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9 restaurant ideas to inspire your new eatery

One of the best things about opening a restaurant is there’s no one to tell you what you can or can’t do, to an extent. If you’re franchising a restaurant, your options for putting your own creative spin on the eatery are minimal. Also, suppose you’re trying to secure financing from investors or lending institutions. In that case, you’ll need to prove to them that your concept will be successful — which could mean making compromises with your restaurant’s vision.

Those things aside, let’s for a moment pretend that money is not a concern for your new restaurant. In that case, there are almost limitless possibilities to the creative restaurant concept ideas you can use to make yours stand out from the crowd. Having this mindset will inspire you to create a unique restaurant that you enjoy building, growing, and going to work in every day. After all, that’s the most important thing.

Here are nine new restaurant ideas to inspire you to build a truly unique restaurant concept.

Fully equipped kitchen in restaurant
Image used with permission by copyright holder

1. Be sustainable

These days, how a restaurant operates and where it sources its food are almost as important as the food itself. Having a restaurant that’s certified by the Green Restaurant Association lets people know that you’ve made an effort to operate as sustainably as possible.

2. Focus on fusion

The bottom line is that the food has to be consistently delicious for your restaurant to be successful. Unless you have a specific theme in mind (Thai, Italian), fusion cooking is a great way to provide a unique dining experience. Blending food styles from various cultures is an excellent way to appeal to people from all walks of life.

3. Offer dietary substitutions

As health becomes a primary concern for a vast number of people, it’s crucial to have a menu that appeals to everyone. Hiring a skilled chef who can prepare menu items for customers with dietary restrictions, such as vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, keto, paleo, and others is necessary these days.

4. Go local

People love supporting local small businesses. By partnering with local bakeries, farms, and breweries to supply the food, you can also say your restaurant does the same. Contracting local artists for decor is also a great idea.

5. Be family-friendly

Dining with children doesn’t have to be a nail-biting experience for the parents or the childless guests, especially if you plan for it. By having activities and even areas of engagement for kids, the dining experience can be fun for everyone. After all, we remember looking forward to going to the restaurants that gave you crayons as kids. It’s the 2020s — we can do better now.

6. Be pet-friendly

Some people’s families consist of babies of the furry variety. Depending on your region, more municipalities are becoming less restrictive on letting animals sit with customers, not only on patios but also in the dining room. Being a pet-friendly establishment is just another way to welcome more customers.

7. Be a progressive employer

Finding a good, reliable staff has always been a top challenge for restaurants. Post-pandemic, it has been even harder, and many restaurants have had to shutter their doors because of it. A big reason is that restaurant work is tough, and many workers feel undervalued by owners and customers. To solve this problem, the entire restaurant industry needs to shift from tip-reliant payment methods to provide workers with a salary and benefits. Operating in this manner might take some education and getting used to, but ultimately, it’ll attract top-level employees. 

Happy ethnic restaurant owners
Image used with permission by copyright holder

8. Rotate chefs

Once a restaurant’s chef gets acclaim in a city, people start going to that establishment even more. If you’re looking to open the type of restaurant where you want to feature award-winning chefs, try networking with other restaurant owners with the same vision. By teaming up, all partners involved can make business boom by rotating or collaborating with chefs from different restaurants to feature new and exciting menu items. Plus, it’s a nice change of scenery and a resume builder for your chef.

9. Be mobile

Your restaurant doesn’t have to be a brick-and-mortar establishment to be successful. Many restaurants start out as pop-ups and food trucks. As demand grows, many graduate to brick-and-mortar restaurants. However, some restaurants prefer the flexibility and low overhead costs of this style of establishment.

Final thoughts on unique restaurant ideas

These ideas to inspire your new eatery are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many new and innovative things you can bring to a restaurant, even today. The essential thing to remember is to incorporate things that will make your restaurant successful and a place you enjoy going to every day. 

If you’re still unsure of what you might want your restaurant to be, a good idea is to research restaurants in your area. Take note of what seems to be working for them, along with what’s not, and then go from there.

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Steven Johnson
Steven Johnson is a chef-turned-content strategist. He now helps companies attract and retain more customers through content…
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