Starting any restaurant business is always going to be a challenge for any number of valid reasons, and launching a kosher restaurant is no different in that respect, but the rewards are as numerous as the challenges when you get it right.
Starting your own kosher restaurant is definitely an exciting opportunity but you have to be fully prepared for the battle to establish your business and survive that crucial first year of trading.
Here are some useful tips and advice which will hopefully improve your odds of establishing a successful kosher food restaurant with a great reputation and plenty of satisfied customers.
The kosher food industry
It is widely estimated that the kosher food industry as a whole, generates nearly $4 billion of revenue every year in the United States alone.
Kosher food has very distinctive characteristics and qualities that are attractive to a wide range of people who understand that kosher food is symbolic for its meticulous preparation and for providing good quality and healthy meals.
There is little doubt that kosher food has become synonymous with very high standards and this impression is not confined to the Jewish community, so there are plenty of potential customers for you to target and acquire with your new business.
Different types of eating experiences
One of the first choices you will need to make is what type of kosher dining experience you will be offering to your customers.
Whilst all kosher restaurants will aim to meet the special dietary needs of their kosher patrons, you will need to decide what options you offer for a wider kosher dining experience that has universal appeal.
Some will decide that they want to launch a kosher deli or maybe a café, for a more informal atmosphere and experience, whilst others may decide that they want to offer a more formal fine dining experience.
Your decision should not just be based on personal choice but also on market research and analysis of the demographics of the area and the type of customers you are likely to attract in the area where you are planning to open your restaurant business.
Anyone can own a kosher restaurant
It is also worth pointing out that you certainly do not have to be Jewish in order to own or run a kosher restaurant.
There a plenty of examples of restaurateurs from other cultures and religious backgrounds and you will find restaurants offering kosher Chinese and American cuisine mingling successfully with the more traditional outlets.
It is the attraction of the kosher methods and principals that are attractive to customers and you may well be able to find yourself a niche market in your area by being different and standing out from the crowd.
Inspections and certifications
All restaurant businesses are subjected to regular inspections but a kosher restaurant is required to satisfy a number of inspections and obtain certification that confirms you have followed the correct procedures when it comes to preparation.
You can read more about certification and what it involves but suffice to say, your restaurant will be required at all times to carefully comply with all kosher food handling and preparation requirements, in addition to satisfying the periodic inspections carried out by public health departments.
Staffing your restaurant
You will no doubt be aware that the restaurant industry in general, is notorious for high turnover rates of staff.
A constant change of faces is not good for retaining loyal customers who like the familiarity of seeing the same people serving them every time they come in, but in a kosher restaurant, a high staff turnover can be particularly damaging.
Many patrons of kosher restaurants like their food servers to display a good level of knowledge about kosher cuisine and it is therefore important to attract and retain good quality staff if you are going to be successful in establishing your business in the long term.
Strategy for success
The first 12 months are always going to be hard for any new business and opening a kosher restaurant is no different, but if you have a strategy and a plan, you will increase your chances of surviving and thriving.
Make sure you write a good business plan and establish a good supply chain that helps you to meet all your certification requirements. Try to network with other restaurateurs who may not be competing with you and talk to people in the Jewish community for help and support if it is needed.
If you follow these smart steps for success, you may well find that your kosher startup business turns into a popular local eatery.
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