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In our previous blogs, we have been discussing various restaurant themes. In this blog, we will be dealing with Casual Dining Restaurant (CDR). Casual Dining Restaurants are India’s most popular types of restaurants.

The Casual Dining restaurant concept chain contributes more than 33% of the total market share of the organized food industry. It is further expected to increase by 33% by 2021. It represents the second-largest share of the chain food service in India.

According to the Indian Food Service Report, 2016, released by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) along with leading research firm Technopak, the size of the casual dining restaurant Chain Market was estimated at 6,720 crores in 2016. It is expected to grow by Rs 17,245 crores at 21 percent CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) by 2021.

Fine dining vs. casual dining

There are too many restaurants to choose from and so many dining styles. From fine dining to casual and fast-casual, it could be quite a task to determine the distinctions and find what type of restaurant is right for your special moments.

In this blog, we have covered the difference between fine and casual dining restaurants and the cost you will have to invest in a casual dining restaurant. We have also given the steps you should follow to make a CDR fully functional and operational.

What is a fine dining restaurant?

Fine dining is of higher quality and has greater formality and ambiance than a casual dining restaurant design. The atmosphere of a fine dining restaurant is usually more elegant, and the food is served more formally.

The staff of a fine dining restaurant has a higher level of training and expertise. Their staff includes celebrated chefs, a well-trained waitstaff and bar staff.

What is a Casual Dining Restaurant(CDR)?

Casual Dining Restaurant
Casual Dining Table in a Restaurant

Casual dining restaurants are examples of a relaxed atmosphere. Still, they are more organized and elegant in terms of the ambiance and service offered at traditional fast-food and fast-casual restaurants. A server takes your order in a casual restaurant and brings your meal to the table.

The food quality is also great compared to fast-food restaurants though it is not as good as a fine dining restaurant. Wine, beer, or sometimes a full bar menu would be offered at a CDR.

A casual dining restaurant offers a more relaxed atmosphere that offers time and space for relaxing while being affordable.

The meal prices at a casual dining restaurant in India will be mid-range. The average spend in a casual dining restaurant typically ranges from Rs 250-Rs 500 per person.

Unlike a Quick Service Restaurant, casual dining restaurant chains not only focus on the quality of food but also on many value-added services.

Features of a Casual Dining Restaurant(CDR)

  1. Guests are waited on by a server
  2. Offers a comfortable, laid-back dining atmosphere
  3. Moderately priced menu; often serve alcohol
  4. Typically have televisions in either the dining or bar area
  5. Popular with families and the younger demographic, a sizable repeat customer base

Casual Dining Restaurant is divided as:

  1. Affordable Casual Dining Restaurants
  2. Premium Casual Dining Restaurants

How to Open a Casual Dining Restaurant(CDR)?

A casual dining restaurant layout offers a serene atmosphere and ambiance. This blog elaborates on opening a casual dining restaurant for under Rs 15 lakhs.

Now we will go from the basics:

Choose the Right Location

Choosing the right location for your casual dining restaurant is very important because the location influences a huge part of the dining crowd.

So considering the location, ideal locations for a CDR-style restaurant are shopping malls, markets, downtown areas and corporate complexes.

Diners typically Google, ” Casual dining restaurants near me.” So when they search like this, they will be able to find your restaurant quickly if it is located in a feasible and favorable location.

The ideal space for such restaurants would be 1500 Sqft to 2,000 sqft. Out of the total space, 500 sq ft is dedicated to the kitchen area, while a minimum of 1000 sqft is required for the service area.

A 1500 Sq Ft space in a popular market will cost around Rs 50,000 per month, which can increase depending on the location.

One of the critical factors influencing the potential of casual dining in the parking area. You need to have ample parking space adjacent to the restaurant where it is located.

Accessibility is another important factor for a casual dining restaurant. So, your casual diner must be located on the ground floor or the first floor.

If your CDR is located in places like a market, install proper directional boards to allow easy navigation for the diners. You have to secure a good location which would cost you around Rs 2 lakhs with two months of a security deposit and an advance rent of a month.

According to the NRAI report, most casual dining restaurants are in Delhi and Mumbai.

Select Appropriate Kitchen Equipment

Kitchen Equipment
Kitchen Area in a Restaurant

Next to the location, purchasing appropriate kitchen equipment is the next big investment you need to sort out. Based on your needs, decide whether you need new or second-hand ones.

Efficiency and cost are the crucial factors that impact how you run your restaurant business. So it is always wise to consider purchasing new equipment, including Gas Burners, Gas pipelines, refrigerators, microwave ovens and other electrical and electronic equipment. However, you can purchase used kitchen utensils and other common equipment.

