Own restaurant in a small town: advantages and disadvantages

* The calculations use the average data for the World

To open a restaurant is a dream of many. But what to do for those who live away from megacities? Is it worth it to start a business in a small city and how to make the institution enjoy success among the population?

Residents of small cities have various opportunities to develop their own business. Here the costs are lower, competition is weaker and the organization of many business processes is simpler. Now, even in a small town, you can find a way to earn decent money in almost any field. In this article, we will try to figure out how to open a restaurant in a small city. What are the specifics? What should be considered when opening and is it profitable to open a restaurant in a small town?

The procedure for opening a restaurant is the same for all cases, no matter in which locality it is located.

Restaurant opening checklist:

  1. Assess consumer demand and competitors;

  2. Choose a concept;

  3. Define the target audience;

  4. Draw up a business plan;

  5. Choose a room;

  6. Design, repair;

  7. Make a menu;

  8. Hire staff;

  9. To enter into cooperation with suppliers of products;

  10. Purchase equipment and furniture;

  11. Plan and carry out an advertising campaign.

However, in order to open a restaurant in a small town, you need to take into account some nuances. These features can significantly affect the success of your business.

The specifics of catering in small towns can be represented as an assessment of the pros and cons of their location. So we will outline the strengths and weaknesses of the project, pay attention to important nuances in order to avoid mistakes.

Advantages of opening a restaurant in a small town:

1. Low competition

Competition in small cities is much weaker than in large cities. And the matter is not only in the number of establishments, but also in the level of professionalism of restaurateurs. It is necessary to recognize this pattern: in cafes in small towns, service is worse, cuisine is simpler, concepts are limited.

If you are new to the restaurant business, then in a less competitive environment you will be more likely to succeed. Based on economic considerations, opening an institution in a small town is less risky: you do not have to spend money on rent and a powerful advertising campaign.

2. Less demanding guests

Since competition in small towns is low, visitors to local establishments are less demanding. How can one form high expectations from a cafe if most of the local population simply has nothing to compare it with?

This allows restaurateurs to save on some articles and opens up a huge number of opportunities for gaining the location of visitors. After all, if you exceed the expectations of the guests, you will get regular customers.

Nevertheless, do not underestimate your guests. Even in the smallest cities, for visitors, a necessary condition for regular visits to cafes is delicious food for affordable money.

3. Less investment in opening

By opening a cafe in a small town, you will save on almost all expense items. It will be cheaper to rent a room - and, by the way, it is easier to find a suitable room with a convenient location in the center. Since the occupancy rate of establishments is lower, less furniture, equipment and employees are required to work.

As a rule, the optimal number of seats in small cities is 50 seats.

In total, it turns out that opening an institution in a small city is much cheaper. If in a megalopolis you can hardly meet 2 million rubles, then here you can safely start with 500 thousand rubles in your pocket.

4. Great effect "word of mouth"

No matter how many advertising methods appear, or better, word of mouth has not yet come up with anything. And this tool works especially well in the restaurant business. In small towns, the dissemination of information using word of mouth is much more effective, because here everyone knows everything about each other. A friend’s opinion is trusted more than a catchy advertising sign. Another plus of word of mouth is that you do not have to spend money on advertising, it happens as a natural process. But for it to work for you, you need to ensure the main condition - a decent level of the institution, which will have something to tell. Because word of mouth can just as easily destroy the reputation of an institution if something goes wrong. Therefore, you should keep the bar. It is often possible to observe how, six months after the opening, a restaurant begins to raise prices, neglect the freshness of dishes, reduce the quality of service due to staff turnover, etc. You should be a good restaurant, not play a role.

And what will make visitors talk about you? Firstly, for a small town, the opening of a new institution is already an event that can be discussed. Secondly, delicious and unusual dishes on the menu will also become an occasion. Thirdly, a person can recommend your institution if you offer delicious food at affordable prices. For most, the fulfillment of these two criteria is decisive in decision making. Fourth, an interesting concept, nice interior, original "chips" - also an occasion to visit the institution itself and recommend it to friends.

5. Less bureaucracy

The restaurant business is one of the most difficult in terms of collecting documents. The list of papers required for the legal operation of the restaurant includes many items, and this list may vary in different regions.

