Restaurant startup

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Questions Future Operators Need to Ask

Questions Future Operators Need to Ask Before Opening

by Jennifer Radkey

Black and orange question marks

Taking your dream bar or restaurant from vision to reality can be an exciting journey but too many people get ahead of themselves during the process.

What are some of the first actions a future operator takes when deciding to open a new restaurant or bar? Well, many will dive right into deciding on a concept, looking at locations, or figuring out costs. Some may take the time to wisely invest in feasibility, concept, and business plans.

Very few will ask themselves the crucial questions that will help them figure out if they are truly ready to take on this huge endeavorand be successful at it.

Before designing menus, hiring a real estate agent, or looking for investments, you need to sit down and gain a clear understanding of the state of your mindset. Successfully opening a restaurant or bar can be mentally and physically exhausting. Well before you open your doors you need to have acquired a mindset that is built on resilience, growth, leadership, and positivity.

Below are several questions to considerand answer truthfullybefore diving in.

Mindset Questions

  1. What is the purpose behind wanting to open a restaurant or bar? Why is this goal significant to you?
  2. How do you currently stay motivated and do you have a system in place to turn to when you lose motivation?
  3. Do you feel capable of handling the day to day pressures of starting and operating a business? Why or why not?
  4. Have you been in a leadership position before? On a scale of one to 10 (one being not successful at all and 10 being very successful), how successful of a leader were you?
  5. What kind of leader do you want to be and Is there someone in a leadership position you admire and can learn from?
  6. If you feel that you can not be the leader your business needs to succeed is there a partner you can rely on for this?
  7. Are you currently in a good position to be able to devote the time, energy, resources, and focus needed to undertake this endeavor?
  8. What non-negotiables do you have in your life? What are you willing to sacrifice for this dream and what are you not?
  9. How comfortable are you with meeting people and being open to others’ ideas?
  10. What are three key strengths you possess? How will they help you succeed?
  11. What are three weaknesses you possess? How might they hinder your success?
  12. Are you comfortable with delegating to others when you are not the best person for a task?
  13. Do you have a strong support system in place of people you can turn to when needed?
  14. Why are you choosing to open a business in the hospitality industry? How do you plan to leave your mark in it?
  15. Do you possess the knowledge to run the day to day operations of a restaurant or bar? If not, how do you plan to gain that knowledge?
  16. How open are you to continuous education and learning for yourself and your future team?
  17. How will you balance opening a new restaurant/bar with your personal life?
  18. Are you willing to adapt and pivot when needed, even if it means an entirely new concept?
  19. How do you currently deal with failure?
  20. How will opening a restaurant/bar impact other areas of your life?

Once you have answered these questions you will have a better understanding of where your mindset stands right now, what areas you may need to improve upon, and if you are truly ready to open your own restaurant or bar. There is a saying that knowledge is power, and self-knowledge is the most powerful kind!

Cheers to professional and personal well-being!

Image: Laurin Steffens on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Business Coach. Restaurant Coach. Hotel Coach. Hospitality Coach. Mindset Coach.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2024 500-point Start-up Checklist

2024 KRG Hospitality 500-point Bar & Restaurant Start-up Checklist

by David Klemt

KRG Hospitality 2024 Bar & Restaurant 500-point Start-up Checklist

Opening a bar or restaurant is a daunting undertaking, with projects requiring the completion of 500 unique tasks within four phases before welcoming guests.

It takes strategic clarity along with a strong supportive team around you to ensure your dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare. To help you get ahead and start 2024 with the strongest opportunity for success, we’re giving you access to a number of free resources.

First, our 2024 Bar & Restaurant Start-up Costs Guide. If you haven’t already, download this informative guide today. And now, our 2024 500-point Bar & Restaurant Start-up Checklist.

KRG Hospitality’s feasibility studies, concept and brand development, and programming are unique and customized to every client. However, the journey from idea to grand opening is a well-worn path dotted by hundreds of waypoints.

There’s a reason we call our project plans Roadmaps to Success: we’re here to help guide our clients to and through each point on the map.

Below you’ll find 32—only six percent—of the 500 unique tasks we at KRG believe you must complete before your grand opening. Just these tasks alone should provide an idea of the enormity that is taking your concept from idea to brick and mortar.

