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Most businesses that buy, sell, ship, process or manufacture food will have CFIA regulations to follow. You may have regulations or inspection standards to follow if you produce, transport or manufacture specific food products in Ontario. Regulated products include dairy, eggs, fish, meat, honey and other plant-based products. Contact the Ministry directly to find out what will apply to your business. Many municipalities have licences specific to food handling or food preparation.

If your municipality is not listed in BizPaL, or you are not sure what municipality your business falls under, you can contact the Association of Municipalities of Ontario AMO for information on what municipal regulations, licences or permits will be needed to operate your business.

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As an employer in Ontario, there are rules set out in the Employment Standards Act, ESA that you need to follow when handling tips and other gratuities in your workplace. Generally, you cannot withhold, make deductions from, or make your employees hand over their tips or other gratuities. The Ontario government prohibits smoking in all enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places. If you plan on selling or serving alcoholic beverages, you will need one or all of the following:. You will need a liquor licence for your business if you sell or serve alcoholic beverages in an area where light meals are available.

The BYOW endorsement allows customers of your licensed establishment to bring unopened wine from home. Your business can get a catering endorsement from the AGCO if you wish to sell and serve liquor at catered events in an unlicensed area. You will need a permit to serve alcohol at special events such as weddings or charity fundraisers. Special Occasions Permits cannot be issued for a private residence. Your restaurant or catering business will be inspected and appraised, so you should strive to maintain high health standards.

When you are dealing with health issues, there are several standards that you may need to be aware of including:. When your business uses recorded music, you are responsible for obtaining the right licence s for that use. The Copyright Board of Canada works with individual copyright collective societies who provide music licensing. Contact the following two organizations for more information. SOCAN is a not-for-profit organization that represents the performance rights of music creators and music publishers.

They can help you learn about your obligations and obtaining the required licence s. Re:Sound is the Canadian not-for-profit organization that represents the performance rights of artists and record companies, and provides the legally required licence s for businesses. You can get help determining what licence s will be required, what the licensing process will be and how much it will cost.

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Contact Re:Sound: Re:Sound. The service is generally aimed at those who cannot afford a lawyer. The service may be able to assist you in finding a lawyer or paralegal, based on your needs. Use online: Law Society Referral Service.

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If you offer coupons and gift certificates, find out how to apply the HST when you sell them and when you redeem them. In addition to charging HST, you need to know how much tax was collected on beer and wine products you sell to customers. So focus on the 5 or 10 percent of the market that you can get, and forget about the rest. With that said, who is eating at restaurants? Let's look at the main market categories of food-service business customers:. Restaurants are classified into three primary categories: quick-service, midscale and upscale.

Quick-service restaurants are also known as fast-food restaurants. These establishments offer limited menus of items that are prepared quickly and sold for a relatively low price. In addition to very casual dining areas, they typically offer drive-thru windows and take-out service.

When people think of fast-food restaurants, they often think of hamburgers and french fries, but establishments in this category also serve chicken, hot dogs, sandwiches, pizza, seafood and ethnic foods. Midscale restaurants, as the name implies, occupy the middle ground between quick-service and upscale restaurants.

They offer full meals but charge prices that customers perceive as providing good value. Midscale restaurants offer a range of limited- and full-service options. In a full-service restaurant, patrons place and receive their orders at their tables; in a limited-service operation, patrons order their food at a counter and then receive their meals at their tables.

Many limited-service restaurants offer salad bars and buffets. Upscale restaurants offer full table service and do not necessarily promote their meals as offering great value; instead, they focus on the quality of their cuisine and the ambience of their facilities. Fine-dining establishments are at the highest end of the upscale restaurant category and charge the highest prices.

Restaurant patrons want to be delighted with their dining experience, but they don't necessarily want to be surprised. Concepts give restaurateurs a way to let patrons know in advance what to expect and also to provide some structure for their operation. Here are some of the more popular restaurant concepts:. Before you can begin any serious business planning, you must first decide what specific segment of the food-service industry you want to enter.

