COVID-19 has forced a lot of businesses to close their doors. For some, this has been a temporary problem, only causing issues during lockdowns and when issues first started to arise. For others, though, this virus has been much worse, forcing them to close their doors for good as they considered how they would stay afloat for months without revenue. Cafes and restaurants have been some of the worst affected, as companies like this often rely on getting customers through their doors to make their money.
With so many cafes and restaurants being forced to close, cities and towns across the world are going to have a shortage of companies like this. This presents an excellent opportunity for those who would like to run a business like this. Not only will it be easier to find a place for your new company, but you will also benefit from having loads of customers that have been stuck inside for months; perfect for businesses that rely on heavy footfall.
It’s all too easy to try and start your business without a plan, but this is always a big mistake. No matter how hard you work, you won’t be able to get very far without a proper business plan in place, and this makes it crucial that you work on this before anything else. Your business plan should cover your aims for the next few years, along with providing you with steps to take in order to achieve them. As each month goes by, you can refer back to your plan to make sure that you’re making enough headway.
You can find business plan templates and guides around the web. This sort of resource can put you in a good position, but it’s always worth being a little creative to make sure that you don’t miss anything that could be unique to your business. For example, if you plan to have a special theme for your cafe or restaurant, it will be important to figure out how this will adapt and grow with your business. You may also have to think about the impact of COVID-19 when you’re making your plans.
Running a business like a cafe or a restaurant will only be possible with some premises to work from. You will need a place for people to come and visit, and this means that you may have to put a lot of work into finding a suitable building for your business. This will always start with picking the location you want for your business. The income level and social groups found in the location you pick will dictate how your business runs, making this decision crucial to the whole process.
Once you have an idea of the locations you’d be happy to open in, you can start to look for shop fronts that will work for your idea. This process can take a while, but there should be more options open than usual at the moment, thanks to all of the companies that have closed down. Visiting the areas you’d like to work in and looking for empty stores can be a good way to do this, though it will also be worth talking to a professional estate agent, as they will be able to help you to figure out if the business you’re opening will be suitable.
Choosing a building can be a challenging process, and you won’t be done once you’ve picked the one you like the most. At this point, you’re going to have to go through the process of agreeing upon conditions and signing leases, all without being able to make face to face visits with the people you’re working with. A commercial lease review can help with this, giving you confidence that you’re signing an agreement that won’t hurt you in the future. Alongside this, it can also make sense to look for further legal advice.
Getting the keys for your property will be exciting, but will be the start of more work. You will need to get your cafe or restaurant built at this stage, working to make the space you’re paying for into something that can be used by your business. This could involve huge amounts of work, and there’s a lot more to it than people expect.
On one side, you will need to build a kitchen, staff areas, and the other functional parts of your business. This can be made cheaper if you’re willing to buy second-hand equipment, though many people find that it’s better to get this sort of thing on a lease agreement. There are strict rules in place that have to be followed when you’re working to create areas that your team will use, and you need to cover all of this before you open your doors.
On the other side, you will have to think about the parts of your business that are used by your customers. You will need furniture, facilities like toilets and bins, and will probably want to put some artwork and information on your walls. There are countless options available for companies in this position, making it nice and easy to find inspiration if you look on websites like Instagram. Making a unique shop can be a good idea, but you will want to make your customers feel at home at the same time.
You won’t be able to make many meals or drinks without some stock behind you. Thankfully, COVID-19 hasn’t resulted in major shortages with stock like this, and this means that you should be able to get your hands on everything you need to start serving your customers. Finding reliable suppliers for this will be a difficult task, and you may need to talk to the other businesses around you to see which companies they use for this job. It’s very common to find independent restaurants using the same suppliers when they are close to each other.
Alongside food stock, you will also need to think about stock for things like PPE. Your team are going to have to adopt different standards than were in place before the lockdown, wearing masks and gloves to protect themselves and your customers. This can be harder to find than food, making it worth spending the time to order your PPE long in advance.
With a building, furniture and equipment, and everything else lined up, finding employees to work for you will be one of the last stages in this process. Thankfully, these sorts of jobs are incredibly easy to fill, with loads of people looking for entry-level positions all the time. In fact, this area is so popular, you may not even have to post job adverts online; your shop windows could be enough. You should interview each team member before they join your business.
It’s always worth making sure that you’re employing people legally. Many of these businesses will choose to hire people on a casual basis, but this can lead to issues down the line if all of your team members decide to leave you. Contracts and employment law are very important, and it’s your responsibility to make sure that everything is in place to look after your team. Of course, though, as a big part of this, you should also make sure that your employees feel comfortable to talk to you about any issues they might have.
It would be wrong to expect that new cafes and restaurants will be able to use the same methods as those that were open before the COVID-19 lockdown. You are going to have to fight to keep your place clean and safe, and this is going to involve extreme measures. To start, you will need to sterilise your premises more than once a day. Each time a customer leaves, you should clean up behind them, using strong chemicals to make sure that no viruses can spread.
Alongside this, you will also need to have your team members wear PPE. Face masks and gloves can be enough, though some businesses are also choosing to use visors for extra protection. Hand sanitizer is also providing to be a successful tool when it comes to fighting COVID-19. All of this will only work if you’re able to get your team to go along with it, though, and this means that you will need to put some strict policies in place.
As the last COVID-19 issue to consider, you may also have to limit the number of people that can come into your business. While most places have scrapped 2m social distancing rules, keeping people apart is going to be very important in businesses like these. You can also ask your customers to wear masks when they talk to your team members, too.
With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of opening a restaurant or cafe in the wake of COVID-19. With loads of these companies having to close their doors, now could be the perfect time to find your place in the market.