To download your free copy of our 2024 500-point Bar & Restaurant Start-up Checklist, click here. As you’ll see once you open this checklist, it’s interactive. You can easily check off items as you complete them, and the document will save your progress.

Opening a bar or restaurant is challenging. We’re here to help make it easier.

Planning Phase


  • Mindset assessment
  • Support network assessment

Feasibility Study

  • Market viability study
  • Technical viability study

Brand Strategy

  • Vision statemet
  • Frame of reference

Tech-stack Plan

  • Service technology plan
  • Payment processing technology

Project Set-up Phase

Job Scopes for Project

  • Landlord presentation
  • Equipment vendor presentation

Project Support Team Plan

  • Industry consultant
  • Legal Advisor

Menu Testing

  • Final flavor profile creation
  • Theoretical costing, food

Interior Design

  • Final choice in furniture
  • Final choice for millwork design

Operational Set-up Phase

Operational Vendors

  • Bar and kitchen smallware vendor
  • Refrigeration tech vendor
  • Hood cleaning vendor
  • Grease trap cleaning vendor

SOP Procedures/System

  • Finalize hourly operations plan
  • Application forms
  • Food safety quiz
  • Leadership team manual

Launch Phase

Marketing Execution

  • Creation of media package
  • Search engine optimization

Tech-stack execution

  • Point-of-sale systems
  • Menu management systems

Team Onboarding

  • Leadership team onboard
  • Team-building exercises

Soft Opening

  • Menu timing
  • Menu feedback

To download your free copy of our 2024 500-point Bar & Restaurant Start-up Checklist, click here now!

Image: KRG Hospitality

KRG Hospitality Start-Up Restaurant Bar Hotel Consulting Consultant Solutions Plans Services

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KRG Releases 2024 Start-Up Guide

KRG Hospitality Releases 2024 Restaurant Start-Up Cost Guide

by David Klemt

2024 KRG Hospitality Start-up Costs Guide


Toronto-based hospitality industry consulting firm with offices in key markets throughout Canada and the United States of America unveils their latest restaurant cost guide and interactive hospitality calculator.

December 21, 2024 (TORONTO)—Today, KRG Hospitality releases their 2024 Bar & Restaurant Start-up Costs Guide, which is free to download. The Toronto-based consulting firm specializes in startup restaurant and bar projects along with boutique hotels, experiential concepts, and entertainment venues. KRG Hospitality’s American headquarters is located in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For the past six years KRG has researched, reviewed, and published the annual start-up cost guide, one of the industry’s leading resources dedicated to restaurant project costing.

And each year this informative and transparent guide is used as a trusted budgeting tool by developers, lenders, contractors, consultants, and aspiring restaurateurs. The guide is founded upon KRG Hospitality’s proprietary database of previous project costs, which includes project data from restaurants, bars, and cafes developed over the past 24 months.

Further, this annual KRG Hospitality guide also includes the interactive KRG Hospitality Calculator, which is updated for 2024.

The costs to start a restaurant have been on a steady rise over the past six years. Major drivers are increases in inflation, interest, labor, construction, and equipment. Of course, there are also the unique materials required to deliver a scalable, sustainable, memorable, profitable, and consistent on-premise, off-premise, or hybrid-style concept.

Drawing upon this comprehensive guide, an industry-leading expert has analyzed the information and provided a succinct and user-friendly summary of the findings for each major start-up category. This isn’t simply a couple of pages identifying a few costs. Rather, the sixth annual guide is a deep dive that provides real insight into what to expect in 2024.

The guide is available now as a free download via this link.

About KRG Hospitality

KRG Hospitality is a storied and respected agency with proven success over the past decade, delivering exceptional and award-winning concepts throughout a variety of markets found within Canada, the United States, and abroad since 2009. Specializing in startups, KRG is known for originality and innovation, rejecting cookie-cutter approaches to client projects. The agency provides clients with a clear framework tailored to their specific projects, helping to realize their vision for a scalable, sustainable, profitable, memorable, and consistent business. Learn more at Connect with KRG Hospitality and the Bar Hacks podcast on social: KRG Twitter, Bar Hacks Twitter, KRG Media Twitter, KRG LinkedIn.


