Are you considering opening your own restaurant when you retire to the Philippines? There are probably not many places around the world where you can accomplish your dream with less money. I am referring to the place as right here in some areas of the Philippines. I personally know several foreigners who have successful restaurants in the Bacolod area. I am not telling you that you will get rich or even make enough to live on in the beginning, however, if you meet certain criteria, have the excitement of having your own restaurant, have time on your hands and already have a sustainable income, I’ve got some good news for you. You can be successful.
The successful expat restaurant owners I know are 100% hands on in the beginning. There is no way around it. If you are not willing be take an active role everyday in your restaurant, stop right there. It’s not going to work in the vast majority of situations.
Your Mind’s Eye
The concept and aspiration for your restaurant is of great importance. What type of restaurant are you planning? Why should anyone eat at your restaurant when there are so many other choices? How are you going to attract diners to your restaurant? Are you going to depend mostly on foreign diners? Are you willing to change and adapt your personal menu preferences when they do not fly with the diners? These are all very important questions.
Restaurant decorations and the atmosphere presented need to be well planned.
Location, Location, Location
How much will the rent be for renting the building in a decent location for my restaurant? In Bacolod, it can be done for P20,000 per month. Of course, this is not for a location in a hotel, a mall, or a high traffic office building. The rent for a building for a restaurant, off one of the main streets in Bacolod is P15,000-P30,000 per month, with the P20,000 range about average. This is for a start up restaurant to seat 40-50 people.
You will be spending more money for making changes to the building interior to set up the restaurant you want to have.
The Name Game
“William’s Eatery.” How does that sound to you? I think you already know the answer. The name of your restaurant can make or break it.
Once you have come up with the name for the restaurant, you must register it with DTI, Dept of Trade and Industry, for sole proprietor. You must have a barangay clearance, which you will take to City Hall to acquire the Mayor’s Permit. You are not finished yet. You must also go to the BIR, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and register with them.
I will not go into the fees because they vary from city to city. You will spend a ton more when opening a restaurant in one of the large cities in the Philippines than you will in a mid-size city or a small city.
Ground Control To Major Tom
You are in business and now what? You have the brick and mortar for your restaurant, all the paperwork and ready to open. How will you promote your restaurant?
Contact the local newspapers and build it up. Most likely, the paper will run at least a short article about your establishment, since you are a foreigner investing in their community.
Facebook. You can reach millions on Facebook about your new restaurant.
It is recommended to pay professionals to design your signs. You can print up circulars and have someone pass them out in areas with high traffic to attract diners to your restaurants.
Do not, do not hire relatives as your staff just because they are relatives. This is the cardinal rule. It is best to hire experienced employees and be willing to pay them a decent salary. Train your staff to represent your plan for making the dining experience a very pleasant one for your diners. Errors on orders and lazy service will cause you to lose diners. You can believe that.
An attractive menu with print that is easily read will jump out at the diners. Have a nice description that will attract the diners to order the dishes. Make them hungry to order.
Do not ever forget to be creative. Offer regular specials, change the menu, have regular promos, attract the customer base.
I’ve shared with you some of my personal business plan for opening a restaurant in our area of the Philippines. It is a highly competitive business and to be honest, most restaurants designed to earn a sustainable income fail. This is the first installment of my articles about the restaurant business in the Philippines, which are owned and operated by expats.
The restaurant business can be a very viable business, with a decent income. Some get lucky and earn much money every month but there are keys to success and there are keys to failure.