Every small town deserves an amazing restaurant. Just look at what an important part Luke’s Diner plays in the makeup of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls. It’s true that Stars Hollow is only a fictional location, but the prominent role of the restaurant to the fabric of the community is based on real small towns.

If you live in a place where everyone knows everyone else, why not give the locals a gathering place? Creating a restaurant could end up positively impacting your community. Also, small towns that have top-notch restaurants can draw attention — you may end up boosting your local economy. This can boost tourism and other business.

Here’s how to make your small town restaurant successful

Shop reliable brands.

Even if you’re going for a rustic feeling in your dining area, you don’t want anything in your kitchen to feel rustic. Although you might be working with a small to moderate budget, there are certain areas you won’t want to scrimp on. You might be able to get a great deal from a friend on a used refrigeration system, but what if it stops working? You’ll have to shut down the restaurant and potentially lose your entire stock of cold food items. For a small business, this could be devastating.

For one of the best systems on the market, purchase a True Refrigeration system. True Manufacturing has been in business for over 70 years, so you can be assured that their products are reliable. Their refrigeration systems have grown with the times. All of their products are energy efficient, ultimately saving you money on your electric bill as well. Don’t cut corners on your commercial refrigerator or freezer — you want refrigeration products that you can count on. You need a fully functional kitchen for a fully successful restaurant.

Do a soft opening with leaders in the community.

Every community has its local celebrities. In order to get the word out about the incredible work you’re doing, invite some of the leaders and figureheads to a soft opening. You can comp their meal and treat them like royalty. They’ll take care of spreading the word about your hospitality and high-caliber food. You know how news spreads in small towns —a few well-placed local leaders can provide all the marketing you need. Stoke the fire with positive reviews and you’re sure to have a full dining room on opening night.

Give locals a discount for the first week.

If you can get people into your restaurant, you know you’ll have them hooked on your cooking. No one can pass up a great deal, especially in a small town. Make the locals feel special by offering them a discount for opening week. Obviously, you don’t want to give your food away for free, but a significant discount should be enough to get them through the door. From there, you can let your food do the talking.

Scope out the competition before finalizing plans.

When you’re coming up with a great plan for your restaurant, make sure you check out other local hot spots. What makes them successful? Where could they improve? What’s their specialty? How can you make your restaurant different and more attractive? Give your restaurant a fighting chance of getting off the ground by doing a little research ahead of time.

Have a pet-friendly patio.

Small communities like to include everyone in their activities. This sentiment even includes furry friends, too! When you’re picking a location for your restaurant, consider having outdoor dining that allows dogs. The locals will love that they can dine with the whole family. You might just be the only place in town that offers this benefit. You can even offer fun treats on the menu for your customer’s puppy pals, creating a bit of fun and whimsy for the whole town.

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