While using this guide helps develop a rough preliminary financial and strategic milestone plan, it is strongly recommended that you seek professional expert advice to provide you with a more precise, project specific estimate as each concept and market will be slightly different. KRG Hospitality Inc. is not responsible for any project that is not currently under contract within the company.

Image: KRG Hospitality

KRG Hospitality Start-Up Restaurant Bar Hotel Consulting Consultant Solutions Plans Services

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KRG Hospitality now Serving Midwest Region

KRG Hospitality adds Midwest Region

Marina City Towers in Chicago, Illinois


Toronto-based hospitality industry consulting firm with offices throughout Canada and the USA now serving the Midwest through Chicago office.

CHICAGO, IL (March 17, 2023)—Today, KRG Hospitality announces the addition of the Midwest region of the US to their North American service area. The team will operate out of an office in Chicago, Illinois. However, the agency will serve Midwest markets outside of Chicago as well.

KRG is excited to announce their presence in the region and their ability to serve clients effectively. The agency will offer the full suite of their proven hospitality solutions, including: hourly consulting and coaching; complete feasibility studies, fully customized concept plans; in-depth, focused business plans; project support and management; food and/or drink menu development and consulting; and personalized F&B education.

“I was born in Chicago and first entered the hospitality industry in the Northwest Suburbs. I got my first taste of nightlife in Chicago’s incredible bar and nightclub scene,” says David Klemt, partner and director of business development of KRG Hospitality. “Those experiences shaped my entire hospitality career trajectory. It will be an honor to serve the great people of the Midwest and bring their hospitality visions to life.”

“2023 is turning into quite the growth year for KRG, with the addition of team members Kim Richardson and Jared Boller, and now an exciting new market,” says Doug Radkey, KRG Hospitality founder, president, and project manager. “We see great opportunity in the Midwest, not only in Chicago, but many of the surrounding regions. The food, beverage, and hotel scene is incredibly strong, and we’re open to the challenge of not only helping launch new hospitality brands but helping transform existing brands scale and be successful in the new era ahead.”

KRG is ready to work with clients of all experience levels in the Midwest. The consulting agency’s suite of solutions serve new operators looking to open their first concept and veterans seeking a rebrand or expansion. From independent pizzerias and QSRs to multi-unit regional chains and boutique hotels, and everything in between, the KRG team is eager to take client visions and transform them into brick-and-mortar realities.

To schedule an introductory call to learn how the KRG Hospitality team serves clients, please follow this link.

About KRG Hospitality

KRG Hospitality is a storied and respected agency with proven success over the past decade, delivering exceptional and award-winning concepts throughout a variety of markets found within Canada, the United States, and abroad since 2009. Specializing in startups, KRG is known for originality and innovation, rejecting cookie-cutter approaches to client projects. The agency provides clients with a clear framework tailored to their specific projects, helping to realize their vision for a scalable, sustainable, profitable, memorable, and consistent business. Learn more at Connect with KRG Hospitality and the Bar Hacks podcast on social: KRG Twitter, Bar Hacks Twitter, KRG Media Twitter, KRG LinkedIn.

Image: Tobias Brunner from Pixabay

KRG Hospitality Start-Up Restaurant Bar Hotel Consulting Consultant Solutions Plans Services

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5 Books to Read this Month: March 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: March 2023

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our engaging and informative March book selections will help you hone your leadership, entrepreneurial, and operational skills to dial in your business.

To review the book recommendations from February 2023, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that women have been involved with and influencing alcohol for centuries. Still, women’s contributions to the spirits, beer, and wine we imbibe are often overlooked. Fred Minnick’s Whiskey Women seeks to change that.

From Amazon: “Whiskey Women tells the tales of the women who created the industry, from Mesopotamia’s first beer brewers and distillers to America’s rough-and-tough Prohibition bootleggers. Women have long distilled, marketed, and owned significant shares in spirits companies, including Bushmills, Johnnie Walker, and Maker’s Mark. Williamson is one of many influential women who greatly influenced Scotch, bourbon, and Irish whiskey. Until now their stories have remained untold.”