But even after you have collected all the permits, the bureaucratic procedures do not end there. The restaurant business is controlled by many instances and, of course, each strives to come to you with a check.

Of course, you will not solve the problem of checks and documents if you open a restaurant in a small town. But at least simplify your life. As a rule, in large cities the number of inspection bodies is greater, and the norms and requirements are tougher. Learn more about the documents required to open a restaurant here.

6. Great importance in the life of the city

In small cities, the range of entertainment and the number of places where you can organize leisure is very small. Therefore, the opening of a good institution is an important event in the life of the city. The restaurant can become a place of cultural leisure, and a platform for interesting events, and even a local attraction.

Disadvantages of opening restaurants in small towns

Now we turn to the shortcomings and dangers that await restaurateurs working in small towns.

  1. Residents of small towns are less likely to eat out.

    This is due to many factors. Firstly, incomes in small towns are lower, which means that people have fewer opportunities to spend money on such entertainment. Secondly, the culture of public catering in small towns is less developed. Many are simply not used to the fact that you can eat out. The idea that going to a restaurant needs a special occasion - a birthday, a wedding and other holidays is still vivid. In big cities, everything is different: they can have breakfast there at the bakery, buy a business lunch for lunch, and go to dinner in the evening for a restaurant. In small towns, a food service culture is developing, but it is still far from the habits of a metropolis.

  2. Small market size

    A simple rule works here: the smaller the population of the city, the fewer potential visitors to the institution. In addition, factors such as low salaries and unformed eating habits make the market very narrow. It may seem that the restaurateur has nothing to catch in small towns. But this is far from the case.

    A small city is not a sentence for the restaurant business. Firstly, a small but regular audience can provide high revenue. Secondly, residents of nearby settlements may come to you. If the establishment is good, then it can attract non-native customers.

  3. Small labor market

    Another disadvantage that complicates the work is the lack of employees. This problem is encountered even in large cities, to say nothing of smaller ones. Finding a good cook in a small town is very difficult. And with the waiters it’s not easier. In large cities, waiters take students who work part-time in their free time. And to whom to offer such a position in a small town where there are no students? And there are not so many young people - everyone is striving for big cities. As a result, the choice in the labor market for a restaurateur is rather meager.

  4. Lack of service

    What is hidden under the phrase "good service"? Everyone speaks of this - in reference articles, in visitor reviews, in advertising ... But the idea that this is actually quite vague. Sometimes the owner of the institution himself can not clearly articulate the signs of good service, but for staff it is generally a dark forest.

    Good service, contrary to popular belief, is not only smiling and helpful waiters. This is a quick service, a pleasant emotional atmosphere, always clean dishes, well-groomed interior. Thus, high-quality service is a combination of factors in the service, which forms a favorable impression on the establishment of the visitor.

    We figured out the problem of "understanding" a good service. And then another one arises - and it is peculiar precisely to a cafe in small towns. In the advantages, we indicated low competition, but it is also the reason for the low-quality service. The logic is simple: high competition forces us to improve the quality of service, because otherwise visitors will leave for another institution. In a market where there are few participants, the idea “why complicate it if they come to us anyway because there is nowhere else” comes on. This kind of thinking is wrong and someday you will “come around” anyway.

    Creating a quality service is possible without significant costs. The main thing is to properly establish the production process.

  5. Undeveloped infrastructure

    In many cities, it is still difficult to find everything that is necessary for the smooth operation of the restaurant. To ensure this, suppliers of products, special equipment and so on are needed. As a result: you have to order equipment from afar - which means high transportation costs; food suppliers travel to a major city to purchase - and this is an extra charge and expensive ingredients. It is incredible, but true: sometimes the prices of products from suppliers vary so much that it is more profitable for a restaurant to cooperate with large suppliers from a large city than to buy from local ones. It is cheaper, although it complicates the process.

    Another disadvantage is the undeveloped outsourcing system. In large cities, such an organization of work can significantly save and simplify business. For example, in an outsourcing restaurant, an accountant, a cleaning lady, and a process engineer can work. This would be especially true with a small workload. But in a small town, you are unlikely to have the opportunity to delegate certain functions to outsourcing. You will have to hire all the specialists in the staff and pay them salaries on an ongoing basis.

