updated - December 6, 2021 Monday EST
Everyone loves to eat out. This has been true since the first restaurant opened. It is considered a treat, even a luxury. It is the sort of thing that never gets old. If most people could afford to eat at a 4-star restaurant every night, they would. It would be like hiring a personal chef, except you get to enjoy the food in a nicer place than your kitchen table. This does not mean that you will have guaranteed success if you open a restaurant. In fact, it is one of the toughest businesses to run. Consider all the downward pressure:
● Expensive starting costs
● Labor costs
● Crowded markets
● Challenging regulatory standards to keep
These factors make starting a restaurant among the riskiest businesses in the world. It is right up there with day-trading for the easiest way to lose your life's savings. Then, the pandemic happened. Even restaurants in the world's finest dine out havens cratered like real estate on the moon. These days, only a few seem to have cracked the code in making their eating establishments thrive. It isn't magic. These are a few of the tricks they are using to their advantage:
A Ghose kitchen is not one that is haunted by one of the royal chefs of the Dark Ages. It is a kitchen setup that is detached from any kind of front of house. Think of it as a restaurant setup exclusively for delivery. You can get set up in a ghost kitchen for a fraction of the cost of a traditional restaurant lease. That takes care of the #1 challenge with opening a restaurant in the first place: the cost. It also addresses the newest challenge.
Thanks to the pandemic, people are still afraid to go out to eat at a restaurant. For some, it is not just the fear factor. The Seattle area requires proof of vaccination for restaurants, gyms, and theaters. The same is true in NYC. Those who have chosen not to be vaccinated are protesting, violently, in some cases. This unrest is further suppressing the demand for tables at dining establishments.
The successful restaurants have almost completely transformed their business from dine in to delivery. Some are even finding more success because there is no dining table scarcity. Some quick service establishments might not even bother to go back to dine in. They have found a way to make delivery work. You can jumpstart your restaurant by moving it into a ghost kitchen.
Increase Your Chances of Getting a Loan
If you choose a traditional restaurant for your business model, you are almost certainly going to need a sizable loan. That is not easy to get. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of getting that loan. First, you need to understand the things you can't control and that might not be fair. Gender, race and age bias are unfortunate aspects of the human condition at our present state of social evolution. Sometimes, the person making the decision will be less evolved than the lender down the street. Persistence is key to getting a loan.
You also need to explore all of the government options that might get you past some of those biases. Your disability will not be a gating factor. In all cases, take the time to get your credit score as high as possible before applying for a big loan. That might be the single most important number in the calculus.
More Options to Pay
Many restaurants are still on a cash only basis. They will not do well in times like these. You might have ever so good reasons to avoid credit, debit, and electronic payments. But hungry consumers don't care. They will just go where their money is accepted. Many cash-only eateries have converted to digital just by signing on with delivery services. The staggering success of food delivery could not have been predicted, except by all the people who did. One of the reasons for the success is that there are no longer any barriers to payment. When you drop those barriers, the customers come to feed.
Make your post-pandemic restaurant successful by using ghost kitchens, increasing your chances of landing the right loan, and removing as many payment barriers as possible.
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