Unvarnished: A Gimlet-eyed Look at Life Behind the Bar

Even now it seems like people don’t view the service industry as offering “real” careers. Indeed, some restaurant and bar owners are asked when their “real” plan is because it can’t possibly be running a hospitality business.

In Unvarnished, Eric Alperin, owner, manager and designer of the Varnish in LA, and author Deborah Stoll reject that idea. This fascinating book offers lessons learned from Sasha Petraske, Alperin’s partner and mentor; the many tiny details bar owners will turn over and over in their heads before finalizing plans; reasons to not date a bartender; and much, much more.

There are also 100 recipes that Alperin required hopeful bartenders to know before they could land a job at the Varnish.

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality

Last month we featured In the Weeds. In January, we recommended Your Table is Ready. Both books are similar to the amazing Kitchen Confidential, a book all hospitality professionals should read.

Heads in Beds is essentially Kitchen Confidential for those in the hotel business. The Amazon listing describes this book as “a funny, authentic, and irreverent chronicle of the highs and lows of hotel life, told by a keenly observant insider who’s seen it all. Prepare to be amused, shocked, and amazed as he spills the unwritten code of the bellhops, the antics that go on in the valet parking garage, the housekeeping department’s dirty little secrets—not to mention the shameless activities of the guests, who are rarely on their best behavior.”

There are also emotional stories and revelations about the darker side of the industry we all need to address.

Impactful Influence for Modern Leaders: How to Use the Power of Influence to Lead Other People Toward Success

None of us can really become a true leader without the ability to influence those who work for us. That means, however, that we must continually develop ourselves. Influencing those around us to perform at their best isn’t as simple as giving orders, of course.

And that’s where Impactful Influence for Modern Leaders comes in. This book will help you build trust with your team; mentor others effectively; learn to let go and trust your team; and much more.

Lady You Got Balls: The Gift of Being Underestimated

If you’re an entrepreneur, odds are you’ve experienced being underestimated. You’ve likely had a taste of office life and decided it wasn’t for you due to the politics and betrayals.

If that’s you, you have something in common with Patricia Stroberg, author of Lady You Got Balls. In this book, you’ll see why being an underestimated underdog can be to your advantage. Lady You Got Balls “is for anyone wanting to run a successful company and live a life of purpose when the challenges seem too overwhelming to overcome.”

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality Complete Bar Menu Audit

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The Major Milestones You Must Reach

The Major Milestones You Must Reach to Open a Restaurant

by David Klemt

2023 KRG Hospitality Milestone Checklist

Opening a restaurant is no small task, with projects requiring the completion of 500 unique tasks before welcoming guests.

KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey identified these tasks several years ago. The commitment to systematically accomplish these tasks is a cornerstone of our approach to all projects.

Our feasibility studies, branding, concept and brand development, and programming are unique and customized to every client. However, the journey from idea to grand opening is a path dotted by hundreds of waypoints.

There’s a reason we call our project plans Roadmaps to Success: we’re here to help guide our clients to and through each waypoint on the map.

Below you’ll find just 50—just a tenth—of the unique tasks we at KRG believe you must complete before your grand opening. You’ll find more than 80 tasks in the brand-new 2023 KRG Hospitality Restaurant Start-up Cost Report + Checklist.

Both the list below and the checklist included in our free Restaurant Start-up Cost Report download will give you an idea of what we work on with each of our clients. These tasks should also highlight the enormity that is taking your concept from idea to brick and mortar.

To download your free copy of our 2023 Restaurant Start-up Cost Report + Checklist, click here.

Planning & Admin Tasks

  • Complete your project feasibility study.
  • Develop your concept and brand plan.
  • Develop and test a layout/drawing.
  • Complete a strategic business plan.
  • Complete a marketing and tech stack plan.
  • Finalize your start-up budget.
  • Analyze and secure necessary funding.

The Support Team Tasks

You’ll need to secure:

  • Business insurance broker
  • Business and liquor license attorney
  • Restaurant and bar consultant
  • Project manager
  • General contractor and trades
  • Mentor or coach

Site Development Tasks

When it comes to these tasks, you may have an idea of roughly what to expect.

For example, one necessary task is…securing your property of choice. Another task to cross off or set a check next to? Signing the lease.

