You Think You Have “The World’s Next Best Restaurant Concept”, But Have You Done Your Research, asks Howard Cannon, CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America

The best decisions are informed ones and research is vital. Research can take a lot of time and effort and can cost a bit of money, but great research can and does save many times its original cost and is the best way to determine your concept. Sources of information come in many forms and in many places. Most cities in the United States have restaurant associations and business associations. These associations provide weekly and monthly meetings with people who share your interest in restaurants or business in general. They are a good place to connect with smart people who may be able to help you find information.

But you are looking at the person who will be the most help in reaching your dream in the mirror every day. Howard Cannon, CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America says, “You will have to decide where to look for information and what information to look for. The millions of pages of available restaurant-based concept information include surveys, data, and opinions on to how choose a restaurant, and the more you look, the more you can find. So where do you begin? The overall concept design of your restaurant is your most important decision. You should understand that this one decision entails and impacts everything you do going forward in your restaurant business. Be sure you get it right.”

You can design everything yourself and trust your ability to juggle a million things at once and understand how it all fits together, or you can find some help. The choice is yours. Mr. Cannon advises, “Unless you’re an expert in all of the areas of restaurant concept design, your best bet is to hire, partner, or network with a restaurant concept design firm. The amount of money you spend on hiring professionals to help you will be small compared to the money and time they will save you. These professionals usually work in teams of two or three and guide you toward wise decisions.” A good team will help clear away obstacles, grow ideas, determine feasibility, determine restaurant flow, and make everything work together.

Stuff happens. Especially in the early days of preparing a restaurant, the unexpected can shake you up. Expert restaurant design and concept people have been through it all many times before and can add a solid dose of confidence to your efforts. They have experience in dealing with vendors, manufacturing companies, designers, and marketing firms and can deal with nearly any obstacles you may encounter to the concept design process.

Cannon also recommends some initial soul-searching for the prospective restaurant owner, saying, “You’ve got to ask yourself what kind of restaurant you want to own. Don’t just sell food. Instead, sell something you are passionate about because your passion could make all the difference. Don’t try to be everything to everybody. Instead, try to be something great to specific people. Not everyone will eat at your restaurant anyway, so why not concentrate on those who will? Finding these customers is first about finding yourself and your passion. The more things you try, the more difficult it is to be great at one of them. So, figure out what you love first, and go from there.”

Howard Cannon is a highly recognized restaurant expert witness, consultant, analyst, and speaker. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Restaurant© – found in 76 countries around the globe. Mr. Cannon is the CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America and Restaurant Expert Witness, and can be reached at 800-300-5764 or via the web at RestaurantConsultantsOfAmerica.com or RestaurantExpertWitness.com.

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