What Is a Restaurant Concept?

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Negosentro.com | What Is a Restaurant Concept? | Opening a restaurant can be one of the most challenging types of businesses and the most rewarding. 

Most restaurant owners go into it with a sense of passion and excitement, but they can get bogged down by the actual components needed to open successfully.  

One of the initial considerations is restaurant concept development. You don’t have to box yourself in entirely with your concept because often the lines are blurred, and you may evolve over time, but you should have a general sense of where you’re headed with your concept. 

The following are some things to know about concept development and what goes into it. 

What Is a Concept?

A concept is a theme that serves to define your restaurant. Your concept might be based on the interests of a chef or their experiences. Family traditions, locally sourced ingredients, or heritage can all serve as concept inspiration too. 

There’s also the type of restaurant you’ll have logistically, playing a role in the larger concept. This is the service style. 

Some of the styles of restaurant service include:

  • Fast-casual: This is an especially popular type of restaurant right now. A fast-casual restaurant is one that’s a bit higher-end and more expensive than a fast-food restaurant. 
  • Family style: This is casual dining, usually with moderately priced items. When you think about most of the popular sit-down restaurants in the U.S., those would be considered family style for the most part. 
  • Fine dining: This high-end concept might include white table cloths and impeccable service. Each fine dining restaurant, even if owned by the same person or company, is typically unique. 
  • Café: A café is where you might order at a counter or serve yourself, but sit down in the restaurant to actually have your food or beverage. 

Other concepts include pop-ups, food trucks, and fast-food restaurants. 

What Are the Elements of a Concept?

Restaurant concept elements include:

  • The name: Your restaurant name needs to indicate what you serve and what type of restaurant you are. In some cases, you might also choose a name inspired by your own family or perhaps your location. 
  • Menu: The menu includes not just the items and their names but also how you describe them.
  • Service style: Service style is what we went over above. For example, fast-casual and family-style. 
  • Décor: Décor is a huge part of a restaurant concept, and a lot of new restaurant owners
    will work with a consultant and an interior designer to convey their messaging and brand through their different décor elements like beer posters, food posters or celebration scenes etc. Restaurants are about an overall experience, and décor plays into that. You also want to think about the logistical needs of your customers when planning restaurant décor.

Tips for Choosing a Concept

The following are some general tips for choosing a restaurant concept or building it out. 

  • If you’re a chef, what personally inspires you? In any line of work, it’s much easier to develop a successful business or perform well when you feel inspired and passionate about what you’re doing. Let your own experiences and passions guide your restaurant concept. It doesn’t always have to stem from your family or heritage. Maybe you have travel experiences that particularly resonate with you, for example. 
  • What will make you unique? Every business, including restaurants, need to have a unique value proposition. Why will you stand out? What will make your restaurant compelling to customers?
  • Who will your customers be? Yes, you want to start with a foundation built on passion, but you need to make sure the demand is there for what you’re going to offer. Who will you be marketing to? Are they going to want what you’re going to offer? How will you communicate with your targeted customers?
  • What’s your menu going to look like? You want a cohesive menu, and you’re going to have to factor in the budget. 

Overall, as you’re building out your concept and the identity of your restaurant, you need to stay consistent across the board. Choose a few things you’re going to do well, rather than trying to do everything. 

You want to build a loyal base of customers who will keep coming back over and over again. 

To do that, they need to know they can expect consistency from you. 

Sure, your menu could change seasonally, but overall you want to become the community go-to. You want to build a reputation based on your concept that is something people can rely on.