But there are other tasks you may not anticipate or think of when planning to open a restaurant:

  • Submit drawings to municipality.
  • Start and manage project renovations.
  • Set a SMART opening date proposal.
  • Set up and submit deposits for utilities.
  • Develop your service sequence (flow).

You’ll also need to source the following:

  • Exhaust hood supplier
  • Millworker and specialty supplier
  • Interior and exterior signage company
  • Grease trap cleaning
  • Used oil pickup/recycling
  • Exhaust hood cleaning

Operations Development Tasks

  • Complete a kitchen workflow plan.
  • Complete service sequence analysis.
  • Source take-out container suppliers.
  • Secure security, sound, and video, plus applicable licenses.
  • Secure point-of-sale and tech Systems.
  • Develop recipe books for kitchen and bar.
  • Develop package of standard operating procedures.

Brand Development Tasks

Developing your brand involves much more than choosing a logo and colors.

Consider every design and service element a branding opportunity. Your brand development tasks will include developing:

  • your core statements;
  • graphic design/branding kit;
  • website and social media accounts;
  • a promo video strategy;
  • a “coming/opening soon” plan; and
  • your media strategy for the launch.

You’ll also need to:

  • complete the F&B concept stage;
  • complete the F&B testing stage;
  • source menu cover supplier (for dine-in version)
  • complete a photo shoot; and
  • plan for and execute a soft opening.

Team Development Tasks

  • Develop your staff hiring strategy.
  • Plan for and complete HR and compliance forms.
  • Develop onboarding manuals.
  • Source staff uniform suppliers.
  • Promote job fair or interview dates.
  • Hold a staff orientation night.
  • Execute a staff-building exercise shift.
  • Create a brand ambassador program.

Image: KRG Hospitality

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The 2022 KRG Hospitality Start-Up Guide

The 2022 KRG Hospitality Start-Up Guide

by David Klemt

2022 KRG Hospitality Start-Up Cost Guide & Checklist download

The 2022 KRG Hospitality Restaurant Start-Up Cost Guide & Checklist is here!

If you’ve been putting off opening your restaurant concept, wait no longer. With our guide and checklist, you can make the best, informed decisions to open in 2022.

Yes, opening a restaurant seems daunting in 2022. However, industry intelligence firms such as Technomic have predicted measurable recovery this year in comparison to 2021.

Waiting for the time to be “just right” to open a restaurant just isn’t realistic. The longer one waits to make their move, the further ahead established and new operators can get ahead. Your desired location can be snapped up, competitors can build loyal customer bases, and things get more difficult overall.

That said, that doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind. We certainly don’t believe rushing into anything is a good idea. If anything, rushing rather than making informed, deliberate decisions is the antithesis of strategic.

So, what’s the desired middle ground between haphazard and hesitancy? Nimble and informed.

Our 2022 Restaurant Start-Up Cost Guide & Checklist provides useful financial information based on real-world scenarios. This will give you a realistic idea of how much start-up capital you’ll need to realize your entrepreneurial dreams this year.

What can you expect in our latest download? Take a look below.


This is no three- or four-page quick-hit guide. Rather, the 2022 KRG Hospitality Restaurant Start-Up Cost Guide is 33 pages of real-world tips and data:

  • Start-up costs
  • Renovation costs
  • Scaled costs (four concept scenarios)
  • Restaurant operating guide


Due to the tremendous job scope—in addition to the planning, organization, and communication requirements to start a successful restaurant—we highly recommend working with a team of professionals to save time and financial resources.

Below you’ll find a handful of the 500 unique tasks crucial to opening a restaurant.

Planning and Admin

You must:

  • complete feasibility study;
  • develop concept and brand; and
  • complete strategic business plan.

Supporting Cast

You’ll need to secure:

  • an accountant;
  • a real estate agent/broker; and
  • a project manager.

Site Development

The first steps are all crucial to the timeline:

  • Secure property of choice;
  • Sign commercial lease; and
  • Submit drawings.

Operations Development

Examples of the hundreds of tasks you must complete include:

  • a kitchen workflow plan;
  • bar and takeout workflow; and
  • developing a recipe books for the kitchen and bar.

Again, these are just a handful of the 500 unique tasks you’ll complete to start your restaurant.

