There are businesses you can do online without a physical space. Online shops are a big hit now because of the pandemic. Even food businesses can thrive without opening up an actual restaurant or kiosk.
If you are one of those successful online business owners, do you have plans to open up an actual space given that outside activities are going back to normal? If yes, start planning right now.
How Do You Transition into a Full-Scale Business?
Are you planning to operate a full-scale restaurant? Or are you thinking of going small first, like a pop-up booth in a commercial district?
People often advise small business owners to rent a low- to mid-range place and move to a bigger one when everything is going well. However, that might not apply to a food business. You need a lot of customers, so an ideal location is where many people go. And lease in these places is in the high range.
If that is the case, you have to gauge first if your cash flow can cover all the new expenses. Once that is settled, you can start looking for places. If you plan to rent a space for your full-blown operation, here are some tips to help you.
Consult an Expert
If this is your first experience in hunting for commercial spaces, it can get overwhelming. Get help from a real estate office to help you find a suitable business location. They will give you a list of suggestions based on your needs. They will also help you with the paperwork once you decide on your first space.
Have a List of Non-negotiable Requirements
It’s hard to go from place to place without a solid idea of what you are looking for. Before you even set out on your journey, you have to make a list of all the things a building must have. For a food business, these are some of the non-negotiables:
Proper Ventilation and Air Conditioning
It can be uncomfortable to eat in a stuffy place, so you have to ensure that the building has good ventilation. You will have the kitchen in the same place, and with cooking equipment, appliances, and kitchen staff, your kitchen will feel hotter than usual in that space. The lack of proper ventilation can lead to a huge disaster.
Ask the owner if the space has undergone building testing, adjusting, and balancing processes. Having the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems checked will ensure that the building has good airflow.
Inquire about the security of the building. Is it generally safe even at night? The number of customers will be affected by the general safety, not just of the building but the whole area. Is there security personnel? Will the other establishments be open at the same hours?
For a restaurant business, the layout is essential. Check if the building space will allow you to make the operation flow smoothly. The kitchen should be spacious enough, and the rest of the area should allow you to design accordingly.
If a building does not check any of these things, go check out other spaces.
How Do You Make Your Business Space Customer-Friendly?
Now that you’ve settled the logistics side, you should focus on making every customer’s time in your restaurant count. Eating is an experience. As much as it is about the food, it is about the place. Here’s how you can make your space friendlier to customers:
Match the Preferences of Your Target Market
If your target customers are young people, it’s best to make your space trendy. However, that is not a universal rule, and you can go your own way. Young people also like unique spaces and those with solid themes.
They love spots where they can take pictures. If it fits your interior design, add colorful walls and huge mirrors.
Make It an Inclusive Space
Welcome diversity. When you think about your customers, include differently-abled people and those with impairments. Have a ramp for wheelchairs at the entrance. The doorways should be wide enough. Install anti-slip tiles and grip rods in the bathroom. Make it easier for families to go through dinner. Have high chairs available at all times. And it’s best to have gender-neutral bathrooms.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
Lastly, make an effort to train your staff to be friendly and pleasant to customers. Provide training in handling concerns, complaints, and suggestions. Most of the time, the return rate of customers is affected by the kind of customer service in a business.
Turning your business from online into a physical one has its set of challenges. But as long as you find the suitable space and turn it to cater to your staff and customers, you’ll be in business for the long term.