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Sarah Ward

How to Develop a Restaurant Concept: 10 Steps to Learn

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The process of how to develop a restaurant concept, bar business, or even a brunch café, is about following the direction of what you need. There are some specific things you need to open a food and beverage business. Beyond those specifics there are the intangibles of the ideas and plans you’ll map out. 

In this BinWise blog post we’ll take a look at the steps you should take when you’re conceptualizing your bar or restaurant. Your restaurant business plan will help you along the way. As you plan your business, touch base with your business plan and these steps to maintain your vision and plan for success.

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How to Concept a New Restaurant or Bar Brand

Conceptualizing a new restaurant or bar brand involves deciding what business you want, how you'll design it, and how you can make it happen. Within those needs there are specifics, as well as no small amount of planning, preparing for funding, and finding your location. 

These 10 steps to learn how to conceptualize your restaurant or bar will guide you along the way. They range from mental plans and ideas to tangible steps you need to take. You’ll also benefit from learning general tips on how to open a bar or restaurant. 

10. Find Your Inspiration

Finding your inspiration is the kick-start for your restaurant concept. Is it a restaurant you love, a special meal, or a piece of artwork that inspires you? Whatever it may be, finding it and writing it down at the beginning will help you along the way.

9. Discover What Makes You Unique

Discovering what makes you unique will help you find ways to make your restaurant unique. Do you have a heritage that gives you culinary specialties? Do you enjoy plating meals in a precise way? Are popular cocktails your cup of tea? Whatever it is, it’ll be a part of the specialities of your restaurant.

8. Research Your Customers and Location

Researching your customers and location helps you build your restaurant concept individually. You can direct your approach to the customers you want to attract. You can also shape your approach to opening a restaurant to the area you’ll be opening up in.

7. Develop Menu Types

Developing your menu types is crucial to your restaurant concept. You’ll need to start with some main signature dishes. From there, decide which types of sides and desserts you want to serve. Once you have that all together you can design the physical layout of the menu.

6. Choose Your Service Style

Choosing your service style needs to happen before you can officially launch your brand. This could be fine dining, family style dining, fast food, fast casual, a food cart, pop-up events, a ghost kitchen, or anything else. The important factor is that you decide early on.

5. Find a Concept that Fits You

Finding a concept that fits you might sound cheesy. It’s incredibly important, however, because it means your restaurant will be based in something you know well: yourself. As much as you’re opening a restaurant for customers, the more personally related you are to it, the better off you’ll be.

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4. Focus On Experience and Food

Your customers will come in hoping for great food and the right environment. Those are the two main things you should focus on for what you physically serve in your restaurant. With quality food and the right restaurant setup you’ll be ready to satisfy your customers.

3. Build Your Team with Care

Building your team with care is all about finding the right people, training them well, and creating a healthy work environment. This starts with interviews and goes all the way to how you treat your employees. Treat them with respect and care, and they’ll help you have a successful restaurant.

2. Find Technological Support

Technological support will help you run your business with ease. You’ll need to look into everything from inventory software to order management system support to eCommerce marketing solutions. All of this will help you craft a well-oiled machine of a restaurant. 

1. Learn the Legal Needs

Running a restaurant comes with a variety of legal needs. From learning how to get a liquor license to discovering direct to consumer wine shipping laws and related regulations. Research your location and find what you need, you don’t want to be caught without the right licenses and permits. 

"Key Takeaway: Conceptualizing a new restaurant or bar brand involves deciding what business you want, how you'll design it, and how you can make it happen."

Frequently Asked Questions About Developing a Restaurant or Bar Concept

The process of how to develop a restaurant concept or bar concept is something restaurant and bar owners need to understand deeply. It’s vital to opening and operating a restaurant that is aimed for success. If your concept isn’t complete or thought through with care, your restaurant will run in a haphazard direction. 

Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you further direction for developing a restaurant or bar concept. As you develop your concept, you’ll learn even more about what you need to do. This is a good place to start. 

What are the Five Elements of a Restaurant Concept?

The five elements of a restaurant concept are:

  1. Setting your restaurant apart from all the rest with unique, innovative ideas.
  2. Defining your customer or buyer persona to cater your plan to your ideal customer.
  3. Designing your restaurant, this is everything from the paint choices to seating arrangements.
  4. The crucial costs, from overhead costs to one-time buys that need to be in your budget.
  5. Growing your brand, which is an ongoing process of marketing and brand maintenance.

These five elements come together to build a restaurant concept. Within them, you’ll find each individual facet of your restaurant concept.

How Do You Write a Restaurant Concept?

To write a restaurant concept you need to include:

  • Your restaurant name
  • Menu ideas and dish descriptions
  • Your service style–ghost kitchen, fine dining, family style, brunch café
  • Decorations and ambience goals
  • Background music and the vibe that comes with it
  • Your floor plan, with the number of tables
  • Your restaurant location and building requirements
  • How you’ll market your concept and restaurant

Of course, there will be other things that come up along the way. Your restaurant concept is similar to a restaurant business plan in that you can check in with it and change things as needed.

What are the Qualities of Successful Restaurant Concepts?

The qualities of a successful restaurant concept are:

  • A well-thought-out plan for the basic structure of the restaurant
  • Design plans with tangible steps to complete them within a budget
  • An extensive plan for food, with menu items and food supply chain solutions
  • A beverage plan, with cocktail ingredients, mocktails, and more
  • Hygiene plans, alongside plans to purchase cleaning supplies
  • A plan for your location, whether it’s an existing building or something you’ll build
  • A structure for your customer experience and satisfaction KPIs
  • An aesthetically pleasing menu design
  • A skilled management team who can lead a great team and run a successful restaurant

Those qualities should be present in your restaurant concept. You can go above and beyond, but these are the basics.

What are the Three Cores of a Successful Restaurant?

The three cores of a successful restaurant are customer service, quality food, and marketing. Customer service is the name of the game, and the great food plays into quality customer service. Marketing is the key to getting your restaurant on the map. All three come together as vital for a restaurant to be successful.

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Developing a Restaurant or Bar Concept: Conceptualize for Your Customers

Developing a restaurant or bar concept is critical to the success of your business. It’s the starting point that sets you up for success. Reach out to BinWise when you’re ready to open for business with your concept. BinWise Pro, paired with the BinScan mobile app, helps you organize your inventory program for management ease.

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