5 Things You Should Consider When Opening A New Restaurant Post Covid-19
Updated: Jun 4
Are you a budding restauranteur who is considering setting up a new F&B establishment in the midst of COVID-19? Did you spot a gap in service you could potentially capture and figure that this is the best time for you to make your move?
Regardless of your motive, you have come to the right place if you are looking to start a business during this period. Here are 5 key points to take note of to increase the chances of your F&B business succeeding!
1. Brand Positioning
You need to have a clear idea of what the brand positioning of your business is before embarking on this venture. This is all the more crucial during this period as poor delivery or execution of certain factors will almost definitely result in prolonged losses.
What will your main product be? With the recent heightened alert, dining in is no longer an option which means that your main revenue stream will be through delivery and take-away orders. The food product you want to focus on must be suitable for this format of sales, be it through presentation, taste, or texture.
Will your food still retain its taste and presentation upon consumption?
One of the biggest headaches for restauranteurs is maintaining the quality of their food throughout the delivery process or journey home for customers that opt for take-away. This problem is more apparent among establishments that offer soup-based noodles. It is close to impossible to maintain the integrity and texture of noodles – especially handmade ones – even after being packed separately due to the lead time between cooking and actual consumption. Some food that are best enjoyed steaming hot such as dim sum also will have their taste compromised. It is preferable that your product of choice is suitable for this delivery-dominant era.
CBD footfall dropped significantly. Cr: The Straits Times
F&B establishments in the CBD area were hit the hardest during the circuit breaker. This can solely be attributed to their target market – office workers in the area who all shifted to working from home. You have to ensure that the customers you want to target will not stop patronage entirely in the case of further preventive measures being taken by the government.
Several F&B establishments have made a name for themselves by focusing and perfecting on certain areas of their business. Some have even become synonymous with it – Haidilao with its impeccable service, Din Tai Fung and their delicious Dim Sum etc. These restaurants have established a competitive advantage for themselves by distinguishing themselves from their competition. However, some competitive advantages are not going to be as effective with the dining restrictions. Keep this in mind when making plans on what to focus on and develop into a competitive advantage in the future!
2. Sufficient Capital
It’s common for restaurants to incur losses or barely breakeven in their first few months of operation, even pre-COVID. The situation currently is less than ideal for new restaurants, so ensure that you have sufficient capital to tide you over this period of instability and potential lack of profits. A cushion of 3 to 6 months’ worth of operating expenses is recommended.
3. Packaging Design
Innovate to stand out from the rest.
The F&B industry is heavily leaning towards take-aways and deliveries as the de facto sales model and there is a sudden emphasis placed on packaging design. Function, aesthetics and branding are all factors to take into account when you look to stand out from the rest. Work on coming up with a unique, attractive packaging that’s memorable and it’ll help you get off to a good start.
4. Retail Channels
Every restauranteur needs to have multiple retail channels besides for your physical store such as websites, chat groups and social media pages etc. These channels serve as a way for you to advertise and update your customers on the newest promotions or dishes. It also helps promote interaction and can generate sales through enquiries or placement of orders.
An example of a successful chat group set up by a F&B business is LiHo’s telegram group called BossHappyDeal, which has grown from a small discussion channel into an announcement and sharing platform with over 13,000 followers. These followers are updated through a constant stream of posts on the new product releases or discount codes. There are also polls asking about favourite milk tea flavours, encouraging interaction and building rapport with their followers.
The F&B industry has always struggled with recruitment, more so with the local crowd. With gradually tightening manpower laws and the declining quota for foreign workers, this is a huge area of concern for restauranteurs. Furthermore, COVID-19 has made the situation even more dire as foreigners are reluctant to travel to Singapore due to the costs associated with 2 weeks of mandatory self-quarantine.
Ensure that you have sufficient manpower before opening a restaurant as it’s unlikely that recruitment will get any easier in the near future.
Still Rearing To Go?
There’s no right or wrong time to set-up a business, so don’t let the circumstances deter you from doing what you want to. With the proper measures in place and ample planning, it is still very possible for a restaurant to become successful in these trying times. You can take a look at how to set up your F&B business here, with every step listed out in detail.
All the best!