No one ever said that starting your own restaurant would be easy, but as a first-time restaurateur, you are probably discovering all sorts of difficulties you never expected.
Fortunately, with your grand opening looming, the end is finally here — right? Actually, now that you are in the home stretch, you are probably forgetting things left and right while you scramble to square away your restaurant’s biggest needs. While you count down the hours until you open your doors, you can fill in the gaps by reviewing these nine easily forgotten items you need to get your restaurant up and running before the big first day.
At a restaurant, washing the dishes isn’t just a menial chore — it is serious business. Even if you are opening a fast food joint, there will be mountains of dirty dishes that need cleaning after every shift. Eventually, you may be able to invest in an automated dish washer, but for now, your employees are going to need industrial amounts of soap to make it through even one workweek.
2. Cleaning Rags
Every surface of your restaurant needs regular wiping down to maintain a semblance of cleanliness for your customers. It might seem like rags are rags; but actually, busboys, bartenders, and other rag-users can be incredibly particular about the size and materials. Before you just start tearing up old T-shirts, you should ask your staff what they prefer.
3. Soda Machine
It took weeks to get that liquor license, but now you have the fully stocked bar you have always dreamed of. Your patrons will have access to any alcohol their hearts desire — unless they desire no alcohol whatsoever. While booze is a major draw of most restaurants, you must also have beverages for those who want to avoid intoxicants for their night out. Fortunately, efficient soda machines are easy to procure and install, and they are usually incredibly flexible, so you can dispense whatever non-alcoholic beverages your patrons desire, too.
4. Measuring Tools
The celebrity chefs on the various cooking networks never seem to measure their ingredients, so you might think your line cooks don’t need measuring cups and spoons either. However, your restaurant’s recipes should be incredibly precise so you can deliver the perfect dish to your patrons every time — and that means giving them the right tools.
5. High Chairs
You may not want your establishment to be family friendly, but eventually, a patron will bring in a bouncing baby and you will either oblige their needs or lose a customer for life. If you are a restaurant primarily for adults, you don’t need many highchairs, but all of the highchairs you offer should follow the National Health and Safety Performance Standards to ensure visiting little ones are secure no matter what kind of wiggling they do.
Pots, pans, whisks, ladles, mixing bowls, serving plates — your kitchen is filled to bursting with the most important equipment for running a restaurant, and your cooks definitely need more space to put it all. Most restaurant suppliers provide specific types of shelving for cooking supplies, which maintain the delicate balance between out-of-the-way and within-reach.
Your menus, pamphlets, and permanent signs should be professionally printed, but you should have an efficient office printer on hand for day-to-day changes or emergencies. Your daily specials and rotating beer taps might look amazing in metallic ink on thick card stock, but after a couple weeks, your budget won’t be able to handle it.
Examine the pens around your home. How many of them are stolen from your favorite restaurants? Many patrons see restaurant pens as free mementos of their delicious meal, and some may even loan them out to potential future customers. Even if you already have a couple boxes of pens for your servers, you don’t have nearly enough to become an excellent advertising opportunity. You should invest some of your marketing budget in branded pens, and truckloads of them.
9. Restroom Decor
The restroom may not be the first thing your patrons see upon walking through your restaurant’s doors, but chances are most will pay a visit to the water closet at least once during their meal. Though most people try not to dawdle in the john, you should still strive to make the place as pleasant as possible, with comfortable lighting, sweet scents, and attractive colors at the very least.