Starting a food business from scratch is not as easy as one usually think it is, the level difficulty increases with the size and type of the food business that one intends to head into (like hawker, café, restaurants, food trucks, etc.). It is not just about what food you’re planning to sell or where you’re going to sell it at, it is about everything else as well.
Back down to the common question: “How to start a restaurant?”
Well, the first and most important rule of anything is to create a Plan, and therefore in this context, a Restaurant Business Plan. We’re sure that some you already know this, have a brief idea of what kind of food business you have already decided to go into and are dreading to know more about what is relevant and crucial to the plan.
Well here goes…
What lies in this Plan, we will show you in steps, what you need to focus on:
1 Research & Idea
Before you begin to decide what ‘great food idea/service’ you want to go into, it is important to first find out about the food industry in general. Once you’re sure you know what you are getting into, decide on your idea. Also find out what kind of licenses you need for your food business. For those of you who have already decided, good for you. Move on.
Next, do a research on the market and of your competitors if there are any. Once you do, ask yourself truly if you have the skills, knowledge and money to take on any one of your competitors and perform better. For those of you can, good for you. For those who can’t, you have to find a way to be different from your competitors, a unique selling proposition; if not change your idea and your market.
2 Brand focus
Of course when starting something, we have to start small first and then grow it. Therefore it is important for one to also set goals, directions and visions about where they want their food business to head to. This in turn creates value in your food business and thereby setting a ‘brand focus’ of what you intend to do, sell, and provide; which then becomes “a guide to your own Business Brand and Image”.
3 Product/Service Plan
After all the research and goal settings, the next step then is to work on your product and service.
“What are you planning on selling?”
Here you will need to decide the kind cuisine and the type of food and menu you intend to offer and sell, the type of service methods to serve your customers (buffet, a la carte, set menu, etc.), your operations plan, who you are planning to hire, and also where you plan to sell it at.
4 Marketing Plan
One of the most important sections that follow after would be a sound and actionable Marketing Plan & Strategy, where you create awareness and loyalty, to attract new and keep existing customers. The marketing plan is also part of your branding focus where it has to be in sync when presenting your food business to your customers.
Marketing plans and strategies can involve online and offline methods to market your food business to create sales.
5 Legal Plan
Besides all that, if you are planning to go into a food business with more than 1 partner, it is recommended for you to come up with an agreeable plan for all parties. In which you could get a legitimate legal counsel to advice or you could also draft a simple agreement out. All of which have to be bound to the Singapore Law.
Especially in the food & beverage business, it is also important for you to take note of the other legalities like certification in food hygiene and safety, food licenses from NEA, liquor licenses from the SPF, registering your business and accountings under ACRA, etc.
6 Financial Plan
With everything else in place, it is time to put a dollar sign on each of them and calculate how much you will need for your business to start.
These involve your start up cost – Rental Deposits, Renovations, Equipment, Furniture, Licenses, etc.
And your operational cost – Food Cost, Utilities, Rental, Salary, Insurance, Others, etc.
Knowing the initial value of all these is not enough, it is also important for one to take note of future costs that may appear, which will affect your financials. Cost like food wastages, asset depreciation, etc.
7 Hire a Food and Beverage Consultant
For the ones who have no experience in, unsure of what to take note of, have low confidence in your own plan, we highly recommend that you consult with a Food Consultant, one that is able to provide a wholesome consulting service on the culinary and business aspects.
You might think that hiring a consultant might be expensive, but it can be even more expensive in the future if your plans are not drafted out right to be executed, expensive on the note that many changes and improvements have to be made to be back on the right track and where profits are not duly maximized.
Hiring a consultant can help you prevent most of such problems from happening and can advise you to make better decisions that will help your business move forward in the right direction; at the end of the day, to be a successful F&B Business Owner, it is always important for one to plan ahead.
So think on it, reduce your risk and plan well.
In the meantime, if you do encounter any problems starting up or managing a new/current food & beverage business and you need help with, you can contact us.