3 tips for the ultimate restaurant opening

By Greg Bell

If you thought starting a restaurant on the Gold Coast was hard, imaging doing so hours away from your suppliers. 

Just ask Robert Haken, owner of Beetoota Hotel in the remote Queensland outback. Haken has put in countless hours to transform the building he first visited 30 years ago into a top-notch venue; "We had to bring every nut, bolt, screw and plank of wood with us to the site," he explains. But there's just one thing missing: the booze. Although the Beetoota Hotel will open its doors in early July, the liquor licence won't arrive until the end of the month.  

This kind of thing is common in the food and beverage industry, where there's so much to be done before welcoming customers through the door. Of course you'll select prime commercial real estate and hire amazing staff, but what about the smaller details? If you're thinking of starting a restaurant or bar on the Gold Coast, don't forget these essential tasks prior to the big day. 

1. Ensure you're insured

When you're starting a new business, it's important to plan for the worst. At the beginning of trade, there are often kinks to iron out and cash flow gaps to deal with – particularly in the restaurant industry.

Fortunately, there are many insurance products to help keep you afloat. Before opening, look into these. Responsible hospitality business owners will purchase adequate cover for:

  • Product liability,
  • Property and contents,
  • Equipment breakdown, 
  • Deterioration of stock,
  • Workers compensation. 

2. Triple check for all permits and licences 

Take a leaf from Mr. Haken's book and make sure you've acquired all necessary permits and licences before it's time to serve customers. In the Gold Coast, hospitality businesses are required to have food and liquor licences as well as a food safety program accredited by the local government. 

Obtaining these licences isn't easy either. To apply for a food licence, you must submit the fee and two drawn-to-scale plans of your establishment as well as other supporting documentation. Queensland business owners must also ensure that they have a food safety supervisor on staff and that all food handlers have been trained sufficiently in food safety and hygiene. 

Different suburbs will also have licence requirements for things like outdoor seating, customer parking and so on. 

3. Hold a soft opening

There will be hiccups in the early days of any restaurant business. To iron these out, take things slow to start. 

Many hospitality businesses will hold soft openings prior to their grand debut. This is a chance to offer a limited number of customers a limited menu during limited hours. Soft openings can run for one night or an entire week. During this period, offer a small menu to a reservation-only crowd, giving you and your staff time to identify issues before being swamped in a major rush.

Getting the right help on board

If you're thinking about buying a property and starting a business on the Gold Coast, make sure you partner with the right commercial property manager. At Ray White Commercial Gold Coast, our team can look after the building so you can focus on what you do best: serving your customers. To learn more, reach out today

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