Trying to open a restaurant in France, the home of classic cooking and culinary expertise, might be likened to selling ice to Inuits. Luckily for foreign restaurant entrepreneurs, the French are known for spending vast quantities on eating out, and are very open to fresh taste concepts and new places to eat. So how do you open a restaurant in a country which has such a rich culture in cuisine? We’ve devised a step-by-step guide with the help of restaurant owner Jennifer Kim Kelly who, together with her Italian husband Gino, owns two thriving Italian restaurants in Paris.
Step 1 – Location
If you’re looking to open a restaurant in a city such as Paris, you need to check out your rivals in each district (called an arrondissement). Most districts have a central point round a metro station which is often well-populated with cafés and bistros. If you want to compete with more established premises you’ll have to make sure you stand out from the crowd – either with your style of food or the décor for your restaurant. Or if you choose a quieter street, make sure there is enough footfall to entice in passing trade.
Jennifer chose the locations of her restaurants carefully. Her café-style pizzeria Pomodoro is based in the bustling cobbled streets of Montmartre which profits from large numbers of tourists as well as local residents. While her more traditional Italian restaurant Bombolo is housed right around the corner from Bastille, a less touristy location but in a respectable neighbourhood where eating out is the norm.