The ins and outs of running an eating and drinking establishment

If you’re thinking of opening an eating and drinking establishment then there are a few more things to think about than you’d originally think.

It’s not just as simple as making sure that the food is appetising to customers coming in.

While you may have already gone through the EMCS system so that you can distribute beverages, you will also need an alcohol license to ensure that you’re not selling it illegally, so make sure that you have this done before you even begin to think about opening an establishment that sells it. Here are the ins and outs of running an eating and drinking establishment.


First and foremost, you need to be clued up on hygiene standards for kitchens. You can expect EHO (environmental health organisation) to visit your kitchen on regular basis to ensure that you’re keeping everything up to standards. If you’re found to be skipping out on cleaning routines your kitchen could be shut down.

In a kitchen, it’s also likely that there will be a cold store or freezer on the exterior of the kitchen, which means that a back door will be opened regularly. Ensuring that there are no vermin infestations on the exterior of your premises is also important because EHO could penalize you for that too. Be sure to keep all bin bags in wheelie bins so that vermin aren’t attracted to the premises. It’s also a good idea to keep traps around just in case they are lured near your kitchen.

One thing that you should also be doing is sending yourself and members of staff on courses for hygiene and cooking, so that you can be sure that the food you’re serving isn’t contaminated and to the best standard possible.


As mentioned briefly above, all members of staff will need to be trained well in their field of work. This includes members of staff that work out front on the bar and food running. In many kitchens, some food runners are expected to prepare and serve desserts for the customers.

However you’re going to be running your kitchen, just make sure that your staff are fully clued up on the roles that they should be undertaking. Don’t forget that it’s illegal for members of staff under the age of 18 to serve alcohol to the public, so if you have any underage members of staff you will need to make sure that there is someone on shift that can serve drinks to your customers.


One thing that some restaurants struggle with is their pricing. While you want to make a profit on the food and drink that you’re selling, you also need to make the prices fair to the customers too, otherwise, you will find that you won’t gain much custom at all. Take a look at this handy guide on how to calculate pricing for meals in a restaurant, and see if it can help you along the way.


The layout of your premises is important too. If it’s difficult for customers to see where they should be going as soon as they enter the premises it can be off-putting. Make sure that you have a server stand near the entrance of your restaurant so that customers can wait to be shown to a table, or even their pre-booked table.

Also, the bar should be one of the first things that you see too, so that when and if customers have to wait for a table, they can buy themselves a drink to consume while they are waiting.

No matter the size of your premises, tables shouldn’t be too close together. There’s nothing worse than going for a meal and being able to hear the conversation of the table next to you because the tables are too close together. This will also improve the look of the whole restaurant.

Create a house drink

One idea that many drinking establishments take on is to create a house drink. This is usually a cocktail of some sort, but if you are going to be using a particular brewery for your draught beers then you could use the speciality beers that come in as your house drink. Whichever you decide to do, make sure that it’s visible in many places to customers so that you can gain more sales from it.

Take these things into consideration and you will be able to run a successful eating and drinking establishment. Remember that the customer is always right and that all service should be given with a warm and friendly smile!

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