A Quick Checklist for Your First Restaurant Opening


The COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out, and your food business is getting an upgrade. What used to be a successful home kitchen operation is on its way to becoming a restaurant. Your opening is right around the corner. You’re excited and anxious at the same time. Will it be an impeccable opening of your very own restaurant, or will it be a flop because you underestimated the number of staff you were going to need on its first day?

This restaurant opening will be the customer’s first impression of what you have to offer. New restaurants must be eager to please. Otherwise, they won’t survive the competitive world of foodservice.

To make sure it’ll all go according to plan, let’s go through a quick checklist of what you need to prepare before finally opening your restaurant.

  1. Permits

You will need all of your permits to be in order before you set your opening date. Having them on hand in case someone comes to inspect you will help make things go smoothly. Check with your local government regarding health and business permits. That way, you won’t have to worry about your business shutting down because of forgotten but important paperwork.

  1. Equipment and Staff

Are you really sure that all the equipment in your restaurant will be sufficient and reliable for your opening? Have you conducted a time and motion analysis of what working in that brand-new kitchen will be like?

Time and motion analysis was a method practiced by McDonald’s at the very beginning of their restaurant. The founding McDonald brothers developed a speedy way of preparing their food by ensuring that their equipment and staff were at the best location in the kitchen. They did multiple simulations trying to perfect the orientation of their equipment and staff in an imaginary kitchen. And when there was a growing demand, they requested more machines from the future owner of McDonald’s — Ray Kroc.

Though it will be difficult to adapt a fast-food chain’s level of efficiency with a new restaurant, it’s worth a shot. Reducing the waiting time of your customers on their first visit will be a major plus in your opening reviews. Check that your equipment and machines are working fine and that they can handle all the possible orders that you’re expecting during the opening. Try out the time and motion analysis method of the McDonald brothers — did you hire enough waiters, cooks, or cleaners?

  1. Cleanliness

Every new restaurant is expected to be neat and tidy. The untouched chairs, tables, floors, and counters create an allure to daring customers who want to be the first ones to try something new. Opening a restaurant with manila paper or cardboard boxes lying in the corner of your dining area can create an ambiance of poor management. It would be best to keep in mind where you’d like to dump all the packaging for your ingredients before opening. That way, you can better inform your employees of their responsibility in keeping your restaurant clean.

Even worse, it would be heartbreaking to watch your customers lose their appetite after spotting a cockroach, a fly, or even a rat in your restaurant. A health inspector wouldn’t even hesitate to shut you down. It might be helpful to keep the pests and insects under control before you set an opening date. Some insect control services even provide a free inspection so that they can let you know if your establishment is good to go or if it needs extra cleaning.

  1. Suppliers

Yes, you have experience preparing the food in your home kitchen. You also probably have a solid group of suppliers that’s been helping you get through all of your orders at the early stages of your business. But are you sure that they will deliver on time? Avoid unexpected delays in your food preparation by giving your supplier a proper estimate of their delivery time.

Likewise, make sure that you won’t fall short of cutlery on opening day. Falling short on supplies might indicate to customers that you are unprepared to cater to them, and it could lead it an unfavorable dining experience.

  1. Buzz

Although you have an existing customer base from your home kitchen business, it won’t hurt to create excitement around your opening. In general, people look forward to new dining experiences. Inviting an influential blogger, handing out flyers, or even creating a Facebook event for your opening will most probably increase your customers for at least the first few weeks of your business.

Business ventures are never easy. They take many risks, but once you succeed as a restaurateur, you can look back on this list and know you did everything you could to make it all work.

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