How to Open a Traditional Family Diner in Seven Simple Steps

Are you dreaming of opening a traditional family diner? Then 2023 could be a great year to make this dream come true! With the restrictions of covid becoming – thankfully- a distant memory, more people than ever before are making the most of enjoying eating out with friends and family regularly.

The thought of opening a diner could seem overwhelming. However, breaking down the process into seven clear steps makes the path to follow much more straightforward and doable. Here’s exactly what you need to do to get your traditional family diner off the ground next year.

Carry Out Thorough Market Research

Doing solid groundwork, in terms of market research, will serve you well and help ensure that your diner will be as profitable as possible. As part of this research, consider the location you’re thinking of and its demographic. Get really clear on the value proposition of your traditional family diner: i.e., what it’ll offer customers and why they’ll choose to dine with you over your competitors.

And talking of competitors, consider carefully your competitors: what are they doing right, and what could you do better or differently? Can you identify any challenges their businesses have faced and what they’ve done to resolve these issues?

Making a business plan is crucial: this will create a roadmap to follow at every stage of your business and will also be vital in securing any investment or funding you need. Your market research should comprise a fundamental part of this business plan.

Lease a Building

Once the above step is completed and you’ve found the ideal spot, it’s time to take out the lease! Taking legal advice regarding this is highly recommended, as is negotiating with your prospective new landlord. It’s always worth asking whether the landlord would consider giving you an initial month or two rent-free or at a discounted rate to help you get established.

Ensure you find out, too, exactly what’s included in the lease and whether there are any additional annual or monthly charges you’ll need to pay concerning the property.

Find the Equipment You Need

Your family diner will need lots of equipment, including kitchen appliances, furniture for the dining area, fixtures and fittings, and loads more. Buying new can quickly strain your budget, so why not consider purchasing second-hand?

As sad as it may be, you may find a restaurant or diner in the process of closing down within your locality; this can be a good opportunity to acquire lots of the things your diner needs at a fraction of the retail cost, to get up and running.

Put the Processes in Place

It’s not just furniture and kitchen equipment you need: you’ll also need to put in place a system to process your diners’ payments. Luckily, this is easier than it sounds! An integrated POS (point of sale) system means that you can easily take card payments on your premises and even via your website if you’re planning on offering a takeaway and/or a delivery option.

Have a look here for details on the top 10 POS systems and the benefits they offer. Many are geared specifically toward the food industry. They, therefore, offer plenty of helpful tools, such as the ability to create interactive menus and automate orders, so your diner never runs the risk of running out of the ingredients needed for a best-selling dish.

Get Recruiting!

Now it’s time to employ the staff you need! It’s worth taking the time to conduct the recruitment process properly to ensure you find staff members who are reliable, hard-working, enthusiastic, and able to represent your business the way you’d like.

Interviewing candidates is essential, as is taking up references for each individual so that you’ll have peace of mind that those filling the required positions are perfect and suitably qualified for the roles.

Make a Marketing Plan

Get the word out about your soon-to-open family diner by planning and launching a marketing campaign well before the big day to build anticipation and reach as broad an audience as possible.

If you’re on a tight budget, this side of things needn’t cost a fortune, and social media is your friend in this regard. Start by asking friends and family to share details about your new business via their own platforms and pages, and think about giving out discount vouchers and codes for customers to use during your first week of opening to get those all-important first guests through the doors. As a family-focused business, think about linking up with other local relevant businesses, such as family-friendly visitor attractions and nearby hotels, to boost your visibility.

….And Launch!

You’re ready to open: congratulations! Why not hold a special ‘welcome’ event on your first opening day, with balloons, live music, and entertainment for kids? You could offer every diner a free drink or put a range of food on the counter for your guests to sample – a great way to provide a teaser of your delicious new menu!

Going forwards, setting up a loyalty scheme and having regular events – such as a weekly family quiz evening – are just a couple of great ideas to keep your diners coming back and your business in the black!

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