Hospitality start ups – how to avoid your dream turning into a nightmare!

It takes a special kind of person to start a business; entrepreneurial, brave, visionary, gutsy, determined and go-getting. And it takes a hero to start a hospitality business – who else could take on the challenge of long hours, demanding customers, scary on-line reviews, small profit margins and all the rest?

So, you’ve been dreaming about it, have bitten the bullet and are now turning your idea of a funky artisan coffee shop, high-end cocktail bar, themed restaurant, boutique hotel or cool bistro into reality. You know there will be stumbling blocks along the way, but how will you face them? And who will help you to overcome them?

Victus has worked on a number of start up projects, from specialist coffee shops and Italian restaurants to small island hotels and farm shop/cafés. And we see the same thing happening time and again: owners getting caught up in the excitement of all the sexy things like building work, branding, marketing, procurement, product tasting and menu creation to the detriment of three key elements essential to a hospitality start up:


1. Legislation
I know, yawn, right? So unsexy, too many i’s to dot and t’s to cross, too many forms to complete when there’s so much else going on. BUT SO IMPORTANT! Have you thought of:

  • Building regulations approval?
  • Annex II of the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation No.1169/2011?
  • EU Regulations 852/2004?
  • Health & hygiene certificates?
  • EHO standards?
  • Premises & personal alcohol licensing?
  • Cold storage & acrylamide policies?

2. Staff
I’m not for a minute suggesting anyone would overlook employing staff, but what’s the plan once they’ve accepted the offer? Do you have:

  • Terms & conditions of employment?
  • Full job description?
  • Induction plan?
  • Staff manual explaining uniform policy, expected levels of behaviour, who to contact when they’re unwell, food & drink allowance…?
  • Ongoing training & induction programme?

3. Never underestimate the commitment required
Getting a business up and running is the easy bit. Keeping it going is a lot harder! Before starting out, you must be 100% sure that you have the emotional as well as financial ability to turn your fledgling business into a success. How will you cope with your day-to-day life changing? Losing sleep? Feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Not being able to dedicate as much time as you would like to friends and family? Do you have the energy to grow and develop your business, long after the initial excitement and novelty have worn off?

Yes, starting your own company is hugely exciting – do everything you can to avoid these pitfalls and it could stay that way!

Victus can help you get your start up idea of the ground and make sure you hit the ground running. We can also support you as you grow and develop your business, offering anything from practical advice to a sympathetic ear. Please call us on 07732 454 639 or email andrew@victusconsultancy.co.uk for more information.