Are you opening a new restaurant or bar? Whether you’re a first time restaurateur or crazy enough to go through this process again, NECG’s Critical Path is an invaluable resource that walks operators through the opening process from Dirt-to-Digital. The Critical Path is designed to a) keep you on task b) create a budget for your project and c) achieve a smooth opening.
A restaurant consultant with considerable experience in new restaurant openings is a key component in launching a successful restaurant. They will guide the restaurateur in all aspects of creating a concept from inception to opening so that you can achieve optimum operational efficiency to maximize profitability and minimize delays. They become the glue and the conscience of the project.Meet This Expert
Legal - Business
A business attorney is fundamental to have in place when developing a restaurant. It is beneficial to consult with an attorney for things such as initial business plan, and business formations. You will need to file incorporation documents which can take from a few weeks to a month or two in order to be finalized. Also, if not immediately, shortly thereafter initial ideas and development of the restaurant, the owners will need to enter into numerous contracts as the development continues. A business attorney can review those contracts and/or draft contracts to assist in that process.Meet This Expert
At the time the restaurateur contemplates a new or updated project the Architect will get into their mind and heart to bring the dream to life. The Design concept will be key to the success. We prepare rendered plans and realistic walk thrus, after which time we prepare final drawings used for permits and construction. Good Design Doesn’t Just happen!
In today's food culture, the majority of your customers are going to experience your restaurant for the first time visually. Via your website, storefront signage, or through social media. It is no longer as much about your food as it is about your overall image. You need to look the part and convey your image.When you study the restaurants that are thriving in today's saturated market, you will find that all have made their visual brand / identity a priority. Consistency is the key to developing brand loyalty. By reinforcing the brand within various collateral pieces such as; signage, menus, website, marketing materials, staff shirts, etc, you will be on the road to establishing your brand and maintaining key positioning within the market.Meet This Expert
Most of your customers will encounter you on the internet before they walk through your doors. Upon meetings with your architect, you should have a good sense of the aesthetic and direction you’re going in. Establishing your brand and setting up a temporary holding page will start to create a buzz and allowing people to know about your pending opening, job openings, etc. This will also allow you to get noticed on search engines during the build out of your brick-and-mortar and your website. Additional needs like business cards, coasters, menus, exterior and interior signage, print materials, and web design can also be executed during this time, maintaining brand consistency.Meet This Expert
Having a good kitchen layout can make or break the success of your operations. Trained experts can assist in the design and flow of how a kitchen should work. Without this, the efficiency of your kitchen is drastically reduced. Depending on the concept, a good kitchen designer can guide the client to finding the right equipment and discuss latest trends and technologies on the market. Additionally, a good kitchen designer will assist and guide you with general rules on what health departments and current codes are.Meet This Expert
Time is money when you want to open a restaurant, bar or nightclub. It is important to work with someone who can guide you through the application process to obtain a liquor license. A hospitality attorney and/or permit specialist can make sure the process flows efficiently and timely so you can get your location open and start making money.Meet This Expert
Insurance coverage is needed prior to signing a lease as it is imperative to have the insurance provisions reviewed by an insurance professional. Prior to construction, make sure the proper builder’s risk policy and liability insurance limits are in place. Approximately 2 months before opening, review your projected payroll, sales, and business personal property requirements in order for your insurance broker to obtain the broadest coverages at the most competitive pricing to ensure the protection of your new restaurant venture.Meet Our Experts
As soon as the business bank account is opened, accountants and bookkeepers need to contacted. Cash investments, loans, lines of credit, capital expenses, and any other carrying costs need to be recorded. You will then connect your payroll service, point of sale solution, and credit card (merchant) services to the system put in place. Sales and expenses will carry through as operations begin. From the reports generated, income tax returns are filed, sales tax is filed and paid, workman’s compensation audits are managed and so much more.Meet This Expert
Networking and IT Infrastructure
Throughout the construction process, a restaurant's Networking and IT Infrastructure must be included in the building's overall internal electrical / digital footprint. Your tech support team will work closely with your contractor / electrician to properly design your overall basework needed to ensure that the proper connections and equipment have been integrated into the overall design plan of your space. The essential need for IT services within restaurants is more crucial now than ever before. With today’s environment, PCI compliance mandates and cybercrime is overwhelming. Cybercrime is initiated through the internet and focused on wireless access points, point of sales devices, and computer systems storing billing and client information. In addition, today’s mobile landscape requires Mobile Web applications, providing an easy to use customer experience intended for ordering, scheduling renovations and insight into special events. To ensure performance, scalability and security, it is best to initiate IT services prior to build out or renovations in order for cabling and infrastructure to be designed and integrated properly.Meet This Expert
CO2 is required for any fountain beverage system to carbonate and propel the product to the fountain/bar gun. CO2 and Nitrogen are needed for draught beer systems to balance and propel the beer to the taps. In a new construction setting it is good to discuss equipment placement when the beer cooler and soda system are being located.
