Using current trends to boost your food startup
Starting up in the restaurant industry isn’t a necessarily going to be a picnic.
The food industry is tough, and breaking into it can be a challenge to say the least. The best way I’ve found to describe the process of opening a restaurant is that it’s “like watching a movie starring Mel Brooks, Woody Allen and Leslie Nielsen, all at the same time.”
For starters the competition is “ruinous”, and according to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, “two thirds of restaurants don’t survive past their first birthday.”
You only have to be within earshot of a Gordon Ramsay show to see just how stressful a running restaurant can really be. In a consistently saturated market riddled with high expectations and ever changing trends, starting up in the restaurant industry can be truly daunting.
Of course it’s not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of industry success stories and after all, everyone has to start somewhere. If running a restaurant is your passion, then the recent trends in pop-up shops, food vans, and even micropubs might be something for you to think about.
Opening a pop up is a great way to get your brand name out there when you’re working with a start-up’s limited budget. Because the space you’d need to rent would be cheaper, and the lease far shorter than that of a permanent location, a pop up will allow you to generate hype concerning your product for a fraction of the price of opening a full scale restaurant.
You’ll work face to face with customers on a daily basis, which means you’ll only have to ask to find out what people really think of your food. Think of it as beta testing on a budget! And as the pop up industry as a whole is worth over £2 billion, opening one can give you the chance to earn some capital in advance of your restaurant’s grand opening. There are also plenty of kitchens available to rent in London, so you don’t have to worry about cooking all your food in the small space available to you.
And because pop ups are so popular with millennials, you can bet your bottom dollar that if your customers like your food, they’ll be posting about it on social media. Giving you an evenue of ‘free advertising.’
While the pros to getting into street food are similar to those of opening a pop up, it’s likely that a food truck might cost more to run, and that it will be a more long term investment. But food trucks are still a great way to generate hype for your product, and basing your business in a van means that you’re not tied down to just one location, or even just one city, so you can go where the customers go.
If you’re worried about the implications of picking up sticks and moving your business at the drop of a hat, then there are plenty of ways to make moving your business simpler. And don’t forget, successful food trucks often turn into successful restaurants!
The micropub trend has been flying under the mainstream radar for over ten years now; ever since there was a change of legislation back in 2005 that made it a lot easier for people to open pubs. Now micropubs are being opened in “former butchers’ shops, pet grooming parlours and even undertakers.”
The Micropub and Microbrewery Association defines a micropub as “a small freehouse which listens to its customers, mainly serves cask ales, promotes conversation, shuns all forms of electronic entertainment and dabbles in traditional pub snacks.” Micropubs often only consist of one room, with one bar, and a few choice ales. While someone looking to start up in the restaurant business might not be interested in adhering to the strict micropub guidelines, micropubs do still act as proof that a successful business in the service industry doesn’t necessarily need a load of additional features to be a hit.
A foolproof plan?
Of course, no plan is perfect. And getting into the restaurant business is still likely to be tough going for a while. But these trends are definitely worth considering as ways for your restaurant startup to get a leg up on the competition.