Many entrepreneurs dream of opening a restaurant of their own. What many of them don’t realize is that running a restaurant IRL is determined by a plethora of factors that will ultimately determine whether their business is successful or not. And while having passion for cooking and everything food-related is important, there are other key ingredients to keep in mind. Below, six stellar tips on how to run a restaurant business and create your own recipe for success.
Design restaurant with a theme
Whether they realize it or not, every restaurant is centered around a particular theme. It’s usually reflected through the type of food that’s being served (e.g. diner, fast-casual, buffet style, pop-up eateries, and fine dining) as well as the price point the food is sold at (e.g. high-end luxury, premium casual, fast food restaurants, etc.). These two elements act as unifying subjects that help restaurant businesses distinguish themselves from others.
While some restaurants have a more subtle theme, others rely on eye-catching concepts to capture the audience’s attention and ensure an unforgettable experience. The unique restaurant themes can range from places decorated with Hollywood style decor to over-the-top, space-themed eateries complete with unusual ambience, live performers, alien costumes, and “lava” pools. Regardless of what you decide to go with, make sure that every restaurant element – from furniture to decor to the way the food is served – is in accordance with the overall theme.
Location is everything
Other than the theme, your location is another element that will largely determine how successful your restaurant business is. As such, the process of selecting the restaurant site requires careful consideration and thorough planning.
Whether you’re looking to open an American restaurant with special focus on artisanal ingredients and California wines or dream of owning a place that serves up a mix of Middle East and Mediterranean flavors, think carefully before finalizing your restaurant location. Factor in everything from your potential customer base to the overall visibility and accessibility of the area. For instance, front locations would probably make more sense than rooftop locations since they’re easier to spot and reach. Other things to keep in mind when deciding on restaurant location include parking, amenities, size, and of course, budget.
Provide employees with proper training
Your employees are the beating heart of your business. They’re the ones who present your business to the world, and you want to make sure they’re putting their best foot forward. The truth is, first impressions matter, especially if you’re someone looking to succeed in the competitive restaurant industry. Rather than focusing too much on the decor and seating arrangements, make sure to provide your employees with proper training.
Start by training your staff on everything from being courteous to customers to dealing with complaints in an effective way. Also, make sure everyone understands their tasks clearly, and that they know what to do in case of an emergency. Just like you expect them to comply with the restaurant’s rules, make sure you’re meeting their expectations as well. You can do so by providing them with everything from safe working conditions to competitive salaries to incentives and holidays.
Ensure best possible customer experience
Aside from making sure your employees are happy – and therefore, productive – you also need to ensure high-quality customer experience. How you treat your customers can make a difference between business success and failure. If a customer has had an unpleasant experience at your restaurant, you can rest assured they’ll tell everyone about it. They’re also more likely to leave negative online reviews, and no amount of marketing and advertising can fix that.
Customer is king, and in order to ensure the best customer experience, it’s better not to leave anything to chance. To achieve that, plan every aspect of your restaurant service, from greeting them at the entrance to offering payment options. If a customer does end up having a negative experience, address the issue as soon as possible.
Manage stock and inventory
In order for your restaurant business to be successful, it needs to be able to run smoothly. To achieve this, you need to stay on track when it comes to managing stock and inventory. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially if you own a larger restaurant business that requires frequent inventory updates. The key is to avoid overstocking while still making sure that everything is replenished in a timely manner.
Even the smallest mistakes such as not keeping track of certain food items’ prices can lead to substantial inventory costs. Therefore, rely on the best practices to keep your stock and inventory in check, and make accounting software a part of your restaurant inventory management strategy.
Stay consistent with marketing efforts
Another aspect of keeping your business healthy and thriving is ensuring consistency when it comes to your marketing efforts. When you’re a business that’s just starting out, your main goal is to keep your customers coming back for more. While customer retention is vital to business success, it’s important that you continue to attract new customers.
For optimal results, it’s best that you put the same amount of effort into traditional advertising as you would into marketing your business online. Consider publishing ads in your local newspaper, hosting a local event, or networking at a local fair. On the other hand, focus on boosting your online presence through engaging content, social media platforms, and your restaurant’s website. By combining the two methods, you’ll manage to reach a wider audience and ensure marketing success.
Running a restaurant business is an exciting journey and quite a lucrative career path. That said, it requires a lot of hard work, effort, and dedication to get to the top and stay there. It’s a combination of several different yet crucial factors, and they all need to be taken into account when you’re just starting out. Manage to get things right from the get-go, and you’ll be well on your way to ensuring restaurant business success.