The restaurant business is indeed a tough one. Restaurateurs have to deal with a wide variety of business-related costs, including labor, energy, food, lease, taxes and the list goes on. Although society likes to claim that restaurants are money-making businesses, the profit-margins are quite minuscule. It can take a restaurant many years, perhaps even a decade, to become a successful venture.
In today’s economy, many consumers don’t have a lot of disposable income. This means that it’s quite financially difficult - and unwise - for a household to constantly visit the neighborhood restaurant. However, when families, friends and businesses do decide to treat themselves to go out for lunch or dinner, a restaurant has to ensure they’re going to be the place to patronize.
With such a crowded market of restaurants, cafes and diners, it can be very hard to stick out and become the chosen establishment. Perhaps this is the reason why so many restaurants fail after just a couple of years. The issue of not being popular can easily be remedied by incorporating a few tips and tricks. From heightened customer service to mobile marketing, any restaurant can become an overnight success story. It just takes hard work, dedication and patience.
Here are seven ways to rejuvenate your restaurant this year:
1. Customer Service
Customer service is the most important aspect for any business, particularly in the restaurant industry. Although customers are frequenting a restaurant for its food and to avoid the sometimes dreaded chore of cooking, customer service is also an important attribute to present the restaurant’s brand in a public light.
In recent years, customer service has greatly changed. Shifting consumer habits, the way customers interact and various tastes have made customer service a difficult element in any company. However, servers must always be polite, pleasant and quick, even if the patrons are cheap when it’s time to tip.
2. Interior & Exterior Décor
If the restaurant’s exterior looks dilapidated and the interior design appears to date back to the late 19th century then it’s time to begin investing in the enterprise’s appearance. A restaurant must always look vibrant, modern and clean - clean is imperative to remember. Customers won’t visit a restaurant that has dust on the lamps, floors that haven’t been washed in months and chairs that are on the verge of snapping.
3. Social Media
Millennials will soon be the largest consuming demographic in the world, even greater than the Baby Boomers. The under-35 demographic is known to be tech-savvy, which means that the restaurant should adapt to these habits. In other words, add social media to your business model. By focusing on social media - offering promotions on Twitter, submitting photos of the restaurant to Instagram and sharing important information on Facebook - you can easily market to this youth base.
4. Mobile Marketing
Again, millennials are a huge consuming base to cater to. Instead of relying on print advertising and a generic website, your restaurant should begin to take part in mobile marketing. A mobile-friendly website, utilizing mobile SEO and maybe even an app can provide a shot in the arm for the company.
5. Always Be Selling
Up-selling is something that restaurants fail to take advantage of. Waiters and servers must be reminded that they should always be selling and up-selling. If the restaurant offers catering, party rooms and specialty wines then this should be advertised to the customer at the end of the meal. Or, if the restaurant just introduced a new item to the menu then the employee should mention this when taking down a customer’s order.
6. Food Trends
Believe it or not, there are actually food trends, which have become popular for the food connoisseurs.
From organic meat, vegetables and fruit to in-season avocados, restaurants try to include some of these trends in their menus. You should too, and it should be showcased on the menu, social media and a poster outside your business. Again, it should be advertised to the customer when taking down their order.
7. Menu Simplicity
Finally, menu simplicity is one of the keys to success. It may be counterintuitive since maintaining a wide variety of dishes can please more people. However, as Gordon Ramsay has taught us on his television programs, restaurants offering an array of food items can hurt the organization and diminish the turnover of customers. A simple menu with approximately a dozen or so selections is a much better option than having 100 dishes to choose from.
Owning and operating a restaurant is fun, exciting and potentially lucrative. With that being said, it is rather stressful, and if the company isn’t a success then it can be a major drag on one’s personal finances. Restaurants have to be on the cutting edge of societal trends as well as serve sublime food that will make customers want to come back time and again.
Main Image Source: Flickr.