Everyone has dreamed of opening a restaurant at least once in their life. That being said, running a successful restaurant business is easier said than done. People who enter the industry often get lost in the specifics and fail to take the necessary steps towards prolonged restaurant success. Even worse, most people do not even know what these steps are and confuse them with running the restaurant operations. While it is true that the proper functioning of restaurant operations is crucial to the success of a restaurant, it is not the only thing which determines restaurant success. In this article, we will disclose the “Secret Sauce” that goes behind making a successful restaurant.
How To Make Your Restaurant Business A Success
Taking a restaurant to a successful position is slightly different from merely running a restaurant successfully. Though the former is a product of the latter, some extra measures need to be taken to fulfill your culinary dream. This article will tell you what successful restaurant owners do differently so that you can take your venture to the next level.
1. Planning For Success
To run a successful restaurant, you need to have a very strong plan. You must calculate the various market factors and create a plan accordingly. Planning for restaurant success begins from the stage of restaurant inception. Here are the key areas where you must devote your time on.
- Planning The Concept – The concept that your restaurant is built upon will lay the foundation of the services offered, the vibe created, the food served and the overall customer experience. Hence, you must think the concept through and finalize your restaurant concept and theme based on market factors. These market factors are not limited to but include customer acceptance, latest market trends, marketability of the concept, your knowledge of the concept, your target audience, and the restaurant format you are inclined towards.
- Writing The Business Plan – A successful restaurant business is planned for success and that is communicated through the business plan. Even though your restaurant business plan is for internal use, it still lays a roadmap for your restaurant to follow. Having written strategies, goals and priorities make the journey to success easier. This 7 step guide will enable you to write your Business Plan.
2. Setting The Standards
The mark of a successful restaurant is that it serves a standard quality experience to its customers. It is consistent in its food, service, and ambiance. This creates a retention value in the mind of your customer. They know a set service standard can be expected out of you at any time of the day. This generates the customer’s trust in your restaurant performance and makes them want to keep coming back. Thus, consistency and pre-set standards are important drivers of your restaurant’s success.
3. Marketing It Right
A successful restaurant business is one which not only generates enough profits but is well known as a benchmark among the target audience. To create this level of market presence, you need to invest time and money in two areas:-
Creating The Restaurant Brand Value – Brand value creation is different from restaurant marketing. When you create the brand of a restaurant, you create a unique identity for that restaurant for customers to remember. This distinguishes your restaurant from the rest and creates a recall value for your brand. The most basic aspects of establishing a restaurant brand are the name of the restaurant and the logo. You must invest time in creating a branding strategy for your restaurant.
Creating A Marketing Strategy – Once you have an established restaurant brand, the next is distributing it among the target audience and making them visit the brand. That is where restaurant marketing comes in the picture. No matter how good your plan, how calculated your finances, how delicious your food, and how impeccable your service, if your customers don’t know that your restaurant exists, you will not be successful. Hence, you need to have a marketing strategy in place.
Invest in both online and offline marketing, run restaurant promotions through competitions and other campaigns, collaborate with other businesses to create an awareness regarding your restaurant, go to food fests and college fests for better visibility, send promotional Emails and SMS, invest in radio mentions and newspaper ads; in short leave no channel to reach your potential audience untapped. A smart and comprehensive marketing strategy is the key to your restaurant’s success.
4. Keeping Up With The Trends
Once you have a place in the market, you need to keep growing. To become a successful restaurant owner, you need to survive the culling of the dynamic nature of the industry. To do so, you must keep yourself updated with all the trends and adapt to the changing lifestyle choices of the consumer. This does not mean letting go of the core ethos of your restaurant. You must respond to the changing market by adapting and accepting the changes, and incorporating them into your restaurant strategy. In order to survive, you must be prepared to adapt and evolve, only then will you be able to maintain your market position and climb higher.
5. Staff Training
Proper staff training is one of the most critical aspects of running a successful restaurant business. Your staff is the backbone of your restaurant as they are the ones executing everything. Thus, it is necessary that your team is well-trained and efficient in performing their duties.
Remember to conduct pre-joining training sessions and also host regular training to keep your staff update. Also, ensuring the happiness of your staff should be your top priority. A happy staff is a productive staff; hence, remember to give timely recognition and incentives to your employees to make them work for you more diligently.
6. Strong Backend Operations
Strong backend operations translate to having a successful restaurant business. Setting Standard Operations Procedures for each aspect of the business is essential as it helps in maintaining consistency and reduces the scope for mistakes.
It also becomes beneficial in the long run as having standards makes the task of replication easy and becomes critical when looking to scale the business.
Right from your recipes to your the quality of your raw materials, consistency should be maintained. It is important to have standard and define recipes which are followed to the point. Not only does this keep the food costs in check by reducing wastage, but it also eliminates the dependency on a single chef or cook who is preparing the food.
Strong supply chain operations are also critical when it comes to managing the backend of the restaurant. You should give ample focus to your inventory and the quality of the raw materials. It is a good idea to have a smart restaurant inventory management software on board that would help you keep track of the daily consumption, monitor the shelf life of items, and also prompt you to order for more when a particular stock item is about to run out.
7. Focusing On Customer Experience
Great customer experience encompasses everything – good food, good service, good ambiance, all delivered within the customers’ expected price points. Staff training plays a crucial role in this case. The front of the house staff should be impeccable in hospitality and maintain good customer relationships. The back of the house staff should be efficient in preparing the food and managing the kitchen operations.
However, despite ensuring everything from your end, there would still be times when a customer may be dissatisfied with your service. Thus, the role of customer feedback management comes into the picture. It is important to ask for customer reviews as it makes your guests feel valued. However, it is even more essential to act on the reviews and take the right actions to improve your services.
Honestly, there are several factors that impact restaurant success, and no independent process or operation can guarantee that you will be successful. You need to take risks and balance various operations in the right manner to be successful. We hope this article will at least give you a direction to start your success story!