Checklist to Consider When Opening a New Hospitality Venue (2024 Edition)

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Checklist to Consider When Opening a New Hospitality Venue (2024 Edition)

If you’re a first time hospitality business owner preparing for your big launch, congratulations are in order! There’s nothing more rewarding than building your own business from the ground up and getting to be your own boss.

But, we know that launching a successful hospitality venue is tough. It takes hard work and careful, meticulous planning to ensure everything runs smoothly and you’re on track to grow, with healthy profit margins. 

To help you succeed, we’ve broken down the essential steps for opening a new hospitality venue with an easy-to-follow checklist that you can tick off as you go. 

Checklist to consider when opening a new hospitality venue

1. Start with systemisation

Success is built on systems. Standardised, repeatable processes create the building blocks for systems that help hospitality businesses run efficiently. Think about McDonalds, for example. One of the key reasons why it's so successful is thanks to systemisation. 

From the very first McDonalds restaurant launched in 1940, Ray Kroc, its founder, implemented systemised processes for everything. From the restaurant floor space to the kitchen layout, down to how a burger is constructed, everything follows a strict set of processes, creating systems that facilitate all operations. 

Now, is this easy? No. Is it worth it? 100% yes! Remember, systems are built on repeatable processes, so you’ll need to start by brainstorming and listing each process. Don’t just think about daily processes here, include weekly, monthly, and bi-annual/annual processes. What are they and what do they consist of? How often will they need to be performed and who will be doing them? 

You’ll then need to plan how to go about operationalising these processes so they follow a pattern. Digital tools, including POS systems, accounting software and inventory management apps, are the easiest way to systemise your processes. But don’t assume all tools offer the same solutions and capabilities.

Create a list of requirements you have for each tool to help make the decision-making process easier. Most softwares offer demos and free trials, allowing you to test run capabilities before committing. Also, always ensure that a tool’s features align to the goals and objectives of the process it’s facilitating.

The more you standardise your processes, the more systemised they’ll become. Once you have repeatable systems in place, your venue can run like clockwork, making it easier to scale by replicating these systems in future locations. 

2. Utilise modern, cloud-based inventory management software

Whether your venue is a restaurant, bar, café or hotel, they all have one thing in common: good inventory management is a definite requirement. This is because inventory will affect everything, from how profitable your menu is, to how sustainable your business is, to how smoothly your stock ordering process works. The sooner you master inventory management, the sooner you’ll be able to optimise for profitability. 

Investing in cloud-based inventory management software from the get-go can help ensure every aspect of your business runs more smoothly.

A cloud-based inventory management app centralises all of your stock data in a single location, accessible from anywhere. It simplifies your inventory management processes, including ordering from suppliers, waste management,  invoice reconciliation and month-end inventory counts

Modern inventory systems (like growyze!) will give you the ability to scan stock using each item’s barcode, all from your smartphone. This increases the speed of your stock take and gives you back more than 60% of the time you’d usually spend! Which is even more important when opening a new venue, because there will simply be so much to do. 

Any stock updates made on the system immediately update for all users, preventing data silos and knowledge gaps from forming. 

3. Go paperless

When you’re first launching a new hospitality venue, it may be easier to run your operations using a simple pen and clipboard. But, as your operations grow and become more complex, trying to oversee everything manually on paper can become more difficult. 

With paper processes, once your establishment is off the ground and running steadily, you’re going to need to set aside a lot of time to manually track each process to keep things operating. This can become time-consuming, eating into your productivity and focus. 

Going digital from the get-go can save you time and make your business more cost-effective. A big misconception about going digital is that automation replaces your existing processes - this isn’t true! 

There are numerous benefits of going digital. Instead of sifting through multiple paper ledgers or Excel spreadsheets, everything is centralised in one one place. You can easily access the data you need without losing time trying to locate it. 

You also have historical data to refer back to, such as previous purchase orders and sales. This is useful for identifying trends and patterns for improving your inventory management. 

Furthermore, it’s easy to connect your systems across sales, accounting and inventory, giving you the full picture of your operations. Everything is streamlined, so a change in your sales will automatically reflect in your inventory software, and so on.

4. Equip staff with tools and procedures that reduce manual workload

The easier it is for your staff to do their jobs, the more productive they’ll be while they’re on the clock. Helping reduce the manual workload that your staff handles daily can do wonders for boosting efficiency and team productivity. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to invest in costly tools or solutions. A few examples of quick wins for better efficiency from the launch of your new venue might include:

  • Using smartphones to complete stocktakes - using an app like growyze, your team can do stocktake on the go, using their smartphones. This allows your team to perform stocktakes for different areas, and review stock details and place orders without having to be physically present onsite. 
  • Incorporating automation into your processes - for example, automating the process of cross-validating your orders with deliveries and invoices immediately helps your team spot any errors or discrepancies. Automated stock reorder reminders ensure they never forget to place an order for new stock again when inventory drops below a certain number.
  • Letting your team complete admin in real-time - implementing tools from the get-go such as restaurant accounting software frees up employee time, as it allows them to do things such as submit receipts for expenses from their phones, while on the go. It also allows you to monitor employee spending more easily.  