    In this regard, restaurateurs from small towns come to the idea of ​​opening several establishments in the same territory. This allows you to allocate costs for the maintenance of low-employed employees and provide them with full workload.

  6. If you are not local, you will have to move

    Often you can meet restaurateurs who are fleeing from large cities to develop their business into smaller ones. They expect that the benefits of working in a small town will make business easier and more profitable. But in order to directly participate in the life of the institution, you must move. And not everyone will decide on this. Do not have illusions about the remote control - nothing good will come of it. The owner of the restaurant should always keep abreast and take an active part in the life of his establishment. Otherwise, success cannot be achieved.

    You can hardly find a bona fide, competent manager in a small town to delegate most of his functions to him. Therefore, it is recommended that you develop your business where you live.

Tips for opening a restaurant in a small town

Some tips for those who decide to open a restaurant in a small town.

Concept . Even a mini-cafe with inexperienced visitors needs a concept. Firstly, the organization of the entire institution depends on it: menu, number of employees, interior, advertising, etc. Secondly, an interesting concept will make your institution more attractive and popular. There is not so much entertainment in a small town, so a family restaurant with a games room or a youth art cafe can be your advantage and attract not only local residents, but also guests from neighboring settlements.

However, here you need to make out one nuance. Originality, of course, is good, but you can also go too far with it. When thinking up a concept for your institution, always remember your target audience. Not every concept can take root in a small city. For example, a Chinese restaurant with expensive dishes is not your option. Like a restaurant with molecular cuisine. In this situation, it is important to find a solution that will be original in the market, but will be clear to the target audience. Study the situation in foreign markets, where new ideas and concepts of catering establishments come to us from.

What else needs to be considered when defining a concept?

  • Keep in mind that your personal tastes and preferences are secondary. In the first place is the opinion of restaurant marketing experts and the real situation on the market.

  • In recent years, fast food establishments have been popular. Even in a crisis, they are actively developing. Today they earn democratic cafes and restaurants. And this is especially true for small cities.

  • In choosing a concept, focus on consumer demand. What is missing in your city at the moment? Which establishments in your city are most visited? You can conduct a survey: among friends and their acquaintances, in social groups of the city, in city forums. So gather information about what is now in demand. Perhaps any specific format is suitable for your city, the opening instructions for which can be found on clogicsecure.com: cafe-pie, cafe-pancake, pizzeria, cafe-dumpling, barbecue.

Features menu. The success of a restaurant in a small town largely depends on regular customers. Therefore, you should open institutions whose dishes you want to eat regularly, and not just try for fun. Make a menu based on this rule.

Location In a small town, all active life is concentrated in the center. This is where parks, shops and other leisure facilities are usually located. Somewhere in the area you need to find a place for your restaurant. The rental price will be democratic in any case, so do not save. A well-chosen place will bring you many visitors and lower advertising costs.

Prices . High prices scare visitors away. In small cities, the incomes of the population are small, and not everyone is ready to spend an impressive amount from their budget, no matter how beautiful your institution may be. Therefore, it is better to bet on affordable prices. So you will win the client and will receive revenue through regular visits.

Additional services . Be sure to include additional services in your institution. They can bring another 30-40% profit. What services are we talking about? Banquets or children's parties (depending on the concept of the institution), delivery (the service is relevant even in small cities, since products are usually given a discount). Also, the takeaway service is gaining popularity recently. This is a great option for visitors who buy dishes at a discount, and for you, because in this case you do not need to arrange delivery, worry about the crowded room, etc. Therefore, on additional services you can not only earn, but also simplify the work with their help.

To open a restaurant in a small town and make it successful is quite real. Comparing large and small cities, as a platform for the restaurant business, it is difficult to give any unambiguous assessment. In a small city, much easier and cheaper, but a large city opens up much greater prospects. But in both cases, you need to carefully plan each stage of the opening of the institution and control the whole process.

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Evgenia Yurkina

(c) www.clogicsecure.com - a portal to business plans and guidelines for starting a small business 08/18/2019

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