Point of Sale Equipment
Point of Sale (POS) equipment and the service that is provided in support of your business's central ordering hub is an essential part of both front and back of the house operations. Your ordering system is the communication source between your waitstaff and your kitchen and bar, as well as the information resource for your bookkeeper.
Hiring the right management staff is critical to your success. You want to be thinking about your management structure and plan to recruit and hire the best talent available. Be mindful of the long lead-times involved in recruiting, reviewing resumes, reference checking, multiple interviews, offer stage, employment leave notices and training periods so that you hit Opening Day fully staffed and fully trained. Our Recruiting experts will take much of this off your hands so that you can focus on getting your restaurant operational. Our experts will take the time to fully understand your staffing requirements, company culture, interview process and traits and characteristics that you are looking for in a successful and top performing employee and then develop a mutual game plan to provide you with A+ candidates to interview.
Having the right equipment in the kitchen is like an artist having the right paints and brushes. There are thousands of options, styles, price points, and variations of equipment and smallwares on the market. Get properly outfitted with the advice of an expert. An expert will help decipher the pros and cons of each product and help make the correct decisions for what works for your concept. Using the right equipment and smallwares will make the prep, cooking, and presentation more efficient for your entire staff.Meet This Expert
Signage and On-Site Advertising
Due to the strict, and ever changing permitting and town review process, it's important to bring in a sign expert who is skilled in creating custom marketing and promotional signage for your building, property, and even in-house communication needs. In addition to the creative the process, special attention will need to be paid to zoning restrictions and even landlord guidelines. Your signage expert will work closely with your marketing team to ensure consistent and effective branding throughout.Meet This Expert
Payroll / HR Services
Restaurant Payroll can be complicated and time-consuming. Federal and State tax procedures, deposit schedules, along with very specific reporting for restaurants are practically impossible to keep up with. As a restaurateur, you should have easy to read reports for your Payroll register, Tips to Minimum, Tip Sign-Off and Tip Allocation. Are you taking advantage of the FICA Tip Credit? This can save you hundreds of dollars. Your employees are your biggest asset. How are you managing them to proper Dept. of Labor standards? Do you have an Employee handbook with your company policies outlined in detail? If you do not know of these reports, you should reach out to our expert for more details.Meet This Expert
Public Relations is the art of getting the right information to the right people. From a pre-opening press release to set the tone before others have a chance to muddy the waters or confuse the public, to laying down a strong PR foundation; PR is crucial to the success of a restaurant. In addition to media exposure, a cohesive marketing and promotions campaign will ensure that your restaurant remains top of mind – and in the public eye across many platforms.Meet This Expert
A strong social media campaign across many platforms is an integral part of a restaurant’s overall marketing, public relations, and online presence. Its real-time ability to capture an audience’s attention and function as a centralized hub for your restaurant to communicate is invaluable. Implementing a strong social media campaign right out of the gate, and, YES, even before you open, will assist with gaining loyal followers. Relevant, newsy, and attractive posts keep them coming back for more.Meet This Expert
Marketing - Email/Direct
Email marketing is a great way to communicate with customers and patrons – stay in touch, announce specials, offer loyalty incentives, cross-sell catering or other services – all accomplished inexpensively with programs such as Constant Contact email marketing. Working with a certified provider who can offer services ranging from getting restaurateurs set up on a do-it-yourself program, to full support with content, contacts, and campaigns, will ensure a well rounded marketing campaign that works in tandem (and enhances) your social media, web site, and digital platforms.
Video has the power to emotionally connect and engage like no other medium. Beautifully produced video content gives you an edge, especially in a saturated restaurant market. Stand out and stay top of mind with video content of all types - from a simple loop for your website to short ads for online advertising and peeks into the sights and sounds of the kitchen for your social media pages. Customers are hungry for video. Give them what they crave.
Foodservice Distributors offer a wealth of information and assist in the success of your new restaurant. It’s important to have current info on market conditions and pricing, item seasonality and availability, regional trends, and product knowledge. Work with your food distributor on menu development and pricing, food cost analysis, food inventory, current market trends / pricing, and keep your finger on the pulse of the industry through your rep’s area knowledge of your market. Foodservice distributors are the lifeline to your restaurant, providing the necessary products needed to support your operation.