5. Understand consumer trends

Something that’s vastly underestimated when opening a new hospitality venue is the impact of consumer trends on its success. You may meticulously plan and systemise your establishment so it runs like clockwork, but how does it stand out from the competitors? What makes your venue unique and appealing to guests? 

Tapping into consumer trends and expectations can help you overcome the challenge of successfully attracting and retaining customers. Take the QR code, for example. Pre-2020, hardly anyone knew how to use a QR code, much less what to do with it. 

Fast forward 3 years (largely thanks to covid and the removal of physical menus) and customers are completely comfortable with accessing menus, and even ordering food, via QR codes. This is a trend that’s had a massive impact on onsite restaurant and bar ordering, and it’s worthwhile assessing if it might be a trend to adopt if it’s relevant to your business and target consumer. 

You also need to think in terms of marketing and generating awareness about your new venue. Having an online presence is essential in today’s market, as social media and user-generated content are the primary ways customers hear about new hospitality businesses. 

You can help build a digital presence and following by establishing social media pages that showcase your business and the experiences it offers. Another marketing tactic might be harnessing PR which is when someone else talks favourably about your business. For instance, partnering with influencers who visit your venue and post about it online. 

Don’t underestimate how important word-of-mouth recommendations are in the hospitality industry either. According to research, approximately 49% of consumers trust online reviews from strangers as much as they trust personal recommendations from friends and family. In another study, it was found that restaurants with positive customer reviews for service see around six times more traffic and have 1.5 times higher sales growth over four years over competitors. 

Positive reviews matter and the more of an engaged, online presence you have, the more you can encourage users to leave good reviews to generate more interest. 

6. Perfect your craftsmanship

Another important way to define your venue’s unique brand and value is to define your niche. Instead of trying to be known for everything, hone in on one or two key things on which you can build your reputation. If you’re opening a restaurant, do you want to be known for out-of-this-world gourmet burgers or fast, simple but tasty meals? Will you allow for off-menu ordering? Do you want to be known for sourcing local, seasonal ingredients? 

If you’re launching a bar, are you aiming to specialise in wines or craft cocktails, or do you want to be a budget-friendly, student joint? 

Make sure you have a clear vision of what you want your establishment to be known for. This will help attract the right customers who can spread the word and help garnish your image and reputation. Choose your niche and then perfect it, rather than trying to incorporate a bit of everything. It’s better to be a master craftsman than a jack of all trades! 

7. Consider compliance

This section was created with help from friend of growyze Leigh Schelvis at John Gaunt & Partners Licensing Solicitors :-)

Something that’s perhaps not as fun as marketing and craft, but equally as important, is ensuring compliance with the local policy and national regulations that affect the hospitality industry. Pre-trading you’ll need to ensure your business has all of the necessary permits, certificates, permissions and licences in place to comply with relevant legislation.

This will likely include fire safety and health and safety regulations for most businesses. Food businesses in the UK are also required to register with their local authority at least 28 days before trading begins, and if you’re opening more than one premises each one will need registering individually.

In addition to this, if your business holds a Premises Licence it’s worthwhile familiarising yourself with the conditions of your licence, to ensure your business has the right policies and processes in place. Premises Licences can contain one or more licensable activities, for example the sale of alcohol, provision of regulated entertainment, or the provision of late-night refreshments, all of which may need proper processes to be implemented and monitored.

For example, you may need to consider:

Have your staff received the required training (e.g. age verification schemes for serving alcohol)? Do you have a process in place to document when training has been undertaken and when it’s required to be refreshed? Do you need a noise management plan? Do you have a process in place to monitor and maintain your CCTV? Are SIA door staff required, if so, on what days and times and how many door staff are required?

Even if the above examples are not required under your licence, it may still be a good idea to design and implement policies for staff training, noise management and door security as a means of best practice and proactively promoting the Licensing Objectives. In addition, the above processes might also be required for staff safety.

Ensuring that all of these areas are covered before you begin trading is a great way to prevent issues (and potential legal battles!) further down the line. In terms of compliance, prevention is by far better (and usually chaper) than cure.

growyze is here to help your new hospitality venue thrive

As a new hospitality venue owner, we know you’re hungry for success. That’s why we’re here to help your day-to-day management that much easier. At growyze, we’ve made inventory management easy, more efficient and even fun, no matter your new venue’s size.

Our app centralises and simplifies many of your BOH processes. Manage your stocktake, supplier orders and relationships, recipe optimisation and loss prevention from a single intuitive app. Add more members as your team grows without additional costs and get key business insights from automated reporting.

Book a demo and see how growyze can help you set up your inventory management systems for success today.

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