5 things to think about when taking over a restaurant

You’ve found a booming business and you’ve put in an offer to take it over – congratulations! But before you exchange contracts and receive the keys, it’s important that you take a few things into consideration. After all, buying a restaurant is much more than buying a business – you’re buying into a family and a team of hardworking staff and a bunch of loyal customers.

Below, we’ve rounded up five things to take into account when taking over a restaurant.

Putting your own mark on the place

Perhaps one of the most important things you’ll want to think about is putting your own mark on the place, without stepping on the toes of those who are leaving. The chances are that you have your own idea of how things should be run, but it’s critical that you introduce any changes after consulting with your team to avoid upset. The last thing you’d want to happen is for you to introduce a whole host of changes, only for your entire team to turn against you.

Getting to grips with management

On the same note, getting to grips with management is critical. You should meet with every member of staff to understand their role, responsibility, and areas they think could be improved upon. Ask for your employees’ honest feedback – if they’re unhappy with their front of house manager or head chef, it’ll be your responsibility to put things right and keep everyone happy. Let quibbles continue, and you could face long-term staffing challenges.

Understanding staffing

Assess current staff levels at your restaurant and decide whether you need to make changes to improve performance. Perhaps you have too many front of house staff and not enough hands behind the scenes? Consider working with catering recruitment agencies like Flourish to find the right talent for your business – if the previous owners have struggled to maintain high-quality staff, it may even mean that you have to build a team from the ground up.

Making changes to the menu

Making your mark should go beyond management and interiors – you should also review the current menu and consider making changes. Remove dishes that aren’t performing or require lots of unique ingredients, and add your own twist on classics. Remember that your kitchen team will be used to doing things a certain way, so get their feedback before you come in with sweeping new ideas as you could alienate them, impacting on staff morale.

Marketing new management

Finally, decide whether you want to tell the world that your restaurant is under new management. Tread carefully, here; if you’re taking over an establishment with bad reviews and reputation, then an ‘under new management sign’ or even a rebrand and name change could work well, but if you shout too loudly about new management at an already-successful joint, patrons could be disappointed if they see too many changes and may look elsewhere.

We wish you the very best of luck with your new restaurant. Work hard, be prepared for every eventuality, and remember that you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel – if it’s working, stick with it, and only make changes that will improve your food, experience, and profit margins.