Wondering how to start an Ethiopian restaurant? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
Business Opportunities in Ethiopian Cuisine
Ethiopian cuisine is an entrenched player in the marketplace of ethnic-style restaurants that are gaining popularity with American diners. More than ever before, diners are looking for new food experiences as well as tasty dishes. Ethiopian restaurants are uniquely positioned to deliver a truly unique dining experience and memorable dishes that bring them back for more.
Although it's possible to launch your startup as a food truck or food stall operation, Ethiopian food really hits its stride in a full-scale restaurant environment. A restaurant environment offers a number of advantages including the ability to create an exotic ambience and to provide customers with a broader range of dishes. Injera (flatbread) dipped in stew-types dishes like doro wat are typical of the Ethiopian dining experience and difficult to duplicate outside of a sit-down restaurant setting.
But although food quality is important, nailing the dining experience isn't the only hurdle you'll need to overcome in your startup. You'll also need to create a marketing strategy, perform successful hiring, navigate health department standards and stay on top of developments in the larger, $600 billion per year U.S. restaurant industry by participating in the National Restaurant Association and/or local trade organizations.
Increasing Traffic in an Ethiopian Restaurant Startup
Like any new restaurant, an Ethiopian restaurant needs to generate a high volume of traffic right out of the gate to have any hope of long-term success. Don't assume that the novelty of a new Ethiopian eatery alone will bring customers through the doors. To increase traffic levels, you'll need to take the initiative and be proactive about driving traffic to your startup.
- Community Networking. Good Ethiopian restaurants are patronized by the Ethiopian community. As an Ethiopian restaurateur, you have a vested interest in networking activities that inform the local Ethiopian community about your restaurant and motivate community members to frequent your establishment.
- Public Relations. Ethiopian cuisine is unusual enough to warrant coverage in local media outlets. A carefully crafted public relations campaign can deliver tons of free advertising and inform prospective patrons about the communal and vegetarian aspects of your dining experience.
- Social Media. Social media is a hot topic for all kinds of small businesses. But in the restaurant industry, participation in social media is quickly becoming a required element of a successful startup. If you aren't familiar with sites like Facebook and Twitter, get familiar and start building communities of online followers ASAP.
Proven Strategies for Ethiopian Restaurant Business Plans
The process of writing a business plan for your Ethiopian restaurant can be grueling. If it's comprehensive and well-written, however, your business plan will serve as a strategic anchor point and a calling card for external stakeholders.
After you have written you plan, you'll also need to develop a strategy for your next steps.
A business plan distribution strategy represents the backend of your business planning requirements. Generally, effective distribution models include the incorporation of tracking systems into the company's startup plan.
How to Become a Local Success
New Ethiopian restaurants must work hard to gain the support of their local communities. In contrast to other types of businesses, Ethiopian restaurants are focused and localized operations. If local residents don't view your startup favorably, it could be difficult to achieve lasting success.
Well in advance of opening an Ethiopian restaurant in your area, it's worthwhile to find out what the competition looks like. Use the link below to generate a list of competitors nearby. Simply enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of Ethiopian restaurants in your town.
How tough is the competition in the market you are considering? If the competition is too tough, you may need to think about starting the business in a different area or even start a completely different business instead.
Studying the Market
If you are interested in starting an Ethiopian restaurant, it's a wise move to speak with somebody who is already in the business. Local competitors are not going to give you the time of day, mind you. The last thing they want to do is help you to be a better competitor.
On the other hand, an individual who has an Ethiopian restaurant in another town may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, given that you don't compete with them in their area. In that case, the business owner may be more than happy to discuss the industry with you. It can take a while to find an entrepreneur who is willing to talk, but it's well worth the effort.
Where can you find somebody who runs an Ethiopian restaurant in another city who you can speak with?
No problem! Just use the link below and try a random city/state or zipcode. Then start dialing for advice until you are successful.
Leveraging the Branding Benefits of an Ethiopian Restaurant Acquisition
Branding a new business takes time, resources and a lot of hard work. Given the choice, most new Ethiopian restaurant owners would prefer to buy an existing brand rather than invest the time and energy it takes to build a new brand.
To compensate, one of the techniques entrepreneurs use is to buy a business to get an established brand. As a startup, the best you can hope for is to gradually develop brand awareness over a period of months and years.
However, an Ethiopian restaurant acquisition can put you at the helm of a brand that is already highly trusted by your target market.
Franchising May Be a Better Way to Go
As an entrepreneur, your chances being a successful business owner are much greater if you go the franchising route in lieu of doing everything yourself.
Prior to making the decision to open an Ethiopian restaurant, you would be wise to determine whether there are good franchise opportunities available that might increase your chances of success.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing Ethiopian restaurant, these resources will come in handy:
If you sell to Ethiopian restaurants, you're in the wrong place. Try these resources instead:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.