There are many means of running your own restaurant, or one in partnership with an investor. Some chefs become such a famous name that they can begin merchandising or selling food products outside of the restaurant. Some are simply given money to start their own project based on the restaurant alone. And sometimes, chefs with a certain degree of success need to go cap-in-hand to an investor and try to sell them on the idea.
This isn’t too silly of an approach. Success can happen here. You just need to define your idea perfectly. You need to substantiate your statements. You need to have a solid base of an audience, or perhaps a local reputation for great service and of course, even better food. The step from chef to restauranteur is a massive one. Perhaps never before have you paid deep attention to the wine list, for example. But now you will.
Impressing a potential investor with your dream restaurant idea requires guts and tenacity, but what chef worth his or her salt lacks those two things? Let us consider how you might turn this gumption into actionable results:
Show Your Passion
A restaurant is much more than a simple business. It sells an emotion, an idea, a lifestyle, a concept. It needs to be cohesive and tight, but also a form of fantasy. You want to give the impression that when people walk into your restaurant, dreams will come true. But of course, exaggeration or simply weaving a fantasy ideal without substance to back it up is not something that will be tolerated for more than a few seconds – nor should it.
This is where it can be essential to show your passion. Show what a particular cuisine means to you. For example, it might be that you’re speaking to those who have presided over a restaurant for some time, and now it’s closing down. They have pride and the rights to the building, and you want to make a case for why you are the new person on the scene who can return this space to its former glory.
For this, we need to go deeper into ‘example’ territory. Let us say you were classically trained in French cuisine during your years in Paris. That would be enviable. It would also help you present to the French ownership of said lot well. Show them what the cuisine gave to you when you were forming your skills. Show them why it was personal. Show them why you wish to give something back, to honor your cuisine, to help the locals celebrate this environment again. Showing your passion like this can help you gain that air of authenticity that you simply cannot gain in a stock business pitch.
But all of this also requires:
Crystal Clear Messaging
It is essential that you are absolutely direct in what you hope to achieve. What cuisines do you hope to show? What ideas do you have for the menu? What clientele do you hope to attract, and how will you keep them coming back to your dining hall? It’s essential to have conducted market research, to understand the local environment.
This could be backed up by displaying just how you’re going to make the most of local produce, or how you hope to either subvert or compliment the competition in the area. All of this is essential to show that you’re something different and that you won’t fall in line, while still respecting the customs of the environment. In other words, you need to wrap your facts in excitement, and that should drip from you and infect those you are presenting your ideas to, through osmosis alone.
This expression can be best helped through the use of expert presentation software. Remember, a restaurant is a heavily branded business, something that takes appearances, be that the presentation of a dish, the design of the dining room, or the front of the building as an extreme marker of importance. If you cannot wrap your ideas in this same excellent pitching package, then you’re going to look less refined as you profess yourself to be. Presentation software that allows a range of designs, easy templating solutions, and a means to divide your ideas into digestible chunks can allow someone watching your pitch to fully visualize and understand what you hope to achieve.
One of the worst mistakes any restaurant can make is assuming that their winning menu will continue to be relevant as the years pass on. It likely won’t be. Culinary trends perhaps aren’t as fickle as seasonal fashion, but you can remain sure that tastes change, what’s considered exciting will often differ over the years, and that taking risks will always be something that will gain attention, good or bad.
You must often demonstrate your willingness to take risks if you hope to be seen as someone who can draw the audience and allow your reputation to build. You don’t need to be too ‘out there,’ of course. But you do need to have a very keen idea of how flavor profiles can work together, of how you can present a dish within an excitable format, and how the substance of said dish can work for itself.
Massimo Bottura, head chef and owner of one of the most celebrated restaurants in the world, Osteria Francescana, has one of the most interesting dishes on his menu. After a junior waiter dropped a lemon tart, its cracking inspired Massimo. He rebuilt the lemon tart to recreate the chaos that had occurred. This presentation gave something new, and allow for experimentation of flavor as further changes were considered to enhance the dish. It remains on his menu to this day. It’s this method of seeing a visionary attitude and of trying your best to translate that to something concrete (or in this case, edible) can help you achieve the results you want.
With these tips, we hope you truly blow away those investors. Good luck!