When you first opened your doors, you were probably the hottest joint in town. New restaurants always spark great interest; so things were probably going well until suddenly they were not. Since the initial buzz died down, you may have been trying without success to catch a second wind.
It can be overly frustrating to watch your dream crumble right before you. Not to mention all the time, money, and effort it takes to get a business like a restaurant, up and running. As if that is not enough, there are employees whose livelihoods depend on the success of your business.
Before you throw in the towel, here are some aspects of your business where you may be falling short and how you can address them.
It is true that people go to restaurants to experience culinary delights or take a break from making their own meals. However, customers also enjoy a healthy serving of ambiance. How are you holding up in that department?
Ambiance covers a multitude of things. From the paint on the walls to the lighting and even table cloths. In addition, details such as dog-eared menus and creaking chairs all come together to paint your restaurant in a poor light. Unfortunately, you may not notice these problems but everyone that comes in with fresh eyes does.
Aim for a Fresh Look
There are a few approaches you can take to handle your ambiance issue and prevent it from recurring:
- Have a restaurant decor expert come in from time to time and offer you advice
- Schedule regular decor improvements
- Have multiple unique sets of linens and cutlery sets
While you work on those long term solutions, