The restaurant industry is one of the tougher ones when it comes to getting a good reputation. Most restaurants don’t make it beyond their first year, and even fewer beyond their second. There are several reasons for this. Low-profit margins and high at-sale costs for restaurateurs make it incredibly difficult to make any money. Add in the competitive nature of food, and you have a recipe for discouraging results.
But many new restaurant owners can succeed if they think about the customer in every way possible. Your food may be delicious, but you have to get people in the door through as many means as are necessary.
Innovation is usually a conversation topic in the technology or engineering business, but it applies to restaurants as well. Developing a solid concept for your restaurant can help it stand out among the competition. Think about what you can offer that no other business can.
Do you have a secret family recipe up your sleeve? Activity nights in mind for people on dates? Are you able to blend different kinds of cuisine to create an experience unlike any other? These are great examples of ways you can make your restaurant unique. Restaurants with a strong sense of identity often have a greater chance to make it.
When people are experimenting at a new restaurant, they want something that tastes good. However, people also want to be able to eat something that looks good—not messy. The presentation of your food should be clean and colorful. Something as simple as fancy toothpicks to hold things together or to garnish cocktails can make a huge difference.
Post pictures of your food on your business’s website. If you feel it’s necessary, hire a professional photographer to get pictures of your top dishes. People can check out what you serve. Once they see your amazing entrees, there will be nothing stopping them from walking through your doors.
Excellent Customer Service
If your guests have a bad customer service experience, it is very unlikely they will come back. You should take care when you are hiring your employees to train them for every situation. Make sure that all of your waiting staff members are polite and ready to serve. Your success as a business depends on them.
Ask customers to fill out a small survey with a score for customer service. If there is a problem, try offering coupons or ask questions to figure out what went wrong. Figuring out where you can improve will be able to make their experience even better.
The Right Technology
You need to start implementing technology into your business model if you want to be successful. Which kinds of technology you choose to bring to your business will largely depend on what kind of restaurant you own. For example, fast-casual restaurants sometimes install kiosks where customers can add their orders digitally. They also use simple transaction systems like Square.
If your restaurant is a little fancier, you will want to minimize the interaction guests have with technology. Adding Apple Pay and digital reservation queues can help improve customer experience drastically. Think about what your business’s main priorities are, and how technology could cut out some of the problems you’re having.
The atmosphere you present to your diners is another important element people will judge your restaurant on. Again, your food may be excellent, but people may not want to sit in a dining room with tacky or old decorations. Look at your dining room with a clear eye and imagine what a brand-new customer would think.
Save money for your restaurant so you can improve the decorations when necessary. Play music that makes sense for the dining experience. Have fun restaurant traditions for birthdays or celebrations. These equate to a healthy business atmosphere people want to be a part of.
While the layout of your building likely doesn’t need significant renovations, you can find ways to improve the layout of your dining area. Make sure the layout is intuitive for the servers and comfortable for the guests. If the servers can travel to their tables efficiently, your guests will have a more streamlined experience.
Ask your employees how they think layout changes could help them in their jobs. You don’t want to have tables clumped too close together, as your server may have a hard time getting to their required tables. A bad design and layout can make everyone’s experience more clunky than it needs to be.
Organized Waiting Process
You can’t just win the customer over when they are at the table. You need to win them over through every step of the dining process. If you don’t have an organized waiting process, you can end up with angry customers and irritated workers. Make sure you have a procedure in place for reservations. If you don’t accept reservations, let customers know that upfront.
Digital queues help people have a better time when they are waiting to eat. The host adds them to the “line,” sends them a text to give them a wait time, and lets them go wherever they want while they wait. It’s a great way to keep your waiting room clear and customers busy.
Pick-Up and Delivery
Accessibility is key for business. After all, why wouldn’t you want more people to experience your food the way they can. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, pick-up orders and delivery have been a crucial staple to the restaurant industry. If your guests would like to pick-up, include parking spots they can use for easy access to their order.
Delivery may be trickier, but there are several ways to do it. You can go the traditional route and hire a delivery worker, or you could get involved in Mobile delivery services. It may be more expensive than hiring an employee at first, but it can be worth it if you plan on doing delivery for the long haul.
No restaurant is perfect. But by diligently looking for ways you can improve, your restaurant can become more successful. It may not happen immediately, but people will eventually notice a great business.
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