Running a restaurant can be a tough proposition, so you will need to be savvy and well prepared in order to compete. Coming up with good restaurant business ideas starts with analyzing the various existing restaurants in the area in which you intend to open yours. Take note of what types of foods are served, what the atmosphere of each restaurant is like, what the prices for various dishes are, and what kind of service is being offered. You can begin to brainstorm restaurant business ideas based on the shortcomings and successes of the various restaurants you analyze.
Sometimes the best restaurant business ideas come to you after you have begun to write a business plan. This document will outline every detail of your business, from the financing to the particulars of the menu. As you analyze the various factors that go into starting a business, you may begin brainstorming restaurant business ideas that will give you the edge over the competition. Perhaps you realize, for example, that there is no late night service in your area but a burgeoning market for a pizza place open until 1 a.m. You can build your business around that market and have a good chance at being successful because you will have no competition.
Conduct a survey to find out what customers are looking for in a new restaurant. You can do this by creating a questionnaire that you can hand out to friends, family, or acquaintances, or you can stand on a street corner and ask people to fill it out anonymously. This will give you feedback for restaurant business ideas that are likely to be successful. People might recommend a certain type of food, a certain type of atmosphere, an aspect of dining that is not adequately represented in the area, or other ideas you may not have considered before.
Talk to other business owners who have started from scratch. You may think about going to a vacation destination or another town apart from the one in which you intend to start your business, as restaurant owners may be more candid about their experiences if they know you will not be their competition in the future. Ask about which menu items and practices worked for them, which ones didn't, and what they would do differently if they had to start all over again. You may even want to consider talking to business owners outside the restaurant industry for advice on getting started.