Tips for Opening a Second Restaurant Location

After a few years of consistent success in the restaurant industry, it’s natural to spend more time thinking about potential next steps to grow your business. The possibilities are endless, including adding delivery and online ordering options, expanding the space at your current restaurant, opening a second location, and more.

If you constantly have lines out the door or see the opportunity for expansion to a new market, it might be time to open a second restaurant location. Follow this list of best practices to reap the benefits of a second location.

Choose the right location

Part of your debut restaurant’s growth can be attributed to location, and the same will hold true as you look to open the doors of your second restaurant. Avoid staying tied down to a location close to your first restaurant. While doing so might handle some of the overflow you’re currently experiencing, it could also limit your customer base, and there’s no guarantee the local market has enough business for both restaurants to succeed.

When considering expanding to a different town, state or across the country, examine the nearby restaurants to see if there’s an opportunity to build a customer base at this location. If you have your heart set on a location but restaurant traffic looks slow in the area, or there are already several other restaurants serving your specific cuisine, review your other options.

Revisit and recycle your business plan

Since your first location has already proven to be successful, you’re clearly doing something right when it comes to business planning. Reassess the plan from your original restaurant opening to see what worked and what didn’t (lessons learned). For example, if you’ve had an efficient accounting or online ordering platform since day one, use the same software in your second location. If a few kinks have to be worked out in your HR practices, such as staff training or scheduling, keep those in mind so the staff at your new restaurant can receive the best training possible.

Hire the right management

Recruiting and hiring the right manager can make a world of difference at your new restaurant. While you can likely mimic the strongest pieces of your business plan, you can’t clone yourself and be in two locations at once. Promote from within or hire a manager who can shadow you at the first location for a period of time before the second location opens. Then, leave the new manager in charge of the first location while you get the second restaurant off the ground. Once you’re off to separate locations, set up regular check-ins to ensure restaurant operations are running smoothly and the new manager continues to train employees and build trust. Also set up a dashboard to monitor sales activity at both locations.

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