It’s tempting to take your foot off the gas during your honeymoon stage as a restaurant as you see that initial influx of business. Keep the momentum going and sustain long-term success with these be-neficial tips.
Be Detailed with Finances
Keeping tabs on every penny might not be the most glamorous, but it's key to your longevity. A thorough assessment of your working capital needs should be done not just during the initial business plan, but routinely — after all, your restaurant is a living entity. Prices can shift in just a span of weeks, so menu changes that are aligned with consistent re-evaluation of your bar and kitchen costs will help you maximize profitability.
Be Discerning with Trends
Of course, keeping a steady watch on trends is essential, but don't waste your resources chasing those that will disappear in a month. Noticing the patterns and adapting to the trends that are here to stay will give you the best long-term return on your investment. Sustainability, non-alcoholic, online ordering, expanding delivery and takeout, and subscription services may have started as trends but now they are essentials. What will be next?
Be Innovative with Tech
Restaurants that are quick to adapt to the ever-changing advancements in technology will gain — and keep — more customers. There's tech available that can optimize both front and back of house. Pay-at-table systems, for example, minimize staff trips back and forth, reduce the time a customer has to wait, and lead to a faster turnover.
Mobile analytics apps let you keep track of everything from inventory to sales. Run through each sector of your business and see where you can implement tech. You'll streamline every aspect of your business while increasing staff and customer satisfaction — not to mention profits.
Be Cognizant of the Customer
To ensure return visits, your customers should find value at every stage — from ambiance, to taste, to service. One bad experience unnoticed, and you could lose someone forever. The most successful restaurants take customer feedback seriously — no one else can truly tell you how to improve.
Encourage guests to provide feedback via polls on social media, email newsletter surveys, or encourage them to leave online reviews. Incentives help get the most replies, so offer to enter them into a drawing for a gift certificate for their thoughts. It's crucial to understand how you can keep improving and evolving according to their needs. That's how you'll stay on top.
Be Creative in your Offerings
Are you utilizing every money-making opportunity? Think of what else you can offer to create another stream of revenue. Perhaps your guests go nuts over your homemade blue cheese dressing — time to bottle that goodness up and sell it to take home. Maybe you have the resources to create a catering sector, or you have a basement you could refinish and turn into a private party room to book. Try not to sit on untapped potential, when you can grow your profits instead.
Be Attentive to your Team
Building a respected name involves teamwork. The attitude and work ethic of your employees is a crucial part of restaurant success. If your team is not happy, your customers won't be happy, so it's essential that the entire staff buys in on creating what you envision for your establishment.
Create a culture that makes your staff feel valued and engaged. Be a leader who inspires loyalty. Take consistent feedback and incentivize stellar performance. Some locales are now offering Employee Stock Options, and more industry-specific benefits packages are now opening up. Take the utmost care of your staff and they will take care of you.
Be Socially Relevant
More than ever, people are looking to connect to brands whose values — and even vibes — they connect with. The more relatable you can be on your social platforms, the more your customers will want to engage. Provide "behind the scenes" reels that show an unpolished, authentic side of your biz. Be consistent with your posting, be interactive with your stories, and be quick to respond when someone reaches out with a comment or question. Many people check their socials multiple times an hour. Ensure you're who they see when they scroll.