The restaurant industry is one of the toughest businesses to break into. And yet, thousands of new restaurants pop up all over the country every year. With so much stiff competition coming from all sides, it’s no wonder that the overwhelming majority of new restaurants close up shop within the first year of opening their doors to the public.
It’s definitely not a walk in the park to start and establish a successful restaurant business. However, business owners who acknowledge what they’re up against and educate themselves can get an edge over the multitudes of other restaurants that are vying for customer attention.
Here are five simple things you need to remember when opening a restaurant. Keep in mind, just because they’re simple doesn’t mean they’re not effective. It’s often the simple things we do that have the biggest impact on our lives.
1. Master your food craft.
You can’t open a new restaurant without knowing food like the back of your hand. You may have the best equipment for a restaurant or a good head for business, but if you don’t know how to make good food, none of that will matter. Even if you hire the best chef in town, you’ll still need to know how to purchase, prepare, and preserve food to make sure you’re only serving the best quality products to your customers.
2. Know how to run a business.
You may not find it interesting, but you’ll have to manage things like HR, accounting, and finances and conduct a slew of boring administrative tasks. Even if you hire someone to do this for you, you still need to be well-versed in the basics so that you know what’s going on. Also, you have to be able to make the best investments to save on costs without compromising on quality. It’s best to invest in high-quality equipment for heavy-duty use. If you’re serving a high volume of ice-cold drinks, for example, you’ll need a good ice maker machine like one of those Manitowoc ice machines.
3. Take good care of your staff.
Your employees, from the executive chef to the dishwasher, are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, there wouldn’t even be a restaurant to open its doors to your customers. People work better when you show that you genuinely value them. What employee perks and benefits can you provide to let them know you’re invested in their growth and well-being? Show your staff that you appreciate them not just for their work but for the contributions they bring to your business by asking them to share their ideas and finding a way to implement them.
4. Get the word out.
People won’t come to your restaurant if you just sit there and wait for them to come. You have to let them know you’re there and can offer them an amazing experience. Most customers will look you up online before paying a physical visit to your restaurant. This is why it’s important for you to have a solid Web presence. That includes a simple but attractive website that provides all the information any potential customer wants to know, such as location, phone number, menu, and booking info. You also need to be active on social media, review websites, and local directories.
5. Take good care of your customers.
The fastest way to succeed as a restaurant is to provide your customers the great experience they expect. Keeping returning customers loyal is more important than attracting new customers who will never come back. Consistency is key here. If you consistently offer them great food, great service, and a great atmosphere, they will be sure to keep coming back for more.