We have the answers to some of your questions as we ask a selection of insiders to offer their advice, tips and insights gleaned from their experiences in their chosen creative field. Here’s Niall Davidson of Allta on How To Open A Restaurant.
In my experience, usually failing at it first helps — you may as well get all the learning done and dusted and out of the way as soon as possible.
The most important thing to do before anything else is to simply figure out exactly what you want from a restaurant, and what you are prepared to do to make that real. When you have that then you need to focus on how you communicate that in the right kind of language, and then how you can help persuade other people on board to help shape and add to it all.
You have got to surround yourself with bloody amazing people that are way better than you could ever dream of being, give them direction, pay them fairly and motivate them, all while never standing on others’ toes, looking over shoulders or belittling them in any way.
Don’t be scared to do the hard yards when they are needed as, if you don’t at that exact point in time, it will definitely bite you on the arse down the line.
You need to undersell and overdeliver, and I really believe that you need to be a cook. Don’t even think about opening a restaurant if you can’t cook or if you think you might have a good idea but you don’t have a chef who you can trust with your life.
The food and wine needs to always be the talking point. Always. Although, at the same time, never forget about lighting, temperature and music volume either.
Finally, try to remember above all that opening and running restaurants is all about making people happy — you, your staff, your suppliers and your customers. Work with a smile on your face.
Chef and co-owner of Allta
Pay attention and gift your knowledge too! We’ll run How Two, a second instalment of this guide, later in the year so let us know what you’d like to learn about by mailing email@example.com