In general, restaurant owners are very capable people who possess an abundance of optimism, creativity, motivation, and dedication. They are not afraid of long hours and hard work to achieve success. However, many new restaurant owners discover that even the best restaurant presents challenges when striving to become a truly great business. Opening the eatery is the easy part. Developing long-term success with a loyal customer base takes additional skills. Here are ten proven tips to keep your restaurant on track to success.
Know Your Consumers
It is important to tailor your menu and service towards the customers living within your zone. Are the neighborhoods filled with young families, or retirement communities? Is there an industrial park nearby? Answering these questions will help you develop a menu. If the customer base is primarily business people, then a strong lunch menu, and early happy hour appetizer selection makes sense.
Frequent the Competition
Be aware of the menus and service levels at your competitor’s restaurants. Typically, restaurants will share some of their customers since diners enjoy a little change. However, if your customer count is falling, eat at a thriving competitor and do a thorough comparison to your own restaurant.
Ensure Quality Service with Every Meal
Hold weekly staff meetings to address their challenges and encourage prompt, courteous service. Be open to suggestions on running a more efficient kitchen, or eliminating unpopular items from the menu. This will support the wait staff in providing a great meal in a happy, positive environment.
Serve Excellent Food
This sounds obvious. However, many restaurant owners fail to reassess the food quality on a regular basis. In addition, make an objective evaluation of the freshness and appearance. Compare your own food to your top competition as well.
Cut Costs Through Better Controls
Many costs can be cut by regularly meeting with vendors to negotiate pricing. Stay current on prices by contacting the competing food suppliers and asking for quotes. In addition, evaluate costs such as employee perks. Frequently free meals cost more than they return in better morale. A discount may work just as well.
Market Your Business With Specials
A special menu for slow nights can help bring in new business. In addition, coupon deals work well for bringing in a potential new customer, who would not have tried your restaurant otherwise. Make sure the specials change frequently and can offer something unique from the other food you serve.
Establish a Catering Business
If your restaurant is near a business district, pick up additional revenue by establishing a catering venture for business luncheons. This can build up your business and help you to make more use of your food.
Low cost methods of advertising include setting up a chalkboard menu outside the door, or using window signage to promote daily specials. If local zoning allows it, put tables and chairs out for sidewalk dining. Take a restaurant management course to hone leadership and communication skills as well so you know what’s going on in the community and competition.
Make Use of Technology to Improve Processes
Many restaurant owners will improve efficiency by utilizing solutions such as facilities management software for managing janitorial services. This will improve cleanliness standards, and will help when cutting costs. The owner can then focus on expanding a small enterprise into a thriving chain.
If you rely on proven methods for running a successful food service enterprise, your dedication and hard work will pay off. While the effort and time invested may be significant upfront, you will establish a strong position from which to grow a successful restaurant business.