Always involve your chef in purchasing equipment for your restaurant. Your chef can help you find the right equipment and provide a cost-effective kitchen layout. Your chef is the right person to determine which one is cost-effective and optimal in performance.

Based on a rough estimation, the kitchen equipment and raw materials cost Rs 5,00,000, including the cutlery for diners.

Create Pleasant Ambiance and Service

Ambiance for Casual Dining Restaurant
Ambiance of a Restaurant

Next to the location and kitchen equipment, the restaurant’s ambiance is the most important factor that impacts the diners’ visits and revisits. Today customers are looking for more than good food. They want to have new experiences and create memories. Invest in planning for a theme-based restaurant to amp up the looks of your casual dining restaurant. It would cost around Rs 5 Lakhs to create the ambiance needed, including the furniture and the lighting. You can purchase used furniture and upcycle it to suit your restaurant’s theme.

Ambiance doesn’t work by itself. Combine it with a great service to make your diners smile. When it comes to service, using a good POS is a crucial element for the success of a CDR. Never ignore this fact. POS is much more than billing software. A POS is a power-packed utility that can transform the way your restaurant runs while piling up huge savings in your pocket.

A smart POS system cuts costs in many ways, including smart inventory management that ensures zero wastage of ingredients. It enhances CRM and reporting and analytics along with employee management.

A basic POS software can cost you around RS 30,000 per year. But go for a restaurant management feature that offers billing, inventory, kitchen display system, and table management. Always choose a POS that allows third-party integrations to save you the hassles of manual work.

Timely Licensing and Paperwork

Apply for your FSSAI license, GSTIN Number, Police eating house license, Local Municipal Health License and Fire License for your casual dining restaurant (CDR). Ensure to procure these licenses before you proceed with the operations of your restaurant.

The eating house license and fire licenses can be produced at a later date within two-three months after your restaurant becomes operational. As it is time-consuming, it is better to hire a consultancy to work out these procedures. And the total cost to procure the full license will be around Rs 40,000.

Goto www.fssai.gov.in to apply for a food license. Consultants charge up to Rs 7,000 to process this license, including paperwork. Any chartered accountant can help you with the GST Registration, and it can be done here at https://reg.gst.gov.in/registration/

Contact your local health inspector to apply for your Municipal Corporation health license. The license fee will cost you around Rs 3,000. Once you have the Municipal Corporation license, you can get the Eating House and Fire license, which can be done within the first two-three months of the operations of your CDR.

Select Staff Uniform

Restaurant Staff Uniform
Staffs in a restaurant

Next to ambiance and service, presentation is key to the success of your casual dining restaurant. The presentation includes how your restaurant staff presents themselves. Their uniform is the most important factor, as ignoring this can cost you in terms of customers and poor branding. Therefore, your employees must look their best and at their best manners and service intellect.

You can select any uniform like chef coats and t-shirts with an apron. You should have a low-cost uniform that will save the additional cost. For instance, 10 units of chef coats and 50 units of t-shirts and caps would cost you around Rs 20,000, which could last for at least six months.

Marketing

Invest in the best marketing strategies, and you will never regret it. Start your restaurant promotion efforts with a well-designed logo and menu. Opt to hire a professional designer to design the logo and menu. The next part is to design the menu for tables and pamphlets for offline marketing, which are essential parts of Marketing. Develop an attractive casual dining restaurant menu, and it is advisable to go for a lavish hard cardboard menu or a laminated booklet.

Include an attractive one-liner next to every dish featured on the menu. Craft the one-liner to describe the specialty of every dish. Hence pay attention to your restaurant menu descriptions. Also, train your staff to upsell the menu efficiently. Gain customer traction through social media, which is comparatively cost-effective, unlike the traditional tie-up with a food-tech portal.

Disadvantages of a casual dining restaurant

For fast-casual restaurant owners tend to face certain disadvantages in the beverages category. Adult beverages can mean incremental sales and a point of differentiation in a slow-growth, highly competitive environment. But the truth is, serving alcohol is a complicated business.

Alcohol regulations vary from state to state, from the age of employees handling the beverages to how it is promoted, contributing to difficulty among multi-unit operators. It involves purchasing from alcohol wholesalers and distributors and adding another group of vendors to the mix. And licenses to serve spirits, wine, and beer are often in limited supply.

Summary

We hope we have included all the instructions that you will need to follow in the exact steps to open your dream contemporary casual restaurant. Running a casual diner is not a no-brainer. It requires diligent planning and a systematic operations protocol to achieve the expected perfection to get the desired output. So a good way to ensure that you are on the right path is to start with perfect precision. We advise you to follow every single step that we have mentioned in this blog.

If you have further queries or clarifications, engage with us in the comment section below. Alternatively, contact us today if you have POS-related clarifications, and we will gladly assist you.