Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Graphic and Web Site Design for your Restaurant

Who doesn't have it these days - blogs, twitter, facebook, linkedin, myspace, web sites, logos, branding, marketing...? The competition is fierce, especially in a sluggish economy. The more you can get your identity out there the more success you'll see. Now it doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg, but that's your choice.

For budget marketing the internet is great! A web site for a reputable company is a must and if your web site is "search engine optimized" you are likely to be seen. Blog pages to have more interaction with your customers not only shows your interest in them, but is also a great link to your web site.

I haven't tried Twitter yet, but I hear it too is still growing strong especially to get a quick notice out to a ton of people and to promote links to web sites.

What you have on your web site is equally important to keep customers coming to you. In the restaurant business I've seen menus posted, daily specials, events, merchandise for sale, online reservations... you name it. Take a look at them. Always check out your competition.

Feel free to contact us at National Restaurant Design where we have a new special right now. Our professional design staff will design or redesign your logo for free when we design your menu or web site. I don't know for how long we will offer this special, but give me a call to discuss.

Get busy and promote your great business!

Frank Stocco, Restaurant Consultant and Designer of National Restaurant Design

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Bottom Line

If the food service concept is sound and the location is conducive to that concept the rest is purely mathematical and somewhat scientific. Making money will largely depend on your ability to create an honest business model before you make the decision to move forward with your food service establishment. Most restaurants fail before the day they first open their doors for business. Build a REAL business model based on rent, infrastructure costs, architectural and legal costs, furnishings, advertising, taxes, food and liquor costs, labor and other associated costs. Based on a hypothetical worst case scenario sales projection, can you still profit? We have done restaurant design work for some of the best Chefs and restaurateurs in the country. Some have failed because their business model was not REAL. Do your home work. There are great profits in this industry.

Frank Stocco, Restaurant Designer & Consultant
651-464-5072

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Restaurant Start Up

The economy is picking up. People want to make money and the "restaurant start ups" are happening again. That's good news for all of us in the business of serving as consultants and restaurant designers, plus it's great news for you who are anxious to get into the business of making money with your own restaurant. Be sure to read some of the past blogs for information on how to get started with your new restaurant. The last thing you want to do in jump in cold turkey. Do your due diligence first in choosing a restaurant consultant or just call me for a free consult. I'll set you on the right path for your restaurant success.

Frank Stocco
National Restaurant Design
www.nationalrd.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer - A Great Time for Planning Your Restaurant

Granted many businesses slow down in the summer months while people relax and vacation. But, what better time is there than now to gather the info you need to start your new restaurant, cafe, coffee shop, bar, or other food facility.

With concept in hand, grab your phone and your notepad to contact a restaurant consultant or restaurant designer first. First things first are the concept plan and the drawing of your space. These you will need for the next steps with the city for approvals, the contractors, and the equipment companies for bids.

While you are working on your layout drawings with a designer you can be putting together a list of contractors for building, equipment companies, a graphic designer for your logo, menu, signage and web site, an interior designer if needed for colors and furnishings, etc.

In this day and age with email, text messages, twitter and facebook, directory listings and the like, the best and most productive contacts are still by phone or face to face. So, while you are sitting by the pool relaxing, grab your phone and start talking to people. You can nurse your tan and work toward making money in your new business.

Frank Stocco, Restaurant Consultant and Designer
National Restaurant Design Co.
651-464-5072

Monday, May 18, 2009

Business is beginning to pick up for those of us in the restaurant consulting and design area. Especially the Eastern United States. That area certainly does set trends, so the trend for new restaurant business is looking hopeful since the many months of recession we've seen. No one can sit back for too long. Who isn't wanting to make money?

With the recession though we have made some changes in our business to attract more business, and that is to offer graphic design services such as logo design, menu design and web site design. We are hearing that more restaurant entreprenuers are looking for interior design help too, so that is an addition to our services at National Restaurant Design Co.

But the long and the short of it is that business is looking up and we hope for the best for all you restaurant people. It's such a fabulous and exciting industry to be a part of.

Frank Stocco
Consultant and Designer
National Restaurant Design Co. - http://www.nationalrd.com/

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Small Business Administration

Good news from the government stimulus package. SBA 504 loans are @ 5.25 percent interest rates. The federal government is reducing the loan acquisition fee in order to attract small business. They are also guaranteeing 90% of the loan. Small business makes up 80% of all business and employs over 60% of the population. We hear constantly about big business and the bailouts. The federal government loves small business. They are never asked to be bailed out and are generally to small to effect the economy. In a recent interview, the fed is going to make every effort to promote small business and reduce the liability of having businesses too big to fail. SBA is very friendly to food service establishments. The deals that are out there are too good to pass up. If you have the resources now is the time.

