Choosing a theme or concept. Place to start is with your own passion. What are you excited about? What fires you up? What are you thinking about? What is this idea that you have for a restaurant? Can you articulate it? Can you be specific about it?
Is this going to be a theme or concept that's a showcase for your extraordinary culinary talent? Is it going to be a showcase for your design? Is it going to be a showcase for your joir de vivre, and your spirit, and your excitement about the restaurant business? What do you want to create? What do you want to spend your time, your money, and your effort on creating every day for people who come to your restaurant?
Now, once you start with your passion, the good news is then you're going to have a lot more fun. You're going to be the person with the enthusiasm to get through the tough times. You're going to have an exciting idea that you want to put out there for the world to enjoy and hopefully that you can reap the rewards of as you run a great restaurant.
Before you do that, however, it's a very good idea to test your idea, test your passion in a way. Is it something that people will be interested in? Not everybody likes the same things you do. Not everybody's excited about the same things you are.
You might want to spend some time in the area, or region, or neighborhood that you're thinking of putting your restaurant, and see who the people are. How do they live? How do they spend their time? Are they likely to be the kind of folks who will enjoy the restaurant you want to put in their community? It's probably not a good idea to put a very expensive restaurant in a college town. You might want to think about the schools that are nearby, the businesses that are nearby, the traffic. What kind of concept would work in that particular location?
Once you've identified your passion and how that will connect to your concept then it's a good idea to test what you're thinking. How will the market respond to your idea or your concept? Is it something that will be embraced by the area you're thinking of putting your restaurant? Is it something that is an idea that needs the advice of other people and the input of other people to be developed more fully?
Is it an idea or a concept that's not been tried before? You can start something new. You can also take something that's been done and express it in a new way. It's important that you gather experiences of restaurants and you find a way to take all of those experiences into your own plan and your own idea and make them yours. Yes, there may not be anything new under the sun, but you can always do something in a new way. You can add a new value. You can add a new element to your idea or concept that will make it stand out in people's minds.