Restaurants are a tricky business proposition. On paper, they make total sense. Everybody needs to eat, everybody has different tastes and everybody feels like treating their families and taking a break from the kitchen every once in a while. Hospitality is a fairly profitable industry with relatively stable demand and healthy profit margins on food and drinks. By this logic, there should be enough room in the restaurant business for everyone. But if you’ve ever had a restaurant in the 60% that goes under or changes hands within its first 12 months you know better. The restaurant business is a capricious industry that has seen many a talented chef fail because they were unable to acquire the business acumen needed to survive in this extremely tough and competitive industry.
Like any business, a restaurant needs to maximise profits while ensuring that it manages the fine line between incentivizing repeat custom and attracting new trade. While there are many great automated marketing tools that will help with the latter without impinging too heavily on your free time, here we’ll look at some of the things that can help down on their luck restaurateurs to boost their profits and ensure that their business succeeds…
Master your menu
Anyone remotely familiar with the TV show Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares will know that one of the most oft-criticized aspect of restaurant management is the menu. Often Gordon Ramsay would lambast a restaurant for having a menu that is too diverse. Not only does a diverse menu inevitably mean more prep time and less efficiency in the kitchen (meaning customers wait longer and are less likely to return), it also means that food waste is likely to be much more proliferate. Getting help with mastering the art of menu engineering could be the best investment you ever made. Not only will it reduce your food costs and boost your profit margins it will improve your quality of service and customer satisfaction.
Hiring, not perspiring
Remember, you’re not a one man army. Trying to be all things to all people is one of the fastest ways to burn out and inevitably your business will suffer. Establish a function and stick to that function. Then hire accordingly. If you want to work exclusively in the kitchen, you’ll need a business mind in the office to handle the strategic elements of business. If you’d rather be an entrepreneur than a chef, make sure that you work collaboratively with your chef to create a product in which you feel personal pride.
Put it all on front street
First impressions count for a whole lot, especially in an industry where customers know that they can afford to be fickle with so many restaurants to choose from. As such, it’s important to invest in an impressive front of house, including well paid, well trained waiters and waitresses. These people play an invaluable part in the customers’ first impression. Happy customers mean more tips. More tips mean harder working front of house staff. Harder working front of house staff means…
You guessed it…
*This is a contributed post