Today's farmers find that they need to constantly look for ways to make money. Simply finding retailers for their products often doesn't cut it anymore. One of the options many consider is opening up their farm to the public. You might choose to do this by running a petting zoo, hiring out land or running events. Some farmers decide that opening a cafe or restaurant on site is the best option. You can't get more "farm-to-table" than an eatery right on the farm. However, it can take a lot of work to attract people to the farm and to make the cafe or restaurant successful. So what do you need to do to make it work?
Get the Right Staff
No experience of ever running a cafe, coffee shop or restaurant? Before you get started, consider whether you need to bring in some help. If you want to run a restaurant, you might want to hire an executive chef who can handle both the menu and the business side of the restaurant. Perhaps you're not planning to do anything too fancy. If you only want to offer sandwiches and some baked goods, you might be prepared to make them yourself. However, you might still need serving staff, a manager or someone else who can help to run and promote your business.
Highlight Your Products
Running your farm eatery should be all about showing off what your farm can do. So you should be making the most of your products and perhaps combining the eatery with a shop. You should think about how you can offer a fantastic product and show people what they can do with what you sell. So, for example, you might look into the best smokers of 2016 and offer some delicious BBQ made with your meat. Don't be afraid to try something a little different. Use your imagination to come up with some products that will inspire people.
Get All the Legal Stuff Sorted
Sometimes business can be boring. When it comes to the legal side of things, it's not exactly a thrilling adventure. But if you want to serve people food and drinks, there are rules you need to follow. Food hygiene is one major area to consider, which means having policies for keeping your preparation and serving areas clean. Of course, there's also the safety aspect of inviting the public onto a working farm. Work with a lawyer to ensure that you get everything sorted out correctly and you don't make any mistakes.
Promote Your Eatery
Of course, you have to get the message out that you are there. Farms aren't known for being close to busy areas so bringing in customers can be hard. You can start by putting up signs that point people driving past to your farm. Another thing you can do is make sure that you're visible online. Make sure to highlight anything that could draw people to you, from a farm shop to things to do. Turn your farm into a brand, with a logo, brand colours, and more.
Running a restaurant or cafe is never easy, especially on a farm. But it could be an interesting way to increase the revenue of your farm.