Building any business is a huge undertaking. And though you might have worked in a restaurant setting for many years, building a successful restaurant business is a feat not for the faint of heart.
Today, and since the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants have failed to stay afloat. And this has largely been due to the initial shutdown and imposed regulations that have seriously harmed the restaurant industry. In fact, many businesses, especially local restaurants, have had to shut their doors due to lack of support.
But if you’re going to throw your hat into the restaurant business, you have to go in with more than just experience. You need a sound strategy for establishing yourself.
If you’re looking to build a successful restaurant enterprise, the following will provide you with helpful ideas that you’ll want to consider.
Offer Unique Menu Items
All across the country, you can find restaurants that offer variations of the same old recipes. And while this is common among large chain restaurants with dishes such as burgers, pasta plates, chicken wings, and the like, if you’re going to establish yourself in the restaurant business, you have to offer something genuine.
One area where you can certainly provide something that nobody else offers is with your dessert menu. By using high-quality dessert ingredients, you can build a reputation on this alone if you so choose. Basically, instead of offering the same old crusty pecan pie from Sysco, you want to think creatively and offer your patrons something that could only come from your place.
Additionally, using unique recipe items as a feature image on your menu is a good marketing strategy. As this tactic will usually help to gain interest in your unique dishes.
Choose Your Staff Wisely
Perhaps the most important aspect of a successful restaurant is the skill of your staff. Because if you think about it, whoever you hire will ultimately represent you and your brand.
If you’ve been in the business for a while, then you know all too well how one bad experience can be contagious enough to cause a loss of business. For example, it’s not uncommon for a guest to complain and then subsequently cause a chain reaction of complaints thereafter, especially if a guest causes a scene.
When hiring your staff, check references. And make sure that your FOH staff has a couple of years experience before hiring them. Also make sure that you enroll your staff in appropriate training classes that can help them be more prepared while handling food and beverages. These classes can include food handler training and alcohol server training.
If you want to really get tactical, you can also hire your staff on a week-long training/probation basis, just to see how they work with others and interact with your guests. And if they don’t seem to be a good fit for the team, you can let them go at the end of the week.
Learn The Art Of Promotion
No matter what business you’re in, if you don’t have a sound marketing plan, you’re going to be dead in the water. And this is especially true in the restaurant business.
The great part about owning a restaurant is that you already have a perfect venue for holding promotions and engaging in self-marketing campaigns. For example, you could host weekly raffles and offer your own gift-certificates for a prize. Or you could have weekly promotional days where liquor or wine reps come in and dazzle your guests with new brands and flavors.
The possibilities when it comes to promotions are totally up to your budget and your imagination. But branching out and bringing in new clientele needs to be a part of your business strategy if you hope to be successful.
Making it in the restaurant business today takes a lot of planning and preparation. But with the right mindset, the right experience in the business, and by using a few tricks of the trade, you’ll be well on your way to creating an establishment that your local community will love.