You’ve achieved your dream of opening your own restaurant! But once the initial excitement has worn off, it’s time to get to work and learn how to keep your business alive so your restaurant can thrive for many more happy years.
Expand Your Margins
One of the best ways to increase the lifespan of your business is to expand your profit margins. Most restaurants have small profit margins—often lower than 6%. These restaurants have difficulty making enough revenue to offset the cost of their many expenses. While this is a difficult predicament, there are some specific ways to increase your sales and decrease your expenses, thereby boosting your profit margin.
These include making investments into buying your own building, reducing energy costs, spending less money on food, and decreasing your overhead. Revising your prices to keep up with your competition is another strategy you can use to expand your margins.
If your restaurant idea hasn’t been as successful as you envisioned, it’s a good time to consider rebranding. Many successful restaurants rebrand about every five years. A typical rebranding process involves investing in new décor, signage, and menu items, among other elements.
When rebranding, it’s important to make enough changes to update your restaurant, but not change it too much to the point where it alienates your core values or audience. Conducting consumer testing is a great way to learn about the way your restaurant is being perceived by your customers. Take some time to remind yourself of your target customer audience, and take steps to more fully cater to their needs.
While doing a full-scale restaurant rebrand is a lot of work, it can help your restaurant immensely.
Introduce New Menu Items
Nothing gets customers as excited as a new menu item does! If your menu has been feeling boring or stagnant lately, think about launching some new dishes.
Look at your competitor’s menus for inspiration. Ask customers about dishes they’d like to see on your menu. Conduct some food research to find recipes that will fit in well with your restaurant’s brand.
Once you’ve found your new menu items, don’t just add them to the menu and hope that they’re a hit. You’ll need to be assertive about marketing these items to your customers.
One idea you might try is serving small sample portions to your guests. Train your servers to ask your customers for their feedback. You could even hand out a survey where your guests can rate the dish based on flavor, presentation, and value.
Incorporate New Tech
Incorporating new tech into your business is a great way to make sure it stays relevant in a competitive market. There are a countless number of possibilities in the world of tech that can improve your business.
A POS system can boost your profitability by streamlining customer interactions and sales. One way it does this is by simplifying the relay of information between the kitchen and the wait staff. A POS system can also track valuable data about your business, such as food usage and which menu items are most popular.
Embrace the Power of Social Media
If your restaurant doesn’t have an active presence on all the social media platforms, you’re missing out on one of the best marketing tools out there. Social media is a powerful way to increase the online visibility of your restaurant and expand your customer base. If your restaurant doesn’t have an online presence, it will be harder for customers to find your physical location, menus, and events.
Social media is simple to use and cost-effective. Through social media, you can connect more fully with your restaurant’s customers. You can encourage them to comment on their experience at your restaurant, which will give you a good idea of their level of satisfaction. Social media is a great way to build a loyal customer base and reach people who wouldn’t have otherwise heard about your restaurant.
Launch Creative Marketing Campaigns
In order for your restaurant to thrive in the long term, you’ll need to be prepared to get creative with your marketing. The high level of competition between restaurants will only continue to increase, so you’ll need to keep carving out your own unique space as a restaurant. Launching creative marketing campaigns is a great way to do this.When launching any marketing campaign, it’s imperative to know your audience and offer deals that will be enticing to them.
Your marketing campaign will likely start with your company website, so it’s important that your website is a good one. This is the virtual epicenter where potential customers will receive the information about your new menu items, order take-out policies, upcoming events, and special notices.
Make Wise Financial Choices
No amount of delicious food can make up for poor financial choices in a restaurant. A successful restaurant needs to be built on the firm foundation of wise financial decisions. Be careful in keeping track of your inventory. Make sure to analyze daily cash flow, read a profit and loss statement, and set a careful budget. Consulting with a financial planner can be immensely helpful in making sure your business stays on course.
Give Excellent Customer Service
The quality of customer service at your restaurant can make or break its future. Making excellent customer service a priority will help you build a loyal customer base and a strong clientele. By contrast, a low or even mediocre level of customer service can cause you to lose customers, which will be detrimental to the long-term future of your business.
Show your guests how much you appreciate them through seasonal promotions, special deals, and through handling customer complaints gracefully. This is one sure way to make a great impression on your customers, both new and old. Then, to make sure that your customers are happy, send out surveys to get feedback and make necessary changes based on the results.
It’s not easy to navigate the business world—almost everyone seems to have their own patented recipe for success, and it can be hard to know which tips to follow. But these few suggestions are tried and true tips that will give your business its best chance of thriving long-term.
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