Avoid These Top 10 Mistakes Made By Beginning Restaurants
Many people dream of the day when they’ll open their restaurant. While most successfully open their restaurants, only the minority succeeds to turn their newly found restaurant into a business that generates both money and satisfaction. If you want to be on the side that side that successfully runs their new restaurants proceed to our list below; it should provide you with all the data you need.
Lack Of Initiative/Ideas
Everything revolves around core ideas, from movies and books to restaurants and Wall Street. Think about the story behind the restaurant:
Why do you want to open a restaurant?
What is your customer demographics (is it a restaurant for younger or older people, what drinks/food you want to serve, will restaurant have something unique?)
Do you plan to emphasize authenticity, culture, specific era? Did you figure out a location and studied the trends (both global and local patterns)
In essence, you should first put everything on paper and tie it to the heart of the project.
Location, Location, Location
Fundamentally, the restaurant is a real estate. Consequently, you should invest a lot of thought into finding the right spot for it. It’s simple: it is easier to succeed if you open a restaurant in the right place at the right time. Simple, right?
Well, thing’s aren’t that simple. If you choose the high-end location, you’ll have to pay high-end rent (assuming you are renting the place). Nevertheless, it is better to have an excellent location and high rent and prices, than open a restaurant in the middle of nowhere.
If you aren’t in the best part of town, thanks to digital marketing and growing trends in millennial dining, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a sizable number of customers. You just have to be smart about how you handle your online presence. A website is a must, as is claiming your business page on Google and Yelp, while social media profiles on Instagram and Facebook are also highly recommended. Be sure to categorize your business accurately, as you don’t want people coming in thinking your restaurant is a dessert bar if you only have few dessert items on your menu. It might be tempting to paint your business as more desirable, but accuracy and honesty are much better.
Managing Your Finances
It’s hard to observe your restaurant objectively, but it is imperative that you be nothing less than objective when you manage your finances. If you can’t remain objective, hire accountants (no joke, do it!)
Calculate your ins and outs, go through all of your expenses and incomes, check for irregularities, etc. Always be on your watch, and always try to come up with new ways to increase your profit, but never at the cost of service quality.
Manage Your Staff
Again, if you can’t, hire someone else to do the job for you. If one of your staff members is under performing, motivate them. If they are under stress, understand them. However, never forget that you are running a business!
And in the restaurant business, the staff tends to develop long-term, family-like atmosphere. You start to enjoy them, and then one day, you don’t have the heart to fire them if they are under performing. It is therefore vital that you manage your staff adequately and from the start. If you can’t, hire a manager to do the job for you.
Improving Customer Service
As a restaurant manager, you are bound to experience negative and overly critical customers. Nevertheless, “the customer is always right” philosophy exists for a reason, and you should hold up to it especially if you just opened your restaurant.
But, don’t be spineless, and never allow customers to take advantage of you. Instead, always try to come up with a quid pro quo deal. This is easier said than done, especially if the restaurant is crowded, people get edgy, waitresses are zigzagging and refilling drinks: you get the picture, right?
Quality Or Quantity?
Try to juggle between quantity and quality of the products and service you provide. Whatever you choose, make sure you understand the advantages of both options. In short, opting for excellence means that you’ll need quality staff, ingredients, professional and reliable vendors, excellent customer service, excellent location, and “something unique.”
If you can’t afford quality, build it. We suggest you start small but dream big. If the researchers are limited, focus on the most important things, such as food/drinks, staff, and atmosphere. If it works, build on that; if it doesn’t, learn from it and make adequate changes.
Never stop investing in yourself, your staff or your business. If the budget allows it, expand your restaurant business externally and internally. It can be something small, like changing the sink in one of the toilets in the ladies room, or something big, like remodeling or upgrading your current facilities.
Most importantly, never forget your staff. Make sure that they are equipped with proper tools, that their workplace is comfortable and hygienic, that their wages grow as the business grows, and so forth. Consider investing in technology: create a website, webshop, or something along those lines.
All businesses should have some sort of social media presence, and restaurants are not exception. There is a lot to take advantage of as well, as restaurants can use Instagram and Google Business pages to entice potential customers with great pictures of food. You will want to take advantage of Facebook, as many people will want to share and review your business there, and you can utilize Facebook ads to call in even more customers. Social media doesn’t have to be a burden, it can be fun to connect with customers and show that your restaurant has a bit of personality.
Meet State’s Regulations
Now that we think about it, this should have been the number one thing on our list! Yes, meeting government’s requirement is one of the prerequisites for opening a restaurant. It is best that you coordinate these issues with experts, inspectors, and lawyers.
Since you are opening a restaurant, you need to make sure that everything is clean and hygienic, and that your staff is a license to manage food products. Also, make sure you meet other regulations (working hours, employee’s benefits, insurance, etc.)
Nurture Your Brand
Everyone will tell you that you need to be unique. It’s true; you need to develop a brand, but slowly and prudently. When you first open a restaurant, you have to focus on bringing people into the restaurant. But once they come, you need to keep them there. Impress your customers, and make them your long-term customers.
How? Impress them with food, service, music, atmosphere, desert, with anything. And then, once you figure out why people keep coming back to you, build on it and brand it.
Find The Reliable Vendors
As a small restaurant, you should probably look to establish a long-term relationship with reliable vendors. Why? Well, look at it as a quid pro quo relationship: they supply you with quality goods, and you’ll regularly pay them for their service. Most importantly, you can visit these shops in person and see how the food is processed.
Most new and family-owned restaurants connect with local businesses, with butchers, fishers, and farmers. That way they can control the content of their food/drinks, and they also support the local economy. Whatever your choice may be, make sure that these vendors are reliable and with all the necessary documentation.
If opening your restaurant is something you contemplated for years, reading a couple of articles like this one won’t hurt you, right? Even if you think you got it all figured out, it’s not wrong to remind yourself of the things that could quickly turn your dream into a nightmare.
Don’t worry; we won’t end it with that sentence. Instead, we want to say this: never forget that opening and running a restaurant is a business, and that success of that business depends on thousands and thousands of factors. All you have to do is make sure you include/meet as many elements as you can.