How to start a successful brewery restaurant
If you're already an expert in crafting the perfect brew, it's natural to want to complement your brand with a great food option. But getting into the food business can be daunting. Running a restaurant requires a lot of careful planning before you even open the doors.
Luckily, we have a checklist for you of things to consider when starting a brewery restaurant. Make sure you've ticked these boxes when you're busy setting up your restaurant and you'll be well on your way to opening the next local hotspot.
1. Do your research
Before you even start thinking about opening a restaurant, you need to do your research. This means learning about the industry, understanding the market and knowing your competition. Make sure that you're not copying the ideas of someone else in the neighbourhood or you'll find yourself simply splitting the customer base.
To open an excellent restaurant, you need to have a solid grasp of what it takes to run a successful food and drink business. Reading books by other restaurant owners can help manage your expectations and offer insight into the kinds of challenges you may face. You could also approach a restaurant owner you already admire and ask for mentoring.
2. Create a detailed business plan
Once you've done your research, it's time to start putting together a concrete business plan. This is a detailed document that serves as a roadmap for your business, so you need to take the time to create one that deals with every aspect of your business.
Things you'll need to have in your business plan include: your business model, a marketing strategy, an operations plan and a financial plan. You can find templates online to help you put this information together, or you could ask your local business registry for help. You could also hire a professional business coach to help you.
3. Location is everything
When choosing a location for your new business, you'll need to decide if you have enough space on your current brewery's premises, or if it makes more sense to invest in a larger space elsewhere. This can offer more room for growth, but you'll also need to take into consideration the transport costs of getting your beer to the restaurant.
You'll also want to make sure that whatever the location is, it is easily accessible and visible. You also need somewhere that has enough room to accommodate your needs, such as a good-sized kitchen and enough areas for seating.
4. Know your audience
It's important to know who your target audience is before you open your doors. Are you targeting local families? Business professionals? College students?
Once you know who your target audience is, you can start to adapt your menu and style your decor towards their tastes. Naming your audience will also help with your marketing efforts.
You'll be able to target your advertising and promotional material to the people who are most likely to visit your restaurant and brewery. This will help get enough feet in the door right from the beginning so you can focus on growing the business.
5. Choose the right partners
When starting a restaurant, you'll need to choose the right partners - from suppliers to investors. It's a clever idea to take the time to find partners who share your vision and who you can trust to help you execute it flawlessly.
This also includes your own employees. Carefully screen and interview candidates so you can find the right team to help you run your business. You will have to rely on them to take initiative and solve problems as they arise, so be certain that they'll do it the way you want.
6. Create a unique experience
These days, there are breweries with restaurants on every corner, serving everything from seasonal beers to craft brews. To stand out from the crowd, you'll need to create a unique experience that will draw customers in and keep them coming back for more.
One way to do this is by specialising in a certain type of cuisine or beer style. Once you have mastered a certain kind of food or drink, you'll be able to use that as a unique selling point. It'll help you stand out from competitors and is an effective way to attract a regular crowd of customers.
Another way to create a unique experience is by offering something that no one else does - whether it's live music or farm-to-table ingredients. You could have a children's area with fun activities, or offer a space for rent for parties or formal events. Whatever you choose, make sure you create an experience that has customers coming back for more.
7. Invest in the right equipment
Having a restaurant attached to a brewery makes great business sense. And it's better to invest a bit of money into excellent quality, commercial-grade equipment, especially for the catering industry.
But what are the essential kitchen appliances you'll need to make sure you serve up delicious dishes next to your beloved brews? When setting up your restaurant, the first things you'll need are , ,and .
You'll also need plenty of smaller appliances. Consider things like, double deep or . These will all help you create traditional pub fare that is great to serve alongside beer as a quick snack or even a bigger meal.
Of course, you’ll have a great bar service to complement your restaurant so there are a few things you need to consider here. A glass freezer lets you serve up beer and other drinks in a frosted glass to keep it cooled as long as possible. You’ll also need a larger ice maker to keep things like sodas chilled. Lastly, no food or bar service is complete without a professional espresso machine.
8. Promote yourself and your brand
Once your restaurant is up and running, it's important to promote yourself. Customers love knowing who is behind the scenes of their favourite spot so make sure you create a brand story that is personal and engaging.
You also need to make sure your website is optimised for search engines so potential customers can find you online. This is where customers should be able to find out more information about your offering. Include your menu and information about your brewing process, and don't forget the important contact details.
You could also branch out into traditional marketing methods like print ads, flyer distributions, and word-of-mouth marketing. All these methods can help attract new customers and grow your business.
Starting a restaurant alongside a brewery is no small feat, but it's certainly doable with a bit of careful planning and execution. Keep these tips in mind as you get started on your journey towards becoming a successful restaurateur.