Sushi restaurants have become so popular in the United States now it seems that there is one on every corner, not only in major cities but also in smaller cities. Starting a sushi restaurant can be a great business opportunity, but you need to distinguish yourself from others to enjoy long-term success.
1. Study your local market for sushi and identify your niche. In the market full of sushi, you can not be all things to all people. Maybe your community needs an elegant and exclusive sushi bar is expensive. Or, maybe you just need a cheap hotel buffet. For long-term success, you must go to the right customer and choose the right price point, since it is essential that you have a solid foundation in a niche market that is still popular.
2. Find a suitable location. If you plan a real restaurant that can demand higher prices for fresh fish, delivered daily from Japan, focus on neighborhoods and outlets that already attract a sophisticated Japanese client. If you plan a cheap buffet restaurant, points to the masses looking for affordable high-traffic locations with large shopping centers and other local points of interest.
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3. Decide if you want a traditional Japanese room, or a more serene ambiance avant-garde. The atmosphere of the restaurant will play an important role in determining the type of customers you want to attract. For example, Sushi Rock Cafe in Miami Beach combines excellent sushi at reasonable prices in an environment around Elvis paraphernalia and loud classic rock and roll. Despite the many local competitors, it is always full and it’s fun.
4. Choose your fishmonger. This will be one of the most important decisions you do and a key factor in your success or failure. If you’re in a major city, find a provider should not be a problem. If you’re in a small town, finding a reliable daily source of the best fresh fish around the world can be a challenge.
5. Find a chef specialty sushi. This is the other key to your success. Importing a master sushi chef from Japan is expensive, but that’s what you need if you want to leave your mark on the top of an already saturated market. Bringing local to the next “superstar” in the local sushi scene can help build a quick reputation that attracts customers from all over. If you’re going to create a business buffet restaurant, you can use almost any competent chef.
Tips & Warnings
A large majority of new restaurants fail within less than a year. A plan, well researched solid business will be an essential element of planning and execution.
Make sure you meet all food service regulations of the city and county. These usually are of strict compliance and can cause you a lot of teething problems if you’re not careful.