Why opening your second restaurant could be easier than your first

Building a successful restaurant in Toronto is no small thing, it takes time, effort, money, and no small amount of courage. The restaurant business is certainly not for the faint of heart. For those who put the hard work in, the thrill of seeing your restaurant’s tables full and lineups of customers outside can be intoxicating. It may lead naturally to thoughts of expansion. Surely opening a second location has got to be easier? You’ve done it all before and know what’s involved. Restaurant number two should be a breeze right?

Let’s dive in.

Is the time right?

You’ve made your restaurant a success, which is amazing given the state of the industry these days, but is this the right time to gamble all you’ve achieved on a new venture? You’ve learned a lot and gained great experience opening your first restaurant, which will help make things a lot easier this time round, but could you put yourself through all that again while still running your current restaurant? Could you really commit the necessary time and effort required to this new venture when you already have a harder than average full-time job?

Would your existing restaurant be able to support you?

You worked hard to achieve success with your current restaurant – could you rely on that business to support you financially as you prepare to open your second location? Perhaps so, if you truly believe you’re in a good position with your current business and have a healthy bank account which could cope with the daily running costs. Keep in mind that it’s not just about finances though – you will be relying on others to keep the restaurant running in your place. Would your team be able to cope, and do you trust them? Also, would your absence have a negative impact on the customer base that it took you so long to build?

Location Location Location

Of course, you won’t want the two restaurants to compete with one another and split your existing customer base. That’s why you need to choose the second location carefully. Are you looking to replicate your current restaurant in the new location, or do you have a different concept in mind? Whatever your answer to that question, could the new restaurant work in the location you are interested in? City neighbourhoods vary greatly in Toronto, as do clients and culture. Will your new restaurant, menu, and marketing plan appeal to clients in that new location?

Improving on what you achieved

As the old saying goes ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, so if your current restaurant is functioning just fine, maybe it’s best to leave it alone. But you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t thinking about taking a gamble, so if you really want to expand it’s time to take a hard look at your existing business. Can your new restaurant use that same business model, or can you improve on it? This is where restaurant technology. Maybe it’s time to consider implementing tech from the ground up.

Don’t forget your first restaurant!

It would be all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of creating your new restaurant, but don’t risk neglecting your original location. You put all that hard work and effort into building that restaurant and made a success of it, and that success has allowed you to move forward and expand. Your first restaurant will still need the same nurturing and support from you to remain profitable. The staff you have in place are one of your greatest assets; remember that they will still need your leadership, commitment, and enthusiasm. Your customer base that took so long to build will also expect things to remain the same as always and will be sensitive to any changes or neglect.

Time To Strike

All the experience you gained in building your first successful restaurant will of course make it easier to open a second location. If you feel confident, this could be a great time to strike. This industry is fickle, risk is part of the game, but that hasn’t stopped forward thinking restaurateurs in the past, and it won’t deter them in the future. It all comes down to you.

CHI is dedicated to keeping up with local and national trends in the Restaurant Industry to help serve our customers better and keep them one step ahead. If you are interested in opening, purchasing, or selling a restaurant CHI Real Estate can help. Get in touch with our team today.