While there are many commonalities among the various types of food-service businesses, there are also many differences. And while there is much overlap in the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful, your own personality and preferences will dictate whether you choose to open a commercial bakery, a coffee cart, a fine-dining restaurant or another type of operation.

Then, once you have decided what business best suits you, you must figure out the niche you'll occupy in the marketplace.


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For example, are you an early riser, or do you prefer to stay up late and sleep late? If you like--or at least don't mind--getting up before dawn, your niche may be a bakery or a casual breakfast-and-lunch operation.


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  7. Night owls are going to be drawn to the hours required for bar-and-grill types of restaurants, fine-dining establishments and even pizzerias. Do you like dealing with the public, or are you happier in the kitchen? If you're a people person, choose a food-service business that gives you plenty of opportunity to connect with your customers. If you're not especially gregarious, you'll probably lean more toward a commercial type of business, perhaps a bakery or even a catering service, where you can deal more with operational issues than with people.

    Some other types of questions to ask yourself include, Do you have a passion for a particular type of cuisine? Do you enjoy a predictable routine, or do you prefer something different every day? Are you willing to deal with the additional responsibilities and liabilities that come with serving alcoholic beverages? As you do this self-analysis, think about your ideal day. If you could be doing exactly what you wanted to do, what would it be? Once you've decided on the best niche for you as an individual, it's time to determine if you can develop a niche in the market for your food-service business.

    Working in a Restaurant Dealing graciously with customers and playing the role of elegant host are only part of a restaurateur's many duties. Food-service business operators spend most of their time developing menus; ordering inventory and supplies; managing personnel; creating and implementing marketing campaigns; making sure their operation is in compliance with a myriad of local, state and federal regulations; completing a wide range of paperwork; and performing other administrative chores.

    Certainly the financial opportunities are there--as are the fun aspects of the business--but starting, running and growing a food-service business is also hard work. Regardless of the type of food-service business you intend to start, the best way to learn the ropes is to work for a similar operation for a while before striking out on your own. Doing so will give you significant insight into the realities and logistics of the business.

    Successful restaurateurs agree that the best preparation for owning a restaurant is to work in someone else's first. Think of it as getting paid to be educated. Certainly you should read books and take courses, but you should also plan to work in a restaurant for at least a few years doing as many different jobs as possible. And if you're not actually doing the job, pay attention to the person who is--you may find yourself doing it when your own restaurant is unexpectedly shorthanded.

    Ideally, you should work in a restaurant similar to the type you want to open. You may find you don't like the business. Or you may find you're more suited to a different type of operation than you originally thought. Hopefully, you'll discover you're in exactly the right place. That venture failed within eight months, then Redler went to work for a large restaurant company, where he eventually advanced to the position of senior vice president, overseeing 15 operations.

    Armed with practical experience, you're ready to put together your business plan--the most critical element of your restaurant. Map out everything on paper before you buy the first spoon or crack the first egg. When you're writing a business plan you should include: a clear definition of your concept; a description of your market; your menu and pricing; detailed financial information, including data on your startup capital amount and sources and your long-term income and expense forecasts; a marketing plan; employee hiring, training and retention programs; and detailed plans that outline how you'll deal with the challenges restaurateurs face every day.

    Including an exit plan in your strategy is also a good idea. Funding Your Business How much money you need to start depends on the type of business, the facility, how much equipment you need, whether you buy new or used, your inventory, marketing, and necessary operating capital the amount of cash you need on hand to carry you until your business starts generating cash. It's easy to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars starting a restaurant, but it's not essential.

    For instance, when Borealis Breads owner Jim Amaral started his first bakery in Maine, he rented a space that had been a commercial bakery and came complete with mixers, benches, ovens and other equipment. Regardless of how much you need, you will definitely need some cash to start your food-service business started. Here are some suggestions of where to go to raise your startup funds:. Not every food-service operation needs to be in a retail location, but for those that do depend on retail traffic, here are some factors to consider when deciding on a location:. Layout Layout and design are major factors in your restaurant's success.

