There are plenty of great business ideas out there. But if you have a passion for food, chances are the entrepreneur in you will move toward opening a restaurant. This kind of business is quite tricky to set up and can require a huge outlay. If you’ve got the stamina and the resources to set up and launch a restaurant, you may find that your battle to survive has only just begun.
There are many reasons restaurants come and go. So what are the secrets of those that survive? How can you guarantee longevity for your restaurant? And what can you do to avoid the mistakes of newbies in this industry?
Poorly Executed Setup
One of the biggest errors a new restaurant manager can make is to fail to put in the time and research necessary for the correct setup. Your choice of equipment and layout should be relevant to the type of venue and the menu options you’re offering. These decisions should be based on research. By the time you start to set up your kitchen, you should already know a lot of about the kind of customer you want to attract.
When it comes to setting up your kitchen, you should always collaborate with your head chef. They will want to work quickly and efficiently as they prepare food and complete orders. What kind of commercial refrigerators will be best suited to the space and use? Which type of hob or burner is best for the dishes your restaurant will offer? How many ovens will be required when your restaurant is busy on a Saturday night. Get it wrong, and you’ll find everything else will go wrong too.
Lack Of Buzz At Launch
Launching your restaurant takes a lot of promotion and event planning. You need to create a buzz for your venue as well as for the menu. Turn your chef into a celebrity, give your restaurant a memorable brand, and make your venue exciting. Invite your suppliers, your business partners, and local journalists. Most importantly, invite people that closely match your desired customer persona. Their opinion counts for a lot. It might feature on your website, so ask permission to take a photo of them for marketing purposes.
The event should be focused on customer engagement. Ultimately, you want people to sample your food and enjoy the atmosphere of the place. Make sure there are plenty of opportunities for people to meet your chef. Have some speeches planned, and make sure you can offer special promotions should attendees come back again as customers. Don’t forget to use social media so that your guests can post their photos and experiences. If you don’t create a buzz tonight, you’ll find it tough to build up the momentum afterwards.
If all you offer is similar to the restaurant down the road, you will fail. Your competitor already has that share of the market. His customers are loyal and unlikely to be moved. You need to target a different customer base that is under served. This means you need to offer a unique menu offering something your target audience is keen to have. You’re there to solve their problem. They have nowhere else where they can enjoy that particular dish or that style of food. So what can you offer?
Inexperienced business owners often fall foul of the imaginations. They imagine their customers want one thing. They believe they have the product to fulfill that. But their businesses fail because they didn’t actually ask their customers if they really wanted that, or if the product really could help them. Research is essential. Ask!
When you’re in a hurry to hire, you can wind up with a team that isn’t cohesive, experienced, or even keen to do the job. Sure, they’re in it for the money. But you need to offer them reasons to try harder, go the extra mile, and actually excel in that position. Chances are you’re paying minimum wage. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect excellence. It all comes down to training.
Make it clear what you expect. Don’t just tell them, write it down in their employee handbook, and show them exactly how it is done. Always reward a job well done. You don’t need to offer more money or bonuses. A simple verbal acknowledgement may be enough to spur that employee on to do even better. Motivate and congratulate often to make sure the customer facing staff or serving your business well. Good luck!