Starting a new restaurant is a challenging and time consuming project, but the experience is also rewarding for many reasons. A tough statistic to digest for restaurant owners is that 60% of restaurants fail within their first year of operation, but with lots of hard work, passion, and dedication, you can minimize your restaurant’s odds of failure, and find ways to succeed to long term.
Below are 5 tips for new restaurant owners to run their business more effectively, and give their food baby the love and nurturing it needs for a bright, promising future.
- Get the right equipment from the right suppliers
Your chefs need quality restaurant equipment and tools to be able to cook the best meals that they possibly can. Chefs are particular about what they like using, and for them to feel confident in the food they are making, you as a restaurant owner need to give them what makes them happy. Invest in the right equipment from the right suppliers, and it will pay dividends right from day one! Your customers deserve tasty food that makes them smile and feel good about their decision to dine at your restaurant, and it all starts with the right equipment.
- Hire a quality and well rounded staff
Every business is only as good as its people, and restaurants are no different. You may not know the exact extent of all the staff you need right away until you see what kind of customer demand you are dealing with, but you will learn fairly quickly with some likely bumps in the road. As the old saying goes, hire slow and fire fast. Look closely at each potential hire’s work experience, look to see if past coworkers endorsed these potential hire’s on LinkedIn, and get a sense for how they function in a kitchen and what they are like to work with. The goal is to hire a complete team where each member has each others back, they communicate well, and will do whatever it takes to help your restaurant thrive.
- Test, tweak, and change your menu to see what works
Early on your menu will be somewhat of an experiment to see which dishes are most popular, which ones can be handled the best by your chefs, which ones bring in the most revenue and are the most profitable, and which ones need to be removed from the menu in replace of other ones that you feel have potential based on what your customer’s tastes are. Look at comparable restaurants in your town or city to see what they offer, how they price their dishes, and which ones are most popular or recommended. It will take time before your menu hits its stride, but it will get there in time if you are open to improvement and are willing to change and evolve it.
- Get a good handle on your finances
As mentioned earlier in this article, the restaurant business is tough, and in fact, you can expect to consistently lose money for the first six months or so. The first few months will be learning experiences both on the operations and marketing side of the business. Get to know your core customer very well, and find out what they like and dislike about your restaurant so you can learn and improve as fast as possible. And make sure your budgeting includes a percentage of at least 10-20% for unforeseen costs, as they will happen when you least expect them to.
- Grow your customer base with effective marketing
Many restaurant owners are thinking mostly about the food part of the business, and with good reason as many owners are experienced chefs, and aren’t business savvy just yet. Be sure to allocate some money in the budget for marketing and promotional activities to draw in customers to your restaurant, because without paying customers your expenses will bury your business in year one. Get involved in community events and festivals, hand out free samples to get your food in the hands of potential customers, build some buzz on social media, buy targeted digital ads, invite a food critic to come and write a review on his or her experience, and hustle, hustle, hustle, especially early on to get established.