With a success rate of about 40% after year one, running a dining establishment is not for the easily intimidated. You need grit and tenacity, but most importantly, the proper knowledge.
If you want to beat the odds, this article is for you. Continue reading to learn what’s required to run a successful restaurant.
- Mouthwatering Cuisine
When you’re picking a spot for dinner, the first thing you look at is the menu. So, if you want your restaurant to be successful, the food had better be good. To ensure you can satisfy the tastebuds of the masses, it’s a good idea to do menu tastings with family and friends early on.
Then, when you’ve settled on a menu and are ready to open your doors, do a soft opening where you invite neighborhood locals in for a free sampling of your offerings. After their meal, have them fill out an exit survey to give you an idea of what’s working and what’s not.
- Inventive Beverage Offerings
After potential guests peruse your menu online, they will inevitably look at your beverage service. If you only offer the standard fare of soft drinks, wines, and beers, you may miss out on new customers and substantial profits.
Start by building a signature cocktail that matches your theme, and then build out your menu with the classics. And don’t forget non-alcoholic mixed drinks that will attract those who don’t imbibe.
- Smart Menu Planning
Your menu does more than inform guests what’s on offer. It can make or break your profit margin. Stay away from overcrowded menus and instead do a handful of options really well. Also, be sure that you create recipes that share ingredients.
Both of these tips will ensure that you avoid a bloated inventory, minimize waste, and run an efficient kitchen.
- Top-Notch Guest Experience
If you want to run the best restaurant, you must realize that the guest experience starts as soon as they arrive at your door. Ask yourself:
- Is the outside of the restaurant tidy and free of debris?
- Is there a friendly host/hostess waiting to seat guests?
- Does my staff have good morale?
- Is the ambiance inviting?
Remember, your restaurant should entice all five senses of your guests.
- Savvy Restaurant Management
A successful restaurant can’t exist without a skilled management team. These folks ensure that your team is well-taken care of and happy, guests leave satisfied, and that profit goals are met.
Each manager you employ should have a specific job description complete with deliverables. With this, the rest of your staff will know who to go to with their concerns and the duplication of efforts. And remember to have an employee handbook and a system in place to train managers and team members.
- A Can’t-Miss Location
Most would like to think of their establishment as a destination. However, it makes things easier if you’re located where the people already are. If you’re within your target customers’ line of sight, you can use your menu, exterior design, and patio to entice visitors to stop in.
And, for a venue that requires driving, it’s essential that you provide ample parking, or people won’t make the trip.
- Excellent Service
If your food is good and the ambiance is on point, there is still one thing that can spoil the mood: poor service. The key to guaranteeing your team provides the best service every time lies in two essential factors:
- A thorough training program
- A happy staff
Every new employee should undergo a training period where they learn the ins and outs of your business and work with a dedicated trainer. But, even the most robust training program won’t solve all your problems if your staff has low morale. To improve morale:
- Pay a fair wage
- Offer profit sharing to long-term employees
- Include benefits when possible
- Schedule team-building activities
- Release schedules two weeks in advance
- Honor time off requests
If you’re experiencing high turnover, consider giving out an anonymous survey to get to the root of their concerns.
- Spotless Surroundings
Whether you’re running a quick service joint or a fancy restaurant that aims to be starred in the Michelin Guide, your restaurant must exude cleanliness. To start, all glass, inside and out, should be free of smudges and fingerprints. Next, bathrooms should be well-stocked, extremely clean, and with odor controls.
Last, your kitchen should be inspector ready at all times, and your dining room should appear as if brand new for every guest.
- Get the Word Out With Marketing
Following these tips for running a restaurant won’t get you anywhere if the public doesn’t know who you are or where to find you. This is especially true if your place is located off the beaten path. Start with an attractive website and consider adding a blog.
You should also get the word out on social media with frequent postings that can include daily specials and snapshots from your menu. And don’t forget to ask for reviews!
- Stand Out
With all types of restaurants available for the public to choose from, it’s vital that you create a brand that can stand out amongst the competition. To do so, you may want to consider your location. For example, if you’re opening a French bistro in an area that already has several, you better have a unique twist, or you should reconsider your concept.
You can also stand out by offering inventive menu options or a unique setting. Alternatively, you can try to meet a specific need of the community, such as providing a lunch menu in an area where there are a lot of 9-5ers.
Run A Successful Restaurant With a Multifaceted Approach
A well-run restaurant has an excellent profit margin, happy staff, and satisfied customers. But there is no one way to go about running a successful restaurant. Instead, it’s essential that you embrace all of the above tips to perfect each aspect of the business.
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