Getting Started In Hospitality — What You Need To Do First

If you’ve got passion and drive to start a business in the hospitality industry, then why not get started? Many entrepreneurs target this type of business because it is customer facing. You can immediately identify what is working and pleasing to the customer. You can also see immediately what isn’t working. Best of all you get feedback face to face. While this kind of work is ideally suited to a ‘people person’, anyone can get started and make it work. Of course, there are a few things you need to do before that all-important launch:

The Big Idea

Hospitality is a huge industry and is worth billions of dollars. Where will you fit in? What is your big idea? You might choose to produce and sell smoothies. But where will you sell them? Are you going to be a street vendor or will you have a smoothie bar in the city center? The logistics of your business idea might determine the premises required. After all, you’ll need to power your ice machine and your blender. If you sell hot food, you’ll need power for the oven or stove. And food will need to be stored safely in a refrigerator.

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Jot down all of your ideas, and try to narrow them down to three or four that really interest you. Consider the working conditions, and the initial outlay for equipment, vans, or premises. Now you need to do your research. Find out who is already in your local area providing a similar service. Is there a gap in the market you can fill by choosing different products, or a different place to market? Once you refined your business proposition, you’re ready to start figuring out the finer details.

Certify

Make sure you are qualified to work in the food and drinks industry. There are many food hygiene, health and safety, and alcohol permits to apply for. The easiest way to find out what you need is to talk to your local government office. They will be able to steer toward the right department to manage your applications. The certification you need will vary from place to place. Make sure you have the right licenses for your local area.

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Investment

If you’re new to the business world, you might find it quite difficult to raise funds from a lender like a bank. You can try crowdfunding a product (via Kickstarter or Indiegogo) that would benefit the type of people who often visit those kinds of websites. You might also be able to find business partners willing to take a share of your business. In all of these cases, you must have a detailed business plan and proposal. You must prove your qualification and experience is relevant to make this business work.

Premises and Equipment

The hospitality industry relies on fit for purposes premises that attract the type of customer you’re catering for. If you want to sell home-made ice-cream, your customers will need a family-friendly diner-style venue. You might need to consider how the kids that come in can be entertained while they’re there. Of course, if you’re producing and selling ales and beers, then an adults-only bar with music and sports screens might be more appropriate.

Of course, you will also need the equipment to produce the food and drink you are selling. All of this needs to be in place and working before you can launch. It might also need to be inspected by your local authority, so allow time for this. Training for use may also be required for your employees. Finally, you need to put your brand on the door. Your business name is only half of it. The rest is in the font, colors, and other design elements.

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Marketing

You should have a website up and running before your launch event. This is the first thing people will look for when they receive their invitation or opening notification. Set up your social media pages, and start posting to your website every day. If you’re selling pizzas, talk about the health benefits of some of the toppings. If you’re opening a milkshake bar, talk about the farms where you source the milk. There are plenty of relevant topics you can choose from.

Remember, you’re in the hospitality business. Your bar or restaurant should be about a pleasant experience as much as good food or drink. Make sure that brand message is present in all your adverts and campaigns. Make people feel welcome from the moment you open your doors. Don’t forget to offer customers a great reason to come back again soon.

Your Food Retail Business: What Customers Want

Of all the many kinds of business that you can run, it can be difficult to choose between them. This can be especially true when you are just starting out, as you don’t have the necessary experience to know what is likely to work and what is not so likely.

However, there are certain industries where you have a fair chance of going for something that will at least from a reputable business pretty quick. One particular example of this is the food and drink retail industry. People are always going to need food, and as long as you can provide a relatively competitive framework, there is no reason your business won’t succeed. Let’s have a look at how to ensure your food business really booms.

