Opening a new restaurant can be a costly business. There will be all manner of pulls on your finances, so it is wise to work out what your basic needs are so they are addressed before you start spending all your cash on gold napkin rings and solid silver salt pots.
Break down what you can afford to spend and then write a list of the absolute necessities to get yourself up and running. Even if you have plenty of money it is still wise to have a budget and stick to it.
You may find that what you think you need at the beginning is not actually what you use the most, or that your restaurant moves in a different direction that you expected.
It is also worth remembering the old adage – buy cheap and you buy twice. This is certainly true in the case of catering equipment – cheap ovens and dishwashers, for example, rarely actually represent any saving as they tend to break down more often. However, cheap crockery and glasses make perfect sense as you will be amazed at how many get broken on a daily basis!
In The KitchenThe kitchen is where it is easy to spend a great deal of money. With cooking facilities easily available into five figures, you can essentially spend whatever you can afford.
There is, however, no need to spend a fortune on basic catering equipment – without compromising on quality – if you know where to look. You do not have to just go to your nearest catering equipment salesroom and buy something off the shelf – at least ask for a discount if nothing else! The mark up tends to be a minimum of fifty percent, so shop managers often have the freedom to discount up to twenty per cent on the spot – this can be even more at sale time, so get over your embarrassment and ask! You’ll be pleased you did when you see what you have saved.
Another great way to get high quality catering equipment at a low price is to find out where your nearest police auction is. These are steadily gaining publicity – perhaps they were kept under wraps before by those in the know because they offer such great bargains!
Police auctions are basically auctions of any items the police have confiscated – this can be through bankruptcy or recovery of stolen or lost goods, for example. The police forces do not wish to keep the items, so they are sold off very cheaply. There are vast numbers of items like bicycles and suitcases, as well as alcohol and cigarettes. What we are interested in though is the catering equipment – they are often practically brand new entire set ups from restaurants that have gone bust. Their loss is your gain!
Front of House
You will need to spend some money on making sure your front of house looks good – cheap restaurant furniture will not give a good first impression. Watch out for the sales as respected retailers so that you can get good deals on restaurant furniture and cutlery.
For decent clothing, it is wise to provide your staff with at least some sort of branding – don’t worry that you have to have Paul Smith design your uniforms, just black trousers and a branded t-shirt or shirt can look really smart and does not need to cost a fortune.