Running a restaurant is hard work and many fail within the first three years. Not every failure is inevitable and can be avoided. By learning all parts of your business and try different techniques to garner more interest, you can stop the problem before it gets too far out of hand. Otherwise you may have to resort to more drastic overhauls to attempt to save your restaurant.
- Now is not the time to avoid looking at your books. Crunch the numbers and figure out if you’re spending too much money, not bringing in enough, or if the problem is actually a combination of both.
- You may want to change your menu to reflect the neighborhood. Prices may be driving away potential customers. Lowering your prices will draw in larger crowds by making your restaurant more appealing, especially if you’re new. If you’re a gourmet restaurant simplifying your dishes may also help to draw in crowds.
- Try having special events to change things up on a daily or weekly basis. Offer special dishes and discounts. This could help change occasional visitors to regulars.
- Have your staff clean the tables faster so that wait times are decreased and there are shorter lines. Seeing a crowd standing at the front door drives people away. Don’t keep people waiting too long for their check without a valid reason. When they leave they will recount their experiences to anyone else considering having breakfast, lunch, or dinner at your restaurant.
- Before you can make these changes you need to know how much you’re making on each menu island. None of the items you order should cost more than thirty-five percent of its menu prices. If your food costs are too high review your supplier, see if they’re willing to negotiate prices and shop around if they aren’t. Consider changing your menu to include higher profit items. If you know which items are the in the highest demand make sure you’re stock room is always filled to meet demand.
- If those changes don’t work, or don’t make enough of a change to give you a healthy bottom line, don’t be afraid to call in a restaurant consultant. You can have one on retainer or you can hire them for a single project. A consultant gives advice on concept development, interior design, financial information systems, and real estate.
- Put more efforts into your strengths instead of coming up new gimmicks to draw in crowds. Bring back dishes or anything else that may have been popular when your restaurant first opened.
- Find out which days of the week are the slowest and if you can close down on those days, do it. If you have a smaller location open draw up more business for your main restaurant. Have fliers that shows your full menu (if relevant), your daily or weekly specials, and make sure they’re small enough people can take them if they want. If any local groups visit let them know their meetings in your permanent storefront.
- Update your labor figures on a regular basis with your insurance provider. Don’t wait until the end of the year until getting your rebates. Look for non-obvious ways to decrease your store size without interfering with your customers’ experience. Use energy saving or motion activated lights, eco-friendly building materials and water sources to save on utility bills. There’s a higher chance of things being done efficiently if they’re done online, so take time to make more offline tasks digital. Your employees will prefer this methods and it also allows them to get back to other jobs faster if they don’t have to struggle with cumbersome traditional methods.
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.