11 Ways to Make Your Restaurant Business Successful
While the restaurant business is highly lucrative, it is often vulnerable to many challenges, including stiff competition, food prices inflation, increased cost of labor, and reduced consumer spending. This makes running a successful restaurant a challenging task, with over 60% of the business shutting down within the initial year of operation. You need to get several things right, including marketing, investing in the right POS system, improving your branding, and motivating your employees. Read on for 11 ways to run a successful restaurant business.
1. Leverage restaurant technology to improve efficiency
With the increased competition in the market, you need to integrate your business with the latest technology to meet the ever-changing customer demands and run a successful restaurant. Some of the crucial technical features among your target audience include online ordering, contactless payment, online reservations, and contactless delivery and dine-in. Be sure to invest in a POS system to help you manage daily operations, including invoicing, staff scheduling, inventory, and cash flow, while reducing paperwork and human errors.
2. Build a professional website
Most people will begin their search for a reputable restaurant to dine online, so you need to create a website for your business to help them find you. Create a memorable and unique web design and prioritize the user experience. To improve your website’s user experience, you should:
- Improve the website page loading time
- Make the site mobile friendly
- Improve web navigation
You should also ensure that your site pages have all the relevant information clients need about your business, including contact information, menu, ordering facility, and booking facility.
3. Choose the location wisely
Whether you intend to build from scratch or rent a space, the location of your restaurant plays a pivotal role in its success. Be sure to conduct in-depth market research before choosing your site. You should also identify your target customer and select a location that attracts them without much effort. Ensure that it is easily accessible and within your budget too.
4. Run loyalty programs
Getting new clients is crucial for any business organization. However, attracting a new client is more expensive than retaining the current ones. Consider investing in POS software to run successful loyalty programs based on your existing customer base. A POS software can add points to a customer’s profile whenever they order, making them eligible for discounts and other special incentives in your restaurant. This will not only trigger them to purchase more. They are also more likely to refer new clients to your business, increasing your customer base, sales, and revenue.
5. Have a reserve fund
Whether starting a new restaurant or running an existing one, it is crucial to have adequate cash in your emergency fund account. This ensures that you are financially ready in case there is a sudden slump in the business or during off-seasons.
Often, a new restaurant takes eight to nine months before breaking even, so you should ensure that you set aside enough cash to sustain the business until this period is over. This will prevent you from closing down unexpectedly due to unforeseen crises.
6. Be data-driven
To run a successful restaurant, you need to be data-driven about every aspect of your business. Be sure to look at the following data points:
- The time and day when you generate the most sales
- Total sales on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis
- The least and most selling menu item
- Food prices
- The variance between ideal stock and the physical stock
Be sure to also analyze the customer retention rate, staff performance, and feedback reports. This allows you to make better decisions based on real-time statistics, improving the success chances.
7. Take advantage of social media
Over 4.48 billion people, including your target customers, are on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin, so that is where you need to be too. Be sure to identify a site where most potential customers hang out and create an account. Next, create relevant content and posts that showcase new development and details about your business. Ensure that you post regularly and engage with the customers in the comment section to win positive reviews. This helps win new clients as 80% of your target audience relies on reviews to make a purchasing decision.
8. Provide great food consistently
You should ensure that your restaurant menu is relevant to your market and concept, prepared, and served each time perfectly. Your guests expect the meals they are fond of to maintain the same flavor and quality every time they visit. If you serve inconsistent dishes, you will end up with disappointed clients, bad customer reviews, and, consequently, a slumping business.
While including unique dishes to your menu can help you stand out from the competition, you should ensure the meals are easy to execute and delicious. If you intend to open multiple restaurants in different locations, ensure that your menu is simple, fresh, relevant, tasty, and consistent in all the joints.
9. Appreciate your staff
Your staff is your business lifeblood, from the executive chefs to the dishwashers. Without them, you cannot effectively run the restaurant, so you need to care for them and show that you value and appreciate them. You should be generous with incentives, provide career progression opportunities, competitive salaries, develop bonus systems, and plan outside entertainment activities. Include your staff in decision-making to show that their inputs matter and listen and act upon their concerns and problems. Be sure also to implement employee training programs to train the staff on how to handle emergencies and how to handle and treat guests to make them feel welcome.
10. Hire an experienced chef
Most customers visit a specific restaurant based on the reputation of its chef in preparing tasty and unique dishes. You should hire a chef with many years of experience preparing exceptional dishes that satisfy your customers’ taste buds.
11. Handle customer grievances promptly
Sometimes customers may not be happy and satisfied with their experience in your restaurant. This may prompt them to communicate their displeasure on the spot to the managers or staff through feedback forms or by leaving a negative review on your social media platforms. To avoid negative publicity, talk to the customer, understand their complaints, and rectify the mistakes. You could go ahead and send the box of chocolates, offer them a free meal on their next visit, waive off the bill or give them a VIP pass to an event to appease them.
Owning a restaurant business is rewarding and profitable. Consider implementing the above strategies to expand your customer base and ensure the success of your business.