not be able to command such prices. It is sometimes possible to negotiate some number of months’ rent free or financial help from the building owner for leasehold improvements- explore these options.
Walk by Traffic
A giant empty restaurant makes no money. If there is a location that you are looking at that is in some kind of shopping or commercial complex, there may well be data on foot traffic available. If your restaurant is not in a location that people will easily be able to stumble upon on their own, you will have to do a lot more marketing. If your offering is not unique, it may be difficult to convince people to come to an out of the way location.
There are all kinds of food service businesses out there that deal with the capacity issue in creative ways. Many small coffee shops specialize in takeout beverages and lunch items. It is not expected that the bulk of their patrons will linger over their coffee and croissant, and their service is set up in such a way as to maximize the number of cashier transactions per hour in the peak times.
‘But my food IS unique, it IS special, I must give my customers a special and lingering experience’ Okay, then you need to do the math on that (the start of your business plan) and figure out how to charge accordingly.
Have you got a business idea that you are burning to try out? How have you figured capacity into your business plan?