Menu - Bottled Water
Menu - Cheese Wholesale
If you are going to offer a cheese plate you need a cheesemonger to help you put together an appropriate selection, and also to provide high quality artisan cheese. Consumers today know the difference and many are seeking small batch artisan cheese and cheeses that are made locally. In addition, your staff needs to be able to answer questions more than just the name of the cheese. Engage a cheese monger who will educate your staff about the cheese, it's origin and nuances, as well as pairing suggestions - all of which will increase sales and credibility.
Menu - Coffee
Shearwater Organic Coffee Roasters is the premier small-batch gourmet coffee roaster in Fairfield County. Shearwater is the first and only USDA certified organic roaster in Fairfield County and specializes in developing 5 star culinary quality coffee and espresso service programs for the finest food establishments in the area. Shearwater helps restaurant and café owners and managers plan and select all the equipment and provides complete installation, training, maintenance and service.
Menu - Food
So many of today’s restaurants have the same menu item with a twist. These twists do not make you better or different. You blend in with the rest. As the industry remains highly competitive, the concept of delivering food to the consumer is becoming more and more innovative. A menu needs to cater to today’s changing lifestyles while cross utilizing products to lower the amount of inventory items all the while providing a unique experience that forms a lasting memory. Having a sumptuous menu that is unique will be your point of differentiation that will keep your guests coming back day after day.Meet This Expert
Menu - Wine & Spirits
Your Wine & Spirits Consultant will help you create and customize the wine and cocktail portions of your beverage program. From selecting wines for profitable glass pours, to creating a balanced bottle list or crafting an exciting cocktail menu that is on point with current trends, your wine consultant / provider works with your budget, while staying true to your concept, to develop and enjoyable and compelling beverage program..Meet This Expert
A great marketing image using print is an effective way to convey your image, either by sending out marketing peices to promote your location or by presenting a distinctive and polished menu that you are handing to a first time customer. It's critical that your brand is looking its best. Custom Apparel is also an effective tool to promote your business.Meet This Expert
Credit Card Processing
If your restaurant plans to accept credit cards you’ll need to choose a credit card processing company to accept them. 81 percent of the money spent in the U.S. at full-service restaurants in 2012 was charged to debit, credit, or pre-paid cards—an increase from 72 percent in 2006. If understood and managed correctly, your payment-card processing can add to greater profits with reasonable costs. Every credit card swipe can tell you remarkable things you can act on: how much each guest spends, how much they tip, when they visit…and you can even learn their name, demographic, and contact information.
Management of Food Inventory and Costs is a major critical path item and related processes need to be in place on or before doors open. Correspondingly, menu recipe costs are derived from defined menu portions and inventory unit cost data. Supplier purchases are based on weekly bid prices to ensure food costs are controlled and projected menu profitability is managed. Tracking of food costs help to minimize overbuying, portion control is maintained and inventory levels correspond with planned and actual sales levels.
Have your inventory management system in place from the moment you open your doors. The typical bar/restaurant loses between 20 and 30% of their inventory yearly due to theft, over-pouring, excessive comping, and carelessness. Profitability analysis and inventory is an important task which must be done weekly in order to match your sales with your usage. The best and most accurate way to accomplish this by weighing and counting your open and full bottles and kegs, logging your purchases and your sales so that you can determine your pour cost on all of these items. This will help determine the proper PAR Level (periodic automatic replenishment) in order to keep the right amount of inventory so that you don’t over order or run out.
Training - Beverage/Bar
A key component of a full serve restaurant, bar or night club is the talent and ability of the bartenders to consistently produce high quality, perfectly drawn beverages that meet all standards including cost control.Meet This Expert
Reduce waste, produce less garbage and potentially save money in carting fees. Contribute fresh, healthy food, a valuable commodity to the food insecure population, for immediate use. Your food donations can add up to a significant, end of year tax deduction. Enhance the appeal of your business in the community while making a real, quantifiable difference where your customers live and raise their families.Meet This Expert
A well-informed team member provides a firm foundation for a strong company. Every team member must understand who you are, where you came from, what the company expects and what he or she can expect as an important member of your team. In order to provide thorough, proper training a company must have a vision, the materials & manuals and the personnel to execute the program in its entirety. The objective is to develop a program that can be easily understood, executed efficiently and learned quickly. Training programs are designed with raising competency and comfort levels to aid the team member to perform at optimal levels.Meet This Expert