Running a successful restaurant isn’t always easy, but it is such a rewarding enterprise. Whether your restaurant is a fine dining establishment, a take out counter or a diner, there is always room for improvement. And if you are looking to enhance your restaurant business in 2020, then you are in the right place.
There have been many improvements to production equipment that can increase your time efficiency and product uniformity.
Back of the House
One of the best things you can do to take your business to the next level is to implement top tier restaurant accounting software. Not only will it make your bookkeeping a breeze, but it will help you to stay organized and on top of your restaurant’s finances. If you have an accountant, you can still benefit from accounting software. It will make sending your records to your accountant easier and much less time-consuming. Not to mention, your accountant will likely appreciate you making their job a little bit easier.
Accounting software just might save you some money as well. Being able to look at your costs at a moment’s notice can make it easier to place food and supplies orders. You can entertain potential vendors and suppliers with confidence, knowing exactly what kind of prices you are looking for.
You need more than just great food and lovely decor to keep business booming. There are lots of things that go into building a great business. You want to build trust and create return diners. A marketing plan is crucial to building your brand. When you know exactly who your customer is, you can market directly to that demographic and focus on what you can do to bring them to your restaurant and keep coming back.
Create a dedicated website so that you have an online presence. We’re in the age of information, and just about everyone has a smartphone or another mobile device at their fingertips. Many potential customers rely on the Internet to find and select their dining experience.
If you have a dedicated website showcasing your establishment and your menu with engaging photos of some of your dishes, you will be more likely to attract new customers who are weighing their options via the Internet. Be sure to have strong presence on targeted social media networks for your restaurant and include your contact information, a clear map and any pertinent information to your restaurant.
Do not underestimate the power of social media. Posting engaging and relevant content will draw attention to your business and help you to increase your customer base and your sales. Have you ever seen some of the viral postings from some of these fast food companies?
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And above all else, you should always treat your restaurant like a corporate business. Run it like a real business. There are rules and expectations for your employees to meet. Giving food away on a regular basis is going to hurt your bottom line. Hire talented chefs and properly train your employees. You want to treat your customers more like guests, giving them an experience that they look forward to repeating.
Front of the House
You want your restaurant to be visually appealing, so be sure to consider updating your dining room. Just remember that a restaurant that looks great on the outside, that serves great food is not a guaranteed success. You must have the proper infrastructure in order to make things work smoothly and profitably.
It’s probably not necessary to redecorate your restaurant every year unless that’s your gimmick, but you want it to remain clean and orderly. It is a good idea to keep an eye on fixtures, walls, window curtains and blinds, utensils and the like, to make sure that they are all in good repair. Broken things should be repaired, replaced or discarded. Windows, seating, menus, shelving, decorative pieces, lighting, etc. should be inspected and cleaned regularly. When customers see that your establishment values cleanliness, they are more likely to associate the same with the back of the house as well. This is part of fostering a relationship that is built on trust.
Be clear on what great service is for you, write it down and implement it. No matter the size of your business or staff, it is still a great idea to have a service manual or handbook. Since the goal is to be profitable and have longevity, it will come in handy as your business grows. Every sports team has its playbook, and so should every restaurant.
Consider revamping your menu. You can keep things fresh and interesting by putting a twist on something old. You can include seasonal items on the menu, and you can even change the physical look of your menu.
Servers and employees should be held to a high standard. A dress code should be in place and enforced. You want to properly train them on how to use your point of sale equipment and make sure they are knowledgeable about the menu. Taking the time to educate them on the business and how things should be done is going to be noticed by your guests.
Give your employees the tools that they need to do their job to the best of their ability. Servers need pens and pads, cooks need enough ingredients, etc. in order to make things run smoothly. Everyone needs to be clear on what you expect from them and just how complying will benefit them. Offering development days can give everyone the chance to learn new skills, try out menu items and enjoy one another in a more relaxed without having customers to attend to. If building a culture that centres on hospitality, consider hiring a hospitality consultant to help move your business in that direction.
You should also think of your employees as a resource. Regular communication with your employees can turn up a lot of good ideas. Ask them if they have any suggestions that could create a better environment for both employees and guests. Of course, all of the suggestions won’t be feasible or realistic, but chances are that you will stumble upon some really good ideas that can boost your business.
Think Outside the Restaurant
A great way to enhance your business is to think outside of the box. Who says you can only do business outside of your location? One such idea is to host events outside of or at your restaurant. Taking on an occasional catering gig can earn you some new business. If you host, participate or partner with a comedy event, a restaurant week or another event can put your name and food in front of more people. Doing something like this can help you solidify your role as a deeply rooted fixture of your community. Conducting charity events is another way you can help while putting your business out there.
When you run promotions, make sure not to attach too many restrictions to them. Doing so can alienate some of your customers and discourage some from visiting during the promotion. There are several ways to run promotions. Websites like Groupon and LivingSocial get millions of views a day, paper coupons can be offered at nearby businesses or in the local newspaper or newsletter as well as on your social media platforms. When you diversify your visibility channels, you are opening your business up to growth.
Feel free to be a little unconventional with your marketing plan. A little ingenuity and unconventional ideas can do wonders when it comes to enhancing your business. There are lots of excellent ideas floating around. The trick is editing your ideas into something that is feasible and viable. Try your best to match your marketing to your brand. If your restaurant is all about family, don’t leave the kiddos out. If you’re a microbrewery, beer-themed promotions and branding are where you want to be.
Create a little buzz surrounding your restaurant. The best thing about creating buzz is that it doesn’t have to cost you a dime if you don’t want it to, thanks to the popularity of social media. If you’ve set up your social media channels, you can do this by sharing viral content, and it doesn’t even have to be original. Once people come to your website, those who are proximal will want to check you out.
As people pass by, you will appear to have a lot of business. Most people equate a full parking lot with a good quality dining experience. And when potential customers have to wait to be seated, they are more likely to return on a slower day. So giving top-notch service any day of the week, no matter the time of day is very important.
There are some very strategic and logical steps to take in order to have a well run, profitable restaurant that will survive many years into the future.
Unfortunately, many restaurants fail within their first year of business. But if you take these suggestions to heart, you can not only turn your business around, but you can also experience a greatly enhanced restaurant business in 2020. Cheers!