Why this is Important
Food has always been an important part of society. Holidays and special occasions are often centered on food and the kitchen & dining room are often the center of social activity in the home. The neighborhood restaurant provides not just a place to eat, but also a relaxing location away from home, a place to meet your friends & neighbors, and an attraction to draw other people to your neighborhood.
What this will involve
A new restaurant in an area can be a great catalyst for further economic development. It is also, however, a very risky undertaking especially for a potential owner who may not be fully prepared for it. A significant percentage of new restaurants fail in the first years of their operation, with some estimates as high as 75% within 5 years. Sometimes because of the inexperience of the owner, sometimes for reasons beyond the owner’s control.
Being prepared and knowing what to expect can minimize this risk however. Before doing anything else, the potential restaurant entrepreneur needs to evaluate their idea and make sure it is viable. Questions like:
- What group of people am I targeting as my customers?
- What will I offer on the menu?
- Is the menu simple enough for me to manage?
- What is my “catch” that I will use to pull people in?
Having a weak initial concept is one of the many reasons restaurant can and have failed. Not targeting a specific group of people will result in weak advertising and make drawing in customers difficult. A menu that is too large or complicated will increase the cost of operation and may confuse or intimidate customers. Without some theme or idea to build ones restaurant around, it will be difficult to distinguish oneself from the competition and convince people to come to your restaurant rather than the competition. A good example of applying these principles, specifically having a simple menu, is Five Guys Burgers and Fries which, as its name might suggest, has burgers, fries and little else. Five Guys does one thing and it does it very well.
Getting a restaurant into Industry will likely require a supremely motivated potential owner/operator with a good understanding of what it takes to open a restaurant and make it successful. Because of this, opening a restaurant is often a task best left to those with experience in such things. What the community can do to encourage such people to invest in the neighborhood is to create an environment that makes opening a restaurant attractive. A place where there is all-day activity, attractive streets, easy access, and a reason for people to be around.
Contact information for funding/assistance sources
Department of Community Development
300 N. High St. City Hall
Muncie, IN 47305-1639
Phone: (765) 747-4825
Fax: (765) 747-4898
Contact: Cheryl Decker, Executive Assistant
There are no direct examples of neighborhoods lobbying and funding a restaurant, however, there is a wealth of information available online outlining the steps necessary to begin the process of opening one. The following is a short list sites and articles to get one started.