If you’re restaurant is not earning enough money for you to have a healthy bottom line, starting over is exactly what you need to do. Before you pull out all the stops you’ll need to identify the problem. If you’ve been paying attention to your books and caught it early enough, minor changes will be a good start. Maybe your customers aren’t comfortable during their meal and because of that they don’t frequently come back. If you’re spending loads of money on advertising but doing nothing once the customers are there, it’s counterproductive; consider funneling some of that capital into small improvements. If you’ve hired a consultant at any point implement any ideas that are financially feasible. You want to show that the good of your business is more important than who came up with the idea. And as a failing business you won’t be able to make every change at once, so focus on the areas in critical condition.
- Communications between the directors is of the upmost importance. Be aware of who’s doing what and make sure you’re actively managing all aspects of the restaurant. Delegate where necessary but keep an eye on things. When you’re approached with an issue, do your best to solve it. The restaurant is your dream but for even for the best employee, it’s just a job. Maintain a good relationship with your employees so they will stick around.
- If customers are letting you know what they want to see in your restaurant, listen to them. People want to know that their voices will matter, especially in a setting where they’ll spend money. If you do have any issue with their suggestion tell them politely why it wouldn’t fit with your restaurant’s theme. Do your best to keep things civil and learn for others’ mistake; don’t take your frustrations with customers out on social media.
- Buy items on an “as needed” basis. Make sure the order will arrive in time and you won’t have to rush, but not so far ahead that more produce goes bad than you’ll actually get to use.
- Monitor the inflows and outflows of your restaurant daily. If you have any nonessential assets that can be given back, do it. It could save you thousands of dollars a month. If you’ve hired someone as a full time employee, like a bookkeeper, consider hiring them on a contractual basis instead.
- Have a large enough staff filled with capable people that have the right personalities. You’ll need to keep on top of their work and sort out the ones that aren’t working. If they don’t improve replace them with an employee who will provide the standards you seek. Make sure you’re not wasting money on stay by keeping track of hours, programs, and discounts and streamline all of these tasks into an efficient digital program.
- Update your point of sale (POS) system. If you have waiters running back and forth to ring things up, that’s slowing things down. This creates a situation where someone will have to manually compare cash and card sales. Buying an inexpensive system upgrade will integrate all transaction types and make it easy to check and compare without keeping staff around for hours after closing.
- Buy local as often as you can. It will gain you invaluable goodwill within the community. It looks better on your menu and customers who support the local farmer’s market may support you in turn. You’ll show that your restaurant is there to be a part of the community not drive out their businesses. This might pay off by making the neighborhood more attractive to people who might not usually stop there.
I knew from the very start that three things were needed for my success; I needed a great head chef, location, and concept. And they all had to work together.