Download our 2022 Restaurant Start-Up Cost Guide & Checklist to start your journey today.

Image: KRG Hospitality

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

How and Why to Edit Your Menu

How and Why to Edit Your Menu

by Nathen Dube

Restaurant tables with place settings and menus

When thinking about opening a restaurant an important question to answer is, “What am I going to serve?”

There is one answer that tempts too many restauranteurs: “I’ll offer something for everyone!” The thinking is that doing so translates into everyone coming to their restaurant or bar.

The truth is, everyone isn’t coming. Sadly, many of these places don’t survive long, and 60 percent of restaurants don’t make it past their first year. Having an overwhelming menu is one of the key contributors to that statistic.

Massive menus are stressful for guests, making it difficult for them to decide. At a certain point, too many items create what’s called the Fallacy of Choice. Overwhelm guests with possibilities and they’ll just choose something simple and familiar rather than exploring the entire menu, impacting the guest experience negatively.

Too many options also lend to the perception of low-quality food. How can a kitchen staff possibly excel at so many dishes? How can the ingredients be fresh and not frozen? What is the quality of dishes if people only order them once or twice a week?

Those reasons and more are why it’s important to have a laser-focused menu from the onset.

Inventory Challenges

If a large portion of your menu isn’t moving out of the kitchen to hungry diners, guess where that food is going. A large menu creates tracking issues, a high percentage of ingredient spoilage, and opens the door to theft from staff. The best establishments do just a handful of things well, with a select few complementary items to round out the menu.

Having a kitchen full of product for dishes on the menu that might get ordered can quickly turn into dead stock. If there are boxes sitting in dry storage shelves collecting dust, it’s a good time to consider removing any dishes that require them from the menu.

Setting a scheduled review of inventory and menu sales breakdowns can be a great way to avoid dead stock eating into your food budget for any significant length of time. Not all dishes end up being winners—ignoring the losers will limit profitability significantly. A massive, unchecked menu just compounds the issue.

Another profit-eater is food waste. Ordering usually means receiving product in bulk and breaking it down. It’s near impossible, as an example, to order just two or four of something like cabbage for a dish that doesn’t move. The cabbage sits, and half a case gets thrown out for every dish sold. Having a focused menu will help quickly highlight items that need to be removed from a menu.

Tracking Issues

Then there’s the issue of theft. Unfortunately, theft happens. Having some deterrents in place can help mitigate opportunities for those who seek to steal in this industry.

If there aren’t robust tracking systems in place along with an honest team who uses them correctly, things can (and will) disappear. A much harder time will be had spotting losses and what’s causing them when it takes a long time to track inventory. Again, this leads to compounded profit losses on dead stock and product spoilage. We haven’t even begun to prepare any food yet and already our food cost is trending in a bad direction.

A restaurant budget needs to be established before opening and needs to be adhered to strictly. That can quickly go out the window when it comes to ordering food to stock your kitchen. A massive addition to your operating costs can set you back a few months, particularly when you’re not seeing a return on purchases for the reasons stated above.

With the current climate of the restaurant industry and a post-Covid dining scene, avoiding these pitfalls is crucial to success. Rising food and labour costs, recovering from months of closures, and a shortened patio season (if you’re lucky enough to have one), have made strict cost controls more important than ever going forward.

Keep in mind, if your seating capacity matches or is less than the amount of menu items you’re serving, that equates to minimal product turnover, which translates to minimal profits. That number is multiplied by product loss of any kind.

Training & Retention

When an owner can’t match their concept to food and drink offerings, it leads to poorly trained staff and frustration during service. There will be plenty of room for error (more loss!) and, unsurprisingly, low staff retention. That all keeps this never-ending cycle in motion.

If you can’t clarify your vision, how can you expect staff to showcase it to guests with any confidence?

At every “big menu” restaurant I’ve worked in, the owners were always in the building or kitchen. This wasn’t because they were driven to be hands on. It was because they couldn’t train staff properly to run the whole menu reliably, things would go “missing,” or staff simply couldn’t accomplish daily tasks consistently.

Interestingly, the opposite was true at establishments with small, focused menus. Staff were confident and knowledgeable, problems with food and service didn’t spiral out of control, and food moved out the door to some degree of consistency. The owners were freed up to run their business rather than micromanage everyone.

