A striking 60% of restaurants fail within the first year. Keeping things afloat can be beyond stressful when you’re dealing with the public and their food, all within an industry that tends to have incredibly high employee turnover.
If you’re just coming to grips with the difficulties that stem from opting to be a restaurateur, rest assured you’re not alone. It’s safe to say much of your experience is shared between other owners and operators – and luckily, most of the challenges you face are fixable.
Let’s get started!
Problem #1: Your Menu Needs Work
It might seem obvious, but it’s not always the case – serving great food is cornerstone to running a successful restaurant. Menus full of clutter, inconsistent pricing, and mediocre dishes can drive current customers elsewhere, and leave new patrons completely uninterested.
Menu design can seem complex, but it all comes down to doing fewer things and executing them well. Instead of offering so many options your menu becomes a novel, stick with well-crafted signature dishes that will keep people coming back and bringing their friends.
Problem #2: You’re Not Marketing Yourself
Excellent food? Check. Phenomenal service? Check. So… Why aren’t people knocking down your doors for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? If you’re not taking steps to properly market your establishment, it’s probably time to re-focus and raise awareness around your brand.
Write down a marketing plan and outline specific goals and strategies that include reputation management, social media, and traditional marketing tactics.
Problem #3: Your Managers Need Training
No restaurant can thrive without the consistent presence of the owner or manager. Even so, showing up is only half the battle. An effective manager should also be able to uncover trends like customer favorites, understand which dishes are the most profitable for the business, keep track of staffing, and resolve customer disputes that arise during business hours.
Problem #4: Bad Hires = High Turnover
This is a big one, but also common in the restaurant industry. It’s an old tale: in a pinch, you hire someone quickly, and just as fast as they arrived, they’re gone. What went wrong?
Create processes that help ensure you hire right the first time. Design interview questions and training programs that help you attract the best talent and equip them with the skills necessary to be successful. Set up clear expectations for each employee and implement a rock-solid management structure that empowers them to be autonomous, even in your absence.
If you’re not paying special attention to payroll, now’s the time to start. Staying ahead of increasing pressure for higher wages, monitoring day-to-day sales, and keeping your business adequately staffed at all times is crucial to operating smoothly – and it could potentially save you thousands of dollars per month.
Technology is the key to maximizing staffing efficiency, from your busiest days to the slowest nights. An integrated, point-and-click solution will help you save time, money, and make your job much simpler.
The restaurant industry is a tough one to crack, but there are safeguards you can put in place to make your job easier. With a little extra grit and some of the general best practices outlined above, you can rest a little easier knowing you’ve got things well under control.