You have set out on a new venture: owning and running a restaurant. Armed with your great grandma’s secret recipes, you sign the lease for a location in the heart of the action and begin your quest to rule the restaurant world. Most owners start out with lofty goals and a heavy dose of optimism only to realize later on that the restaurant industry is fickle and unapologetic. Recent statistics state that 60% of restaurants fail the first year with a whopping 80% not making it to the fifth year. Here are five tips that can help your restaurant survive and thrive for more than five years.
You have heard it time and time again…location, location, location. You might want to end up in one of the hippest spots out there, but it’s going to cost you a lot of money. Rent is going to take a big chunk out of your profits each month so choose wisely. You also need to consider the surrounding environment, accessibility and visibility, as well as traffic around the area. Do you want your restaurant to reflect a romantic ambiance and scenic views or emanate hip and trendy vibes?
In the digital age, we rely on the internet more and more to spread the word.
Make sure you budget enough money to handle promotions. If you don’t let people know you are there, then they won’t come. Unfortunately, word of mouth isn’t as effective anymore. In the digital age, we rely on the internet more and more to spread the word. That doesn’t mean you can’t do more old-school type approaches.
Get to know the companies that are in business around your restaurant and let them know about you. They can serve as potential income sources for busy, work lunchtimes. Create a user-friendly, and attractive website that showcases your menu. Get involved in social media. Consider creating loyalty programs that keep them coming back.
Serve Quality Food
You may not even know it, but the food you are serving could be sub-par. Great tasting food should be very high up on your priority list. Not sure if your food is meeting expectations? Set up tastings with employees and friends to see what your food might be missing. Get critical feedback so that you can adjust recipes as needed or reevaluate restaurant processes like quality control. Once you have the recipes tweaked to perfection, leave them alone. Customers do not like coming back to restaurants and finding that their favorite dishes have changed.
Hire people with the attitudes that you want to exemplify in your restaurant.
Surround Yourself With a Strong Team
If you are the restaurant owner, consider becoming actively involved in the hiring process. Hire people with the attitudes that you want to exemplify in your restaurant. Do you want go-getters who are outgoing and motivated? Or do you want employees who appear more polished and professional? What is your restaurant trying to convey?
Keep that team strong by showing appreciation for their work and efforts whether it be employee of the month, bonuses, or paid time off. Happy employees will also help spread the word about your wonderful restaurant.
Hire a Good Accountant
Maybe you are really good with people and food, but lack financial skills? Many restaurants go belly up because the owners are not very familiar with managing costs and get in over their heads. Why not hire someone with extensive experience in managing the financial side of a restaurant? This person can help point out any red flags such as wasteful operation costs or unrealistically high rent.
Before you dive into something as risky as owning a restaurant, do your research. Evaluate the competition and study the business models of successful restaurants. Running a restaurant is not for the faint of heart, but if you do your homework and work hard, you just might beat the odds and own a restaurant for years to come.
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