If you’re new to the business world as a restauranteur, it can be difficult to know what sorts of steps to take in order to truly succeed. While the aphorism that most restaurants fail in the first year is actually false, if you have a small team of 20 or fewer the failure rate of your startup increases significantly. If you’ve just opened a restaurant or are in the planning stages of getting into the foodservice industry here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Hire a great chef and know your concept

Consistency is paramount in a restaurant and a solid chef will help you maintain this. You want to make sure that every guest in your restaurant has the same, excellent experience each time they visit and a good chef will help you continue to craft delicious food. A good chef can also help you innovate from within your restaurant’s concept, allowing you to stay trendy while staying true to the style of cuisine you focus on. This keeps your guests coming back for more as they recognize you and your chef’s commitment to offering a unique and tasty dining experience each and every time.

Keep adequate funds in reserve

You never know when outside forces are going to negatively impact customer turnout. This is true even if you have a great reputation with plenty of word of mouth. Part of protecting any business involves keeping money in reserve, and a restaurant is no different. By having money to keep your restaurant afloat for several months during an economic downturn, you can buy yourself the time to restructure your business if needed. This allows you to make the best decisions for your restaurant and staff, instead of forcing your hand due to insufficient funds.

Use social media

Instagram is the perfect way to help bolster awareness about your restaurant. From highlighting a new menu item to showing the human side of your staff, an attractive photo on Instagram can go a long way in boosting your social media presence. If you do daily specials, it never hurts to make a few posts to your restaurant’s Instagram story each day in order to get your restaurant in front of guests, too.

Make your promotion and marketing strategy aggressive

Once you have a great name, website, and logo it’s important to get the word out. Part of aggressively promoting your business involves always having a business card on you. You may also want to let customers take a customized pen with them after they pay for their bill. Minespress.com is a business-focused printing company that can offer you great deals on a variety of high-quality printed materials, helping you put your best foot forward.

Invest in your kitchen

If you’ve watched shows like Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares then you understand how a disorganized kitchen can go a long way in contributing to a lack of success for your restaurant. Make sure to consult with your chef when it comes to outfitting your kitchen with the proper cooking equipment, as well as where certain prep and cook areas are placed. You’ll also want to make sure that your kitchen is properly maintained once it’s built. This includes getting regular grease trap service, keeping knives sharp, and ensuring that stoves, ovens, refrigerators, and your deep freeze are all in working order.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, following the above tips is a great way to start doubling down on your restaurant concept so that you ultimately find success. Keep in mind that a great chef, solid marketing, and a well-serviced kitchen can go a long way in establishing your restaurant as a leader in the industry and focus on these things in your planning and execution. If you do, you’re sure to launch a profitable business.