With all the issues currently hampering the food industry, the last thing you want right now is another level of frustration among your staff. Retention rates are at an all-time low. The struggle to fill job openings industry-wide are at all-time high, as are reported cases of staff walking out mid-service. A properly structured menu can keep your business on track and make the lives of your employees much more simplified.

Editing Your Menu

Focusing on cohesion between menu and concept doesn’t require offering all the dishes under the sun. Avoiding the “something for everyone” approach leads to improved guest experiences and employee confidence. Streamlining your menu simplifies inventory and sales tracking; differentiates high-profitability items from the rest; and makes identifying items that don’t sell easier.

Paring down your menu into a tight, focused version allows you to quickly retool it every few months. Just try tracking and editing a large four-page menu as frequently. It’s costly to reprint and you have better things to do with your time.

Keeping things tight also creates space to take advantage of seasonal offerings, local specialties, or customer favorites. You can also offer specials throughout the week that can drive traffic and give your talented cooks a chance to show off!

I would suggest looking over your sales data to identify your highest-selling dishes and the slow movers every one to two months. If you have a seasonal menu, this can be done at the midpoint of a seasonal change.

Think about what items are being purchased and only used in one dish. They can start to pile up in your stockroom and lead to dead stock. Consider the versatility of ingredients when planning a menu change—cross-utilize everything you can.

Fluctuating Costs

Another important point that can get forgotten is that the prices of food items fluctuate constantly. Maintaining a large menu, therefore, can become a nightmare cost scenario quickly. Limes, beef, avocados—even celery—are experiencing tremendous jumps in price. A small menu allows for damage control when prices jump, giving your room to make quick, lower-cost moves.

Of course, the alternative is to have your staff rattle off everything the kitchen is out of to your guests. Not cool.

The underlying theme here is to avoid tying up your finances in product that is sitting, turning to waste instead of profit, or not moving at all. Your mission is to have product moving out of the kitchen constantly and consistently.

It might seem like a wise decision to offer a large menu that’s all over the place. Maybe you’re making that choice for fear of alienating guests or reducing your traffic. However, the points made in this article should illustrate why a cohesive link between concept and menu is crucial, and how a smaller, more focused menu can deliver more for you than a large, out-of-touch menu.

Image: Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

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Introducing the KRG Start-up Calculator

Introducing the KRG Bar & Restaurant Start-up Calculator

by David Klemt

The KRG Hospitality Bar & Restaurant Start-up Calculator banner

We are incredibly excited to announce the launch of a helpful new tool for new and veteran operators alike: the KRG Hospitality Bar & Restaurant Start-up Calculator.

It couldn’t be simpler to use, and it will give users an idea of how much funding their project will require.

Just enter the square footage you desire or that you know you’ll need. Then, our brand-new calculator generates more than 40 key costs for your review.

Know Your Numbers

New or veteran, single unit or multi, success in this business requires an obsessive knowledge of numbers.

Costs, in particular, are operators’ eternal opponents. People incur the greatest costs before they ever open their doors for business.

Now, that’s just common sense on one hand. Securing a location, kitting out a kitchen, building out the front of house—these are five-, six- and sometimes even seven-figure endeavors.

However, on the other hand, the massive costs that come with opening a new restaurant or bar are often the result of surprises or insufficient planning.

That’s where our calculator comes in.

Here to Help

There’s a reason that the KRG Bar & Restaurant Start-up Calculator populates more than 40 fields.

That reason is simple: preparation is key.

For instance, does your current plan budget for utility deposits, business insurances, opening F&B inventory, soft opening and launch month strategies, the complete array of construction or renovation costs?

Here’s a real-world example of our calculator at work:

Let’s say you want to open a 2,200-square-foot pub. At the minimum, you should budget at least $2,547 for business insurances and nearly $8,200 for opening F&B inventory. And you’ll likely want to set aside at least $14,806 for emergencies.

Try it out for yourself today!


As with any online calculator, this free calculator is to be used as an initial reference point. Every project is unique in its own way. Property and leasing costs, equipment, and renovation costs will heavily fluctuate based on market, concept, and the status/condition of a chosen property.

Image: KRG Hospitality