With the frequency at which Americans go out to eat, a good restaurant is something that any city or town is ready to embrace. Yet getting one up and running is a tough challenge for any ambitious restaurateur. Certain restaurant myths about the difficulties have circulated for years, but nevertheless getting off the ground will take some good decision making, some financial capital and some tenacity. A great deal of considerations will have to be made beyond food, décor and ambience, so here we’ll offer guidelines for some essential facets to keep in mind when putting your culinary establishment together that go beyond food.

Setting Up Your New Restaurant: Thinking Beyond The Menu

Setting the Scene: Location and Ambience

Whether you’re looking to capture a casual, walk-in type of crowd or cater to serious foodies, the main reason they’ll be showing up is pretty simple: to have a great meal in enjoyable, relaxing surroundings. Yet that simplicity involves a combination of things, with the food, the atmosphere, the style, the service and the cleanliness all playing vital roles in the overall experience. In fact, for some people, the cleanliness of a restaurant is of higher priority than the food itself.

Being located somewhere that doesn’t present a hassle or that isn’t in a sketchy neighborhood could potentially be a make-or-break factor, so finding a convenient spot is important. As far as the interior, you’ll need to present an inviting and comfortable space. The restaurant should convey a certain mood that’s expressed consistently in the decorations, furniture, lighting and even the music you’ll have playing.

Behind the Scene: Getting the Kitchen Operational

In order to make your culinary ideas a reality, some essentials are going to have to be in place first, from cooking utensils and pots and pans to restaurant-quality refrigerators and a commercial freezer. You’ll also need to determine what kinds of other commercial-grade equipment you’ll need and what your budget will let you afford. You may be able to lease some stoves and grills, or track down some used items to get you started.

Bringing the Scene to Life: Following your Vision

As a hopeful restaurateur, you may have admired many famous chefs and had many favorite eateries over the years. But how many times have you finished a meal that was a little off and thought, “I should be the chef around here”? Remember that feeling as your restaurant grows, and do whatever you can to help your diners avoid having that same feeling about your place.

The vision you have for the food you’ll serve, the look and feel of the place and the overall style you’d like to convey should be a guide for getting the business under way. Following your ambition will guide you through the challenges of opening a restaurant, including all the day-to-day tasks that will build on that foundation of your vision and imagination. As you get closer to making your restaurant a reality, you’ll be putting your own skills to the test in the hopes of winning a dedicated fan base and becoming a local hot spot for years to come.