Every day, people around the world are romanced by the dream of opening their own restaurant. The story goes something like this: “We’ll open our own restaurant, cook the food that we like, hang out with our friends, franchise it and make lots of money.”
The reality is that it takes a great deal of hard work, lots of money and business acumen to initially get a restaurant business off the ground and even more to keep it growing. At Merchant Advance Capital we are proud to support many restauranteurs in the pursuit of their goals and dreams: find out how we can help you financially today! The following are some helpful tidbits that we’ve compiled regarding the best ways to keep your restaurant success on track.
1. Know thy customer! Take the time to get to know what makes yours customers tick. The best restaurateurs can recall first and last names, spouse’s name, where they live, work, play, what car they drive and most importantly, what they like to eat and drink. Knowing your guests personal favourites also allows you the ability to “up-sell” to them. Update your local demographic information periodically as the type of person you marketed to five years ago may have changed dramatically. As a result, you need to stay current about who your potential customers may be.
2. Create signature items. In large cities there are thousands of places to eat, so give customers a reason to pick yours on a consistent basis. Become famous for just one or two items and ensure that these key items are premium quality, easily produced and profitable.
3. Listen to customer complaints and do something about what they say. It’s easy to assume that you know more about food and drinks than your customers do. However, if your customers take the time and effort to let you know that something isn’t right or could be better listen to their comments, thank them for their feedback and bring it up with the management and implement changes as needed. You will only hear about 10 per cent of what your customers really think about, so listen carefully.
4. Keep your menu current. The menu is the key element from which all other details revolve. Research other restaurants in your style of cuisine in all markets to see what they’re doing, study menus, trade magazine and hire consultants to help your restaurant become a leader, not a follower.
5. Promote your team. If your chef, manager or staff members come with a great idea, make sure you reward them and recognize their achievements not only internally but in marketing you create. By recognizing great work, you will be viewed as someone who is surrounded by talented people. In turn, your staff will work harder because you took the time to recognize their contribution in a public forum.
As experts in the Canadian small business industry, we know our fair share about the importance of staying involved with the day to day operations of a restaurant. Intimate familiarity is crucial to the ongoing success of your restaurant, and keeping your original passion in sight will help to keep your dream alive long term.