Most of us have, at some point in our lives, thought of opening a restaurant. Especially during a long delay in service, or when the food served has been too salty, or worse, undercooked or overpriced, we have disdainfully shaken our heads and said, “If I were running this restaurant…”
But of course, it's easier said than done. Running a restaurant is indeed a tough job and there are a number of challenges that come up while running a restaurant.
Unless you’re willing to blindly accept whatever number your restaurant manager gives you about daily profits, you would face tough challenges to sail through. It is virtually impossible to keep track of the business that goes on in your restaurant if you choose to take it the easy way.
Even if you decide to sit behind the cash counter yourself, there are still hurdles that plague restaurant management. No one would tell you the tougher side of restaurant management when you decide to take the plunge.
Restaurateurs are our favorite people in the world. And it pains us to see them struggling with what we consider one of the noblest professions on earth, that is, feeding the hungry (albeit charging for it!)
So, we’ve compiled a list of the top five challenges faced while running a restaurant that all restaurant owners and managers should keep in mind:
1. Staff Training and Recruitment
A restaurant is primarily known for its food and services. You need to have an expert chef whose cooking would lure customers to the restaurant. And you need a well-trained staff whose efficiency and hospitality charms the customers even more.
A restaurant faces more competition than any other business. This is because (as mentioned previously) everyone thinks they can run a restaurant and don’t hesitate in realizing their dream. Restaurants emerge and go out of business regularly. Therefore, the attrition rate of the staff is quite high. Added to this, are the long and tough hours and a meager pay. Junior level staff have been known to switch jobs for as low as Rs 500.
Acquiring and retaining a good staff is a top concern, and one of the biggest challenges faced while running a restaurant. Developing a good work culture and giving employees benefits helps a lot in retaining them. Read these tips on how to keep your restaurant staff happy and motivated here.
2. Designing the Right Menu
A mouth watering menu with delicacies is a sure way to attract customers. However, delivering the delicacies is a feat that many restaurants fail at. The humble menu seems like just a piece of paper with all your food items listed on it, but it is so much more than that. Often restaurateurs fail to price the menu the right way or make mistakes in the placement of the items. Also, if the menu is too long and complicated, the customer might get confused.
It also becomes difficult for the chef to prepare a wide variety of dishes in a limited time. A complex menu requires varied raw materials that might turn bad if not consumed timely.
3. Internal Thefts
From inventory thefts to on-counter thefts, thefts at restaurants take many forms and is quite challenging. No matter how many strict rules you implement, and how many CCTV cameras you install, pilferage is something that seems virtually impossible to avoid. Unless you’re willing to sit behind the counter yourself and monitor all activities, it is very difficult to avoid on counter thefts.
Keep a clear check on all your restaurant operations by viewing the daily reports. Assign roles and permissions through the POS software.
4. Performance Consistency in Restaurant
Most restaurants find it difficult to maintain consistency in their service. When the restaurant opens, the food is great, and so is the service. With time and difficulties (read dwindling funds), the standard goes down, eventually driving the customers away.This mainly happens because of the lack of standardization in the restaurant in terms of operations. Everything, right from your restaurant's Vendor Management to the Recipe Management, should be standardized in order to maintain consistency. Find out how maintaining consistency increases customer loyalty and improves sales.
5. Replicating the Success
This is perhaps the most common problem a restaurant faces while expanding. The first outlet may become a huge success, but more than often, even the management doesn’t know how it happened. It seems like a combination of hard work and luck that leads a restaurant to flourish. Most restaurants don’t know how to replicate their success while branching out.
So, keep these in mind the next time you feel the urge to open a restaurant and do your best to tackle these hurdles.