To achieve your dream of opening a successful restaurant in New York City, you will need to put in many hours of hard work on far more than recipes and food presentation.
The goal of every restaurateur may differ, but most would probably like to land on a Top Ten list of must eat items in the city. While every experience differs, as does every menu, you can follow these tips to make the process simpler.
- Pick a type of business entity that protects you personally. If you choose a partnership or sole proprietorship, you remain personally liable for accidents. Choosing a limited liability company or corporation as your business entity type separates the restaurant’s liability from yours.
- Research all of the licenses you will need. This varies by type of restaurant and location within the city or county. At a minimum, the New York Department of Health requires every food service establishment to obtain and display a local health authority permit. You must submit your application at 21 days before you open the food service establishment. Once obtained, the permit remains valid for up to two years. Expect it to cost a few hundred dollars. Use the State of New York Online Permit Assistance and Licensing to determine which licenses you need. You answer its quiz-like questions about your restaurant and it provides you a list of needed permits and licenses.
- Contact the New York State Restaurant Association for a complete list of permits and signs required for restaurants. It also tells the owner where each needs to be displayed. Common items include exit signs, hand washing reminder signs, Department of Health permit, Department of Health letter grade, commercial recycling regulations, federal and state labor notices and a choking hazards poster that includes the Heimlich maneuver.
- Attend the appropriate New York Department of Health training course on health and safety. Each employee must attend these trainings. Start with yourself and set a good example.
- Consult New York City Health department’s website for help with items like restaurant design. It provides a free e-book in .pdf format on interior design of restaurants. This document helps you determine the needed layout of your establishment and how best to organize it for efficiency and to meet codes. You’ll need to rent or purchase a location that already fits these specifications, or you will have to renovate the space you choose to meet code.
- Spend time researching your point of sale (POS) system. These go far beyond a till or simple register now. Rather than simply accepting payments, they track inventory and create invoices. These systems also text and email receipts, manage employees by tracking clock in and out times, plus analyze sales and customer data. Make the most of your POS system by choosing one that provides a flexible solution. Today’s cash register functions as the technological heart of a restaurant.
- Research and purchase your insurance. You need your design, fixtures and equipment in place, but you are not only insuring it. The insurance you purchase will also cover your liability for employee and guest injuries or from food born illness. Further, you’ll obtain insurance that covers your restaurant in case of fire or theft. If you decide to cater, remember you will need business vehicle insurance, too.
You are finally ready to advertise for and hire employees. You’ll need to get them health department training. Then, work with your chef or head cook to develop dishes that will have all of NYC clamoring for a seat at one of your tables. Advertising your restaurant starts after you have the necessities in place. Follow these tips for an easier trip from dream to opening day.
Image | Freeman’s Alley