Decide on a Model

There are a million ways to sell anything, and that definitely includes food. When you are setting out in this, you will need to know quite clearly what kind of model your business is going to use. It is only when you know your model that you can expect to begin selling. You want to go for something that you have faith will work in your area. All businesses begin local, and thinking locally will help ensure that yours gets off on the right foot. It might be that you want to run a budget supermarket, catering to those who are unable to afford some of the upper class supermarkets. Or you might just want to run a little bistro selling only your own goods. Whatever way you do it, decide on it early and stick with it.

Take Care of Your Products

The food that you sell is paramount for your success to really happen, so you need to take care in your products from the very start. Treat each product well, and you will find that it makes a huge difference. Try not to rush anything through the development stages — if you do this, you might find that you end up with products which are not really suitable at all. One of the most important parts is the packaging — you need to make sure that you have got it just right for each product, keeping it as specific as possible. This means using proper coffee pouches for your coffee, the right shaped pods for ready meals, vacuum packed bags for crisps, and so on. Everything has its own kind of packaging for a reason, so be sure to remember that and treat each product with respect.

Listen to Your Customer

As we all know, the customer is always right and it was actually in the world of food retail that this idiom began. It’s true — if you want to succeed, you should run your business as though the customer is always right. You will find that this makes a huge difference to how well you do on the whole, and you can make it much easier to keep your customer happy. With any luck, you will soon be booming like you never imagined.

12 Tips to Successfully Design a Restaurant Menu

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So my first restaurant menu design project just happened to be with one of my favourite restaurants in Jamaica called Jack Sprat Restaurant. It’s an ultra cool space to hangout with great food and a great atmosphere sitting right next to the ocean; very picturesque. It also just happens to be world famous too.

When I was asked to take on this design assignment, I was extremely ecstatic because it was an opportunity for work, but more importantly it was for a place I’ve spent many hours making memories and having experiences.

Here was my approach to the project and perhaps there are a few tips in here that might be useful to you in case you too ever land a similar design job:

  1. Always remember, its a collaborative effort with your client even if they’ve given you free rein.
  2. Research as much as possible. Google is your best friend.
  3. Try to understand your client’s needs. Ask pointed questions.
  4. Find inspiration from existing menus.
  5. If the restaurant has an existing menu, look at how you can improve the entire thing.
  6. Layout is important, but (food) categorisation is integral to a well-designed menu!
  7. If a brand and identity exists for your client’s restaurant, try to preserve it in your updated design.
  8. Simplicity continues to be “…the ultimate sophistication.” (Leonardo da Vinci).
  9. Never include the dollar sign ($) or currency equivalent in front of prices; psychologically it affects the customer’s purchasing decisions.
  10. Include all the important details about the restaurant: opening hours, accepted payment methods and a back-story (optional).
  11. Imagery is a plus. Try to get some good photographs of the restaurant, food, drinks, etc.
  12. Proof read! Better yet, get a fresh pair of eyes to help you.

Good luck!

Fun Fact: Jack Sprat Restaurant was named after the famous English language nursery rhyme.

What are your best tips? Leave a comment below and keep the knowledge exchange going.

The True “Weight” of a Simple Piece of Paper.

“Keep It Simple, Stupid!” is an approach I firmly believe in especially as a graphic designer. Simplicity always seem to trump complexity when it relates to impact. For this reason I felt it was important for me to share this story and this amazing product that is impacting and changing our world for the better.

This inventor has stumbled on an idea that in retrospect appears so simple, it seems as though anyone could have created it. However, I would not agree with that assumption since she’s the only one who has ever conceptualised, patent and developed it into an actual product.

Kavita-Shukla

Meet Kavita M. Shukla, the Inventor and Founder/CEO of Fenugreen. She’s described as “a pioneer in the movement towards sustainable, active, natural food packaging”. I think she definitely deserves to be called a “pioneer” solidified by her mission of “Fresh for ALLand business model that promotes ‘corporate social responsibility (CSR)’ through its “Buy a pack, give a pack” campaign. After you watch this TEDxTalks video via YouTube, you too will that this young inventor is truly a pioneer.

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