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Characteristics Of A Winning Restaurant Concept

By Restaurant Secrets, Inc.

How much does it cost to open a restaurant in Dubai? This is the most frequently asked question a potential restaurant owner asks. There is no one answer of course. Back in 1991 it cost me AED 250,000.00 to open my first on-the-go sandwich restaurant, but the Famous Hard Rock Café in Dubai, per se, cost a multimillion fortune to open.

So you see, starting by asking how much would it cost to open a restaurant is putting the cart ahead of the horse. A better approach is to start with questions that will help you identify your concept before the budget process.

But wait a minute, you may say, “I’ve already found the perfect location, yet you say I need a concept first!” this may sound like a chicken-versus-egg dilemma; does the concept come first and then the location? Or the site and then the concept? Even if you think you have already found the perfect location for your restaurant, the location is only ideal if you have a concept that fits your site.

In other words, the process of deciding on a concept is the same whether or not you’ve already chosen a location. If you’ve got your heart set on a location, you’ll have less flexibility in finalizing your concept. Likewise, if you have a concept that you are convinced is a winner; you’ll want to be extra certain to choose the right location for that particular concept.

Unique Characteristics Of Winning Concepts

  1. Longevity: To open your restaurant and be successful at it is one thing, but to maintain that success over long period of time is “Longevity”. Think; Subway, McDonalds, Chipotle and you will get the point.
  2. Consistency: A winning concept requires putting smart systems and procedures in place to ensure consistency of your operations, quality and service.
  3. Market appeal: The definition of market appeal in the restaurant business is to have the vision to be the first choice when the customer thinks to dine out or order a delivery.
  4. Expandability: Once you master with time the consistency of your operations through your SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures), in effect and probably without knowing it you will be setting the foundation to what is called a “Franchis-able Concept” to a turnkey successful business. Remember, Most winning concepts grow.

Plan For Success By Asking The Right Questions

A winning concept, regardless of where it starts, usually produces somewhere in its development phase a well-conceived business plan. This is not just a good first step if you are trying to beat the odds in succeeding. It also can be quite useful for securing a lease, and extremely important to obtain funding.To develop a winning concept is to answer a lot of questions such as:

  1. In what segment of the market will my restaurant be?
  2. What is my USP (Unique Selling Proposition)?
  3. Should I offer entertainment, To-Go, delivery or pick-up program, business lunches or a combination of all the above?
  4. What size should my restaurant be?
  5. How much parking will be required?
  6. Where should my restaurant be located?
  7. How much will it cost to build my restaurant?
  8. Do I need to put money back into my concept to keep it fresh?
  9. Do I need to have an expandable concept?

Finally, remember that all winning concept operators we worked with in the past 20 years agree that rule No. 1 is "select, train, and retain key people." Winning concepts work on the formula of "People + Product = Profits" and without those three key ingredients your concept may become a recipe doomed to failure. We have learned that for concepts to sustain and successfully grow they must employ a people management program that is committed to continual improvement.


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