In the last five years, Canada’s fast-food restaurant industry has expanded with a 2.5% increase until 2020. This shows that despite the notorious news associated with fast-food brands, consumer taste has switched over to healthy fast-food and beverage served with their complete nutritional information for transparency. A healthy quick-service restaurant is different from its traditional versions as it ensures optimum dietary value without compromising on flavor or prices.
So, let’s go over an ultimate guide to learn how to start a healthy QSR from scratch. In this guide, you will learn how to go about your food business and get it registered with the government.
Step 1: Do Your Homework
There’s a lot more to planning a food business than just considering the operative elements or concerns. Once you’ve decided that you want to launch a healthy fast-food business, you need to get down to work and draft everything out; from ongoing costs to your target market and profit margin.
Here’s a brief overview of this outline that needs your time and research. A quick-service restaurant’s startup costs include real estate expense, inventory, and external costs like insurance and marketing. You can lease a restaurant monthly or purchase according to your investment. Next comes the cost for utilities and equipment, including cookware, silverware, dishware, refrigerators, ovens, and ingredients, to name a few.
Make a list of all the equipment that you would need right from the start. Jot down the expense of employees, advertisements, and drive-thru lane. Additionally, you must also include the cost for digital menu boards and signage solutions. You will need them to elevate customer experience and cut down the staff expense. It is a one-time investment at the start, which enables massive turnovers as you kickstart your business.
At a rough estimate, a healthy fast-food restaurant’s startup cost is a minimum of $100,000. In contrast, the ongoing expenses include your monthly mortgage along with marketing costs, utility, and employee expense. As a healthy QSR, if you’re opting for raw food, you can cut down on the expense of ovens.
Step 2: Legal Entity and Taxes
The next step after planning out your business is proceeding towards the rules and regulations. You need to establish a legal business entity that would protect you if your restaurant gets sued. Limited Liability Company (LLC), partnership, or sole proprietorship is the most common structure to kickstart a healthy fast-food restaurant.
Once registered legally, make sure to pay all your taxes, including state, federal, or municipal. The taxes depend on the type of entity you choose for your business. For example, LLCs are often benefited by being taxed as an S Corporation. Make sure you have read up on the small business taxes guide beforehand, or hire an agent to do that on your behalf.
Step 3: Get Permits, Licenses, and Insurance
Acquire all the necessary permits and licenses to avoid hefty fines or, worse – the shutting down of your business. Ensure you have gone through the Food & Drug Rules and Regulations and checked up with your local clerk’s office to obtain the necessary permits.
Similarly, buy the required insurance to operate safely throughout the years. There are several types of insurance plans covering your business needs. You can opt for general liability insurance to protect your business against all kinds of known risks, whereas workers’ compensation insurance covers your employees’ finances.
Either way, ensure that your healthy QSR is protected with an inclusive insurance plan before you run your business regularly.
Step 4: Elevate Customer Experience
An essential step to running a healthy QSR in today’s world is to ensure your customers are always at ease. Unlike high-end restaurants where waiters are ready to serve and entertain the customers, a fast-food restaurant builds on leveraging digital solutions to inform, entertain, advertise, and deliver.
There are plenty of benefits of digital signage for QSR, such as to market, at the point of purchase, and delivering the right content at the right time. Some reasons why you should separate a chunk of your investment for digital signage solutions are following:
1. Decreases Dwell Time and Error
The biggest drawback of a quick-service restaurant is the waiting time for order deliveries. With digital signage, you can diminish the perceived waiting time by informing your customers with relevant pop-up notifications. Additionally, you can entertain your guests with Live TV until their food is ready to serve.
2. Flexible Menu Updates
Quite evidently, the foremost advantage of using digital menu boards is their facility to allow necessary updates to the menu whenever you want. Multiple features can enable you to update, such as Smart Menu Editor or Playlist Inheritance System to either run a previous entry or edit the existing content.
Moreover, the Dayparting feature at NexSigns is an exciting addition to your digital menu boards that allow you to automate your content according to the week’s time and day. With a preset schedule, you can easily configure which screen should run at which hour of whichever day of the week. The cherry on top is that all it requires is a few clicks to customize your content efficiently.
3. Actionable Food Insights
The only way to build a healthy fast-food restaurant’s credibility is to be honest with your customers. It takes time to build trust amongst your consumer market via word-of-mouth; a more manageable and preferable method will be to showcase the nutritional breakdown of your menu on dedicated digital boards.
Quick-service restaurants can create a detailed breakdown of ingredients, nutritional value, preparation method, and other relevant details besides each meal. With various features such as Image Slideshow, you can convey the required information to consumers.
Besides establishing authenticity, this is an excellent way to convince your target market and reduce the effort and resources required to relay this information through other channels. Digital menu boards, therefore, as a one-time investment serve multiple purposes exclusively.
4. Reduces Expenses
That’s right; digital signage reduces expenditure tremendously. It eliminates the need for waiters or staff members otherwise required to serve the customers regarding updates on orders and nutritional value. Moreover, unlike static traditional menu boards that involve the cost of designing, printing, and installation, digital signage can update and revise content as many times as you want.
Step 5: Establish Your Brand
The conclusive step to building a healthy fast-food business is to establish its presence amongst your target market. There are various ways to advertise your business. These include digital signage on windows, digital-out-of-home (DOOH), and other channels such as newspapers, billboards, and social media.
Significantly, it would help if you established an internet presence by creating a website that you can align with the digital signage solutions inside your restaurant. A healthy and powerful marketing tactic uses social media on your interior digital signage to broadcast reviews and customer comments for better credibility and engagement.
Kickstarting a healthy QSR is all about the right investment and operating strategies. Plan out a healthy fast-food menu and make sure your customers know about it. At the bottom line, consider all customer engagement elements to increase foot traffic, and you can enjoy a massive turnover on your investment.