You’ve got the space, the fit-out and the concept – what next? In partnership with Square, we take you through the steps to prepare your venue for opening, and give you tips on how to hit the ground running once you do.
Opening a venue is trickier than people think. You have to navigate rent, council restrictions, fit-outs, staffing, concept and more. As exciting as it is, once you’re almost ready to open the last few steps can be daunting. We’ve got some tips to help you get over the final hurdle and start doing what you do best.
You’re in business to serve great food and drinks and create memorable experiences for customers, but business can’t exist without sales. The first thing you should do is spend time setting up your point of sale (POS) to streamline service and maximise your profits. Square’s software acts as a hub for all things hospo, and it’s free to sign up and set up. Below, we dive into the best ways to use its relevant features.
It sounds obvious, but add all your menu items to your POS before you open. It’s quicker than asking staff to add as they go and will ensure service runs smoothly and you can take a look at what’s selling well and what’s not. You can also highlight popular add-ons to help staff with upselling and load discounts to run at specific times for promotions such as happy hour or lunch specials. Integrating your POS with your online store is another way to centralise your transactions and make it easier for customers to order takeaway. There’s also the option of providing online ordering functionality through an online menu at the table via QR code using self-serve ordering.
Spread the word! There are plenty of well-known and free ways to market your business opening on social media with photos and videos. Drop menus and special promotions information in local letterboxes, ask friends to tell their friends and family, speak to nearby business owners – any way you can put your name out there will help. Guerrilla marketing will get you to a certain point, but it’s a good idea to get a graphic designer to help with branding and logos to make your venue recognisable.
Taking bookings is an excellent way to ensure you’re getting people through the door – managing them is another issue entirely. Keeping your bookings digital on your POS terminal will save you the time and hassle of writing them down, and ensure your employees are on the same page with table management. The Square setup also allows you to organise floor plans for large bookings and stay up-to-date on table turnover times – it’s important that customers don’t feel rushed, so this is a nicer way to manage table service than using subtle hints such as stacking plates and putting chairs up to move customers along.
There’ll probably be some kinks to iron out during your first couple of services, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set yourself up for success. Use the Square Point of Sale and Kitchen Display System as a docket management system to make sure the kitchen is on top of orders. Messy dockets mean messy service, so digitising this is a great way to keep things streamlined. There’s also course management for each table, so you can see what stage of the service each diner is at, and the back-of-house can prepare accordingly.
Another advantage to digitising and centralising your POS with Square is access to analytics. Once you’ve been open for a little while, you can get reports on sales data and menus to monitor trends and identify popular items and times of day. This is an important next step to take after you open and will help you run your business efficiently, get the most out of your staff and gain valuable insights into your customer base.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Square.
Photography: Josie Withers