Frank Stocco

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Is Now The Time

A big Yes. The government is now in the process of upping the guarantees for small business (SBA) loans to 90%. That greatly reduces the risks to the banking industry which may enable you to secure financing. Landlords along with contractors and equipment dealers are striking incredible deals. The fast casual food service sector is doing extremely well while white table cloth restaurants are still struggling. That all makes sense.

Check out our restaurant design services. We design according to your budget. We also design strategically. This is huge. We eliminate needless plumbing and electrical rough-ins which can cost thousands of dollars.

Frank Stocco

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tough times for all. I hope everyone is hanging in there. It seems that restaurant sales are holding up. What is apparent though, is the lack of new start-up Ma and Pa restaurants. We are discovering that even large chain restaurants are having a hard time securing financing. There are many ways to raise funds to open a restaurant. If the funds are available, now is the time. Landlords are giving massive incentives for leasing, restaurant equipment companies are marking up equipment packages well under 10%. Contractors, plumbers and electricians are taking jobs almost at cost to keep the cash flow going.

Fast casual and fast food restaurants are cashing in on the population switching form fine dining to moderately priced restaurants. The food service industry historically has not been greatly affected by a bad economy. If you can, do it now.

We have been involved in studies that are trying to determine the reason for the large percentage of restaurants that close months after opening. Our findings have been unexpected. We always have been aware that one of the big reasons for restaurant failure is the restaurateur's lack of knowledge. They simply did not have a clue about running a restaurant. What we have discovered unexpectedly is that the great majority of people opening restaurants are highly qualified. So where did they go wrong? They did not know how to open the restaurant. Our great discovery is that most of the mistakes occur before the restaurant is open. The problem with pre-opening mistakes is that they are extremely costly. This is an undisputed fact. If you are opening a sports bar and you have made $30,000.00 worth of pre-opening mistakes you will not have enough funds to finish the project properly. It could quite honestly cost you your audio-visual system. That would substantially destroy the customer experience. Why do restaurants fail? The big reason; an extremely poor customer experience.

I am co-authoring an instruction manual to eliminate pre-opening mistakes. It is geared towards not only first-timers but also the most seasoned restaurant veterans. The goal is to help restaurateurs establish a pre-opening budget and stick to it. The only way to establish a pre-opening budget is to completely understand all of the requirements and issues that have a big effect on costs. Again, we know factually that the majority of mistakes are made prior to opening resulting in quick failure. I anticipate the publishing date of the instruction manual will be in early summer. Stay tuned.

Frank Stocco

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy New Year News.

Happy New Year. I hope for all that this will be a profitable new year in the restaurant business, especially. This year will be full of challenges but also full of unbelievable opportunities. Prices have come down on everything related to the restaurant business if you are a good negotiator. Landlords have considerably reduced the rental rates, equipment suppliers are writing packages well under the percentage rate that they are accustomed to, the cost of construction materials have dropped along with contractors costs. Like the housing market, if you have the money, there are extraordinary deals out there for you restaurant entrepeneurs.

The casual, fast casual and fast food segments of the food service industry have remained fairly strong throughout the country. We work with great companies like Hooters. Their revenues are staying strong. White-tablecloth is struggling a bit. They rely on white-collar big business for much of their weekday clientele.

There are ways of raising money to open a restaurant. The main thing is to have a great business plan to present to perspective investors, banks, landlords and leasing companies. In the business plan you must have a clear vision of your concept, a concept drawing and at least 3 years of financial projections. Because of the glutton of space available your land lord is a great source of money.

A few things we know for sure:
1. People are going to continue to eat. The casual sector of the food service industry will stay strong.
2. Rent and services can be negotiated to receive exceptionally good values.
3. If operated frugally, the restaurant and food service industry is extremely profitable. I know this may sound crazy but this is the time to open a restaurant.

I would love to encourage all to participate in our restaurant consulting blog. I would like for this to be a forum for the exchange of ideas. We are all in this together. There are so many wonderfully talented people in our industry. Your input can be valuable to someone's success as well as your own.

We will be starting our series on restaurant design trends starting this Monday. I look forward to a fun year.

Frank Stocco