No-nonsense Business Tips, pt. 3
Today I bring you tips 4-7 (of 10) for how to improve business at your restaurant. By applying these straightforward suggestions, anybody can make it through a tough economic time.
4. Cleanliness. Another point I belabor enough to seem repetitive, but only because it’s so important. And yeah, while the horror-story images of rats and cockroaches and crusty old food laying around everywhere all have to do with the kitchen, that’s not all you have to think about. Even if your kitchen and storage areas are spotless and well run, customers will judge you based on what they get to see: the front of the house. If your dining room and waiting areas aren’t clean — if there’s tables taking too long to get cleared and wiped down, if there’s dust, if there’s clutter, if it’s dingy — a lot of diners will simply assume your whole restaurant is unclean and unsanitary. Maybe it’s not fair, but it’s the way it works. And though they might not complain to you, they’ll certainly tell their friends. And they’re unlikely to ever come back.
5. Delicious food. (Duh!) You can have the best service, the cleanest restaurant, and all the business savvy in the world, but if your food sucks it’s not going to get you anywhere, financially-speaking. You have to have delicious food! Fresh, quality, visually appealing fare is the key to every restaurant’s success. Obviously this can mean any number of things depending on the type of food you serve, and good food doesn’t necessarily mean fancy or complicated food. But with all the options out there for people who don’t want to eat at home, your restaurant has to offer something special to bring them in, doesn’t it?
6. Manage financial waste. Take a close look at your restaurant’s operations and see where you can cut back on money that’s being wasted. Make sure employees aren’t taking advantage of their jobs and eating all your food for free — a discount is important for moral and to make employees feel valued, but you can’t give tons and tons of food away without paying a price. Also, do all you can to get food at the best prices possible (haggling, going to competitors) — food cost is a crucial way to bring overall costs down and profit up. Finally, make smart decisions about your restaurant’s total overhead — rent, design, and many other simple, not-food-related things can add up to big money quickly if you’re not careful. Be smart! (And frugal!)
7. Plan out your specials. If you offer specials, offer them to make money — not just because it seems like something you should do. Many new business owners get it in their heads that they are “playing store” (or in our case, restaurant) and so the sales and specials have little connection to financial goals. What you want to do is offer your best, or most attractive, specials on the slowest nights of regular business. If you’re already crazy busy Friday nights, why would you start giving things away for free? Offer special deals and values for the nights you don’t already have a lot of business.
I’ll be back on Monday to finish out our top 10 list of simple business tips. Until then, comment below or drop us a line here.