    You'll need to take into account the size and layout of the dining room, kitchen space, storage space and office. Much of your dining room design will depend on your concept. It will help you to know that studies indicate that 40 to 50 percent of all sit-down customers arrive in pairs; 30 percent come alone or in parties of three; and 20 percent come in groups of four or more. To accommodate the different groups of customers, use tables for two that can be pushed together in areas where there is ample floor space.

    This gives you flexibility in accommodating both small and large parties. Place booths for four to six people along the walls. Arrange your food production area so that everything is just a few steps away from the cook. Your design should also allow for two or more cooks to be able to work side by side during your busiest hours. As you put together a plan for your food-service business, be aware of some of the trends in terms of menu content and design: These factors could--and, in fact, should--influence the type of food-service business you open.

    Restaurant operators report that vegetarian items, tortillas, locally grown produce, organic items, fusion dishes combining two or more ethnic cuisines in one dish or on one plate and microbrewed or local beers are gaining in popularity.

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    Pita dishes and wraps continue to be in high demand, too, as an easy-to-consume alternative to sandwiches. You will also see a strong demand for bagels, espresso and specialty coffees, and "real meals," which are typically an entree with a side order. Consumers are also eating more chicken, seafood and beef dishes than they have in recent years. At the same time, people expect to see meatless alternatives on the menu.

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    Consumers are also demanding "comfort food"--the dishes that take them back to their childhoods, when mothers baked from scratch, and meat and potatoes were at the center of each plate. Menus are also showing a number of ethnic dishes and spice-infused offerings. It's not surprising to find Thai, Vietnamese, Creole, Tuscan and even classic French cuisines on the same menu and even the same plate.

    At the same time, be sure to keep the kids in mind as you plan your selections. If families are a key part of your target market, you'll want a range of four or five items in smaller portions that youngsters will enjoy. If you serve snack items as well as entrees, note that kids are choosing healthier snacks more often than they did a few years ago, thanks to concerned parents. While most restaurants still offer fixed kids' meals, you might consider allowing your young diners to choose among a selection of nutritious options.

    Though menu variety has increased over the years, menus themselves are growing shorter. Busy consumers don't want to read a lengthy menu before dinner; dining out is a recreational activity, so they're in the restaurant to relax. Keep your number of items in check and menu descriptions simple and straightforward, providing customers with a variety of choices in a concise format. Your menu should also indicate what dishes can be prepared to meet special dietary requirements.

    Items low in fat, sodium and cholesterol should also be marked as such. Safety Regulations Though we don't think of food service as heavily regulated an industry as something like medical services or public utilities, the reality is that many aspects of your operation are strictly regulated and subject to inspection.

    Fail to meet regulations, and you could be subject to fines or get shut down by authorities. And if the violations involve tainted food, you could be responsible for your patrons' illnesses and even death. Issues such as sanitation and fire safety are critical. You must provide a safe environment in which your employees can work and your guests can dine, follow the laws of your state on sales of alcohol and tobacco products, and handle tax issues, including sales, beverage, payroll and more.

    Most regulatory agencies will work with new operators to let them know what they must do to meet the necessary legal requirements. Your state's general information office can direct you to all the agencies you'll need to be concerned with. One of the biggest challenges businesses in all industries face is a lack of qualified labor. As the food-service industry in general continues to grow and thrive, the demand for workers in an already-diminished labor pool is also increasing. Finding qualified workers and rising labor costs are two key concerns for food-service business owners.

    The first step in developing a comprehensive HR program is to decide exactly what you want someone to do. The job description doesn't have to be as formal as one you might expect from a large corporation, but it needs to clearly outline the job's duties and responsibilities. It should also list any special skills or other required credentials, such as a valid driver's license and clean driving record for someone who is going to make deliveries for you. Next, you need to establish a pay scale. You should do research to find out what the pay rates are in your area.