Many gastronomy businesses don’t survive for long. One of the reasons for this is the founders’ lack of innovation, resulting in yet another burger joint, bakery or kebab store that hardly stands out from the rest. Such an approach carries significant business risks, especially in a market that is often already saturated. However, those who dare to try something new and offer unique concepts for which there is a demand have a much better chance of success.
Brainstorming questions to find business ideas in the restaurant industry
- Use the following brainstorming questions to come up with your own good restaurant business idea – whether it’s for a restaurant, a snack bar or a bar.
- What culinary trends or traditions from other countries are not yet present or little known in my region?
- What special dietary needs or preferences might not yet be adequately served in my area (e.g., vegan, gluten-free, or ethical options)?
- What special experiences or ambiance can guests experience at my food service establishment that they can’t find anywhere else? (e.g., configure your own cocktail, cyberpunk-style restaurant).
- Are there special ingredients, recipes, or beverages that have not yet received enough attention in modern gastronomy?
- How might I reinterpret or combine common restaurant concepts to create a unique offering? (e.g., traveling kebab snack bar).
- What cultural or social events and developments could serve as inspiration for a gastronomic concept? (e.g. CO2 neutral restaurant, Korean pop bar)
- How can I integrate technology or modern tools into my restaurant concept to improve or change the customer experience? (e.g., checkout machine)
- Are there certain age groups or target audiences that have been overlooked or under-addressed in the restaurant industry? (e.g., young parents, students from the local high school, lonely seniors, etc.)
- What taste experiences or culinary journeys would I like to experience myself as a guest that are not yet offered in my area?
- How could I involve the region around my catering business to make everything more authentic, sustainable or trustworthy?
By answering these questions, aspiring restaurateurs can pave the way for innovative and successful business concepts.
Compilation of Some Creative Restaurant Business Ideas
Here are some creative business ideas for the restaurant industry that likely have potential in most cases:
- Belgian Beer Bar with a good selection of Belgian draft and bottled beers
- Restaurant that cooks dishes from a different country every month (and also changes the decoration accordingly)
- Running Buffet, applying the tried-and-true Running Sushi concept with a different focus (e.g., cakes, fast food, etc.)
- Take-Away with fresh waffles (e.g., Gaufres liégeoises)
- Restaurant with less common culinary country focus (e.g., Texan, Norwegian, New Zealander, South African, etc.)
- Restaurant that cooks historical dishes
- Night restaurant that stays open when all others are closed
- Custom-Cocktail Bar: A cocktail bar that doesn’t have a menu and creates a unique cocktail for each guest
- Cook-in-Residence: Every month, a different guest chef takes over the kitchen
- Alc-Free Bar: A bar that only offers non-alcoholic beverages from various categories, from cocktails to draft beer
- Vending Machine Take-Away that offers freshly prepared and rotating dishes around the clock, which can be conveniently reheated at home
- Coffee shop where customers can try coffees from different regions
- Family venue with a petting zoo
- Themed restaurant (e.g., 80s, heavy metal music, all orange, glitter, etc.)
- Belgian or Dutch fast-food restaurant. Both countries offer world-class fast food.
- Beer Stock Market: A venue where beer prices rise or fall according to demand
Examples of Restaurants with Creative Business Concepts
Here are some venues that rely on creative business ideas:
- Výtopna “Meat & Beer On Rails,” Vienna (AT)
In this Viennese venue, food and drinks are delivered to the table via a model railway: https://www.vytopna.cz/de/branch/wien-naschmarkt/about-branch
- Rollercoaster Restaurant, Vienna (AT)
In this restaurant, things move at a faster pace and dishes are delivered to the table via a spectacular roller coaster.
- Klo-Kneipe, Berlin (DE)
There is probably no other venue as focused on the theme of toilets as this quirky establishment in Berlin, which has existed since 1971. https://klo.de/
- Café Chloé, Brno (CZ)
In this small coffee shop in Brno, the color pink dominates, there are Instagram photo spots, and both food and drinks are extremely photogenic and good.