Turning your restaurant into a chain is a big step that requires lots of investment, both monetarily and personally. On top of the logistics required to actually set up a second restaurant, you will need to have a solid understanding of the local market you are trying to enter and how to make a good first impression. Knowing what your options are is key to a successful marketing campaign and there are could be any number of demographics to appeal to from tourists seeking their next adventure to hungry students looking for hassle-free food service, so here are some ideas to consider when trying to break into a new market.
Losing perspective is easy if you only observe one or two trends. Conducting market research in the area you are planning on expanding to is a good place to start. Traveling to the place you're considering helps make sure that you don't spend too much money on strategies that aren't effecting in that region. Having a backup plan for when you hit a wrinkle in your sales is a good idea, too. You'll be able to use the market research you've gained on your travels to plan for these eventualities. One example of a market trend you might not expect is Hawaii's love for Spam. Few would expect a canned meat to be as popular as it is in Hawaii, so if you didn't do any market research beforehand you might miss out on ideas for potential dishes that the locals might enjoy.
Location is Key
You are going to have an easier time building a consumer base if everyone knows where you are. Even if all of the really good spots are taken, keep an eye out for a visible place to open your restaurant. Good publicity and word-of-mouth marketing can make up for an inconvenient location at times, but if someone has to go far out of their way on their next trip they are less likely to eat your dishes again. You'll be traveling a lot to find the right place for your new restaurant, so stock up on travel garments, like bamboo shirts for travel, that will keep you comfortable wherever you go. Bamboo shirts are made of quick-dry fabric that will defy any moisture in the atmosphere, and are wrinkle-free, so you can arrive and head to a business meeting right away. Plus, bamboo fabric is so lightweight you'll feel more comfortable on your flight. Bamboo really is the best when it comes to inflight apparel.
Investing in a clean and enjoyable atmosphere is a priority, too. This way your guests can experience stress-free travels to and from your restaurant whether they are dressed up for eating out or are tourists, new to the area.
Research the Competition
Usually, if a store or restaurant has already been operating in a location for a long period of time it will probably have both dedicated customers and the know-how needed to cater to their particular market share. You will need to buy a lot of food service equipment from a restaurant supply store like Go!Foodservice before you can get your operation going in full swing. If you can get as much information as possible on what your competition can and can't get away with in their day-to-day operations then you will know what costs you can safely cut, while providing great prices to your customers. For instance, opting for wholesale restaurant supply will save you money on equipment.
Still, it isn't enough to simply sell quality food at great prices to your customers. There are far too many business that have failed by putting too much of a focus on objectives that, ultimately, either didn't matter or were a drain on resources. Cutting costs isn't the same as cutting corners, but putting too much of your hard work and sweat into an endeavor that simply isn't working will only stress you out in the long run. That being said, if you know how to manage a restaurant you should do fine once you start with a solid footing.