The success formula for restaurants
13 March 2023
The F&B industry is quite challenging, which is why, for various reasons, the majority of restaurants close during the first year of business. Obstacles such as fierce competition, expensive rent, rising labor costs, food price inflation, declining margins, and a downturn in customer spending play a role in the demise of many establishments. That is why managing a successful restaurant is not an easy feat. Food Forward Consulting discusses the fundamentals to consider before tackling such a venture.
Identify your unique selling point
Give patrons a good incentive to venture into your restaurant and a reason to become loyal.
Your unique selling point might be a great chef, a particular cuisine, signature dishes, a good quality-price ratio, pet-friendly access, or a general theme that is prominently shown in the menu, interior design, and staff attire.
Figuring out what makes your restaurant stand out from the rest and leaning into that, will help you succeed.
Pick the right location
The success of a restaurant is greatly influenced by its location. It is essential to identify the targeted clientele in order to choose the ideal location for optimal foot traffic and accessibility as it makes it easier to attract the coveted crowds.
Researching the area and competition will help you assess people’s needs and cater to them.
Optimize your margins and reduce your costs
A successful restaurant keeps a tight accounting without compromising on quality.
By optimizing margins, the venue is able to reduce its fixed and variable costs. That is why it is important to seek the right supplier, one who is able to provide great ingredients at a great wholesale price. The restaurant can also opt to employ freelancers during the low season and keep their regular staff engaged during rush hours and high season.
Some restaurants are even opting for Cloud Kitchens to reduce costs.
Well manage your stock and inventory
For a smooth operation, a restaurant needs to be fully stocked and maintain an accurately updated inventory in order to avoid overstocking. By identifying the fast and slow-moving food items the restaurant can replenish goods without increasing its inventory costs.
Pick the right staff and train them well
The staff is your ambassador to the world. They influence clients’ perceptions of your restaurant, beyond food, decor, and ambiance. If waiters are rude and unsanitary, it will convey a negative image to your customers. Furthermore, mismanaging employees can cause many problems, even in the kitchen.
By hiring skilled staff and training them well, they will be able to handle any situation as well as act courteously with clients.
Staff productivity is optimized when they are happy and motivated; this will consequently influence the success of the restaurant.
Optimize efficiency with technology
COVID-19 propelled technology unto the restaurant business. Nowadays, it is imperative to have a QR code menu, contactless payments, delivery, free WIFI, online/mobile ordering, etc.
Tech tools have become essential for the smooth operation of the restaurant’s front and back end. For example, most restaurants rely on a POS system to manage their inventory, invoicing, staff scheduling, cash flow, and payroll.
Have a stellar customer service
Keeping tabs on customers’ dining experiences will help you forge a stellar reputation and prevent negative online reviews.
By tactfully addressing customers’ complaints, you gain their respect and loyalty as well as avoid the recurrence of the same negative situation. Most of the time, people only want their grievances heard, so an apology and rectifying the mistake will suffice. In case it doesn’t, the manager can go a step further and offer a complimentary meal/dessert, or a discount on the customer’s next visit.
Market your restaurant
Without a creative marketing campaign and a good social media presence, even the best restaurant won’t be able to survive in a fiercely competitive market.
The menu is an intrinsic part of the restaurant’s concept, but it's not the only one. The marketing campaign needs to convey the restaurant's theme and identity as it doesn’t only serve delicious food but also provides a complete sensory experience.
Promoting the restaurant and highlighting its gastronomical offering, ambiance, and chef helps create a buzz about it.
Adhere to strict guidelines and protocols
Implementing HACCP, and following table set-up protocols, help restaurants standardize their operation and optimize it. It’s the attention to detail that helps a restaurant stand out from the rest. Whether it is by maintaining a clean facility/kitchen/bathroom or standardizing table set-ups, everything affects a client’s perception of the restaurant.
Data helps you keep an eye on your restaurant’s pulse. By monitoring sales, best-sellers, peak times, food cost, stock, and customers’ feedback, you will be able to take better data-driven decisions to guarantee your restaurant’s success.
Conduct surprise audits
Conducting surprise audits helps you keep an unbiased judgment of your restaurant and identify its weaknesses.
Part of the thrill of the restaurant industry is having endless possibilities to be creative and limitless. By well managing the restaurant, figuring out what makes people excited to check out your concept, and what will keep them coming back, you will be able to become the new neighborhood hot spot.