Colorado has a lot going for it. It is full of natural beauty, home to a thriving cultural scene, a place to enjoy exciting sports, and has some of the best tourist attractions in the United States. What better place to start a business? One of the best types of businesses you could start is a restaurant. Tourists and locals have to eat, and diners are a great way for them to try a new place and enjoy.
No matter what kind of business you open, you want it to be as successful as possible. If you make a restaurant mistake, things could start going downhill quickly. But don’t let that scare you. With the proper strategy and tools, there’s no reason you can’t make it work. Here are six tips for opening a restaurant in Colorado and finding the success you are looking for.
Start With a Niche
It’s hard to be all things to everyone. With a restaurant, it’s always better to start out being specific about the types of food you are going to serve. Then, as time progresses and you’ve found success, you can branch out into other things if you wish. For example, that niche could be a type of food, such as Mexican or Mediterranean. However, it can also be the style of restaurant you are opening. Will you cater to kids or adults? Do you want to have a sports bar vibe or fine dining?
Whatever your niche is, lean into it. When people are looking for places to eat, they’ll want “Chinese” or “Indian,” for example, and you want them to identify your restaurant to meet that need. If you are too broad, you might not be able to attract those diners looking for something specific, even if you serve it.
Keep Your Menu Language Simple
In some cities, it can be beneficial to have things on the menu that most English speakers can’t pronounce. In an expensive tourist city like New York or Los Angeles, tourists and locals alike look for new delicacies that can become the next big trend. However, you tend to find more down-home locals and visitors in Colorado. Diners are more likely to give you a try if they recognize everything on the menu and have an idea of what they are going to experience before they walk in. You can have new and exciting dishes, but just make sure you have something potential diners can identify and connect with.
Take Time Hiring Your Staff
If your restaurant isn’t completely established in the community, then any misstep could cause you to lose a lot of business. You need to give everyone who comes into your restaurant a reason to return. Everything you do should be with the goal of being excellent. If you are in a rush to hire your staff, then you could be in danger of giving customers reasons not to return.
Your employees will be your representatives to the public. They greet people at the door, make their food, and serve them at tables. If one of them is not doing the job well, it will leave a sour taste in diners’ mouths. Your front-of-house staff must be friendly and well-trained in customer service. Your cook staff must pay attention to details and be committed to providing great meals with every order. The better your staff is, the better the experience will be for diners. The better the experience, the more likely they will be to come back.
Don’t Forget About Insurance
Restaurants carry a lot of risks. For one, you have people coming and going at all times and staff moving about the building carrying awkward and heavy items. Plus, they are eating food that could get them sick if not prepared properly. A liquor license comes with risks and many responsibilities. There is also the chance that your building is damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster, crime, or any other unforeseeable incident.
You need Colorado commercial insurance to protect against the financial fallout of bad things that can happen to your business. It will save you if you are sued by a customer who gets hurt or sick at your establishment. It will also protect against rebuilding or repairing damage to your building from a covered risk. You will need commercial automobile insurance if you have a delivery service or another reason to have a vehicle. These are just a few examples, but if any of these situations arose and you didn’t have insurance, the financial costs could be disastrous.
Apply for Permits Early
The fact is that restaurants can pose health risks for patrons. There’s the safety of the food being prepared and served, and there is the risk of people consuming alcohol in public. You will need to get various permits to operate legally in Colorado. Apply for your permits well before your planned launch, and contact your local health authority for an inspection. It can sometimes take months for everything to be approved, and you don’t want to open when your permits are still up in the air. Even if you get them in time, there is no benefit to stressing about them as your launch date gets closer. Take care of it early, and you will be thankful for it.
Schedule Lightly During Football Games
The fact is that there is nothing more popular in Colorado than the Denver Broncos. On Sunday game days, much of the population enjoys the game either at the stadium or at home with family and friends. Yes, many like to go to sports bars, but if your establishment is not that kind of place, then you can expect a slow afternoon or evening. Don’t schedule too much staff, and don’t expect big crowds on those days. The same can be said for Colorado Rockies games when they are contending or in the playoffs.
For the most part, opening a restaurant in Colorado is similar to opening a restaurant anywhere else. However, there are some specific things to understand about Colorado diners and the people who visit. Once you do, you can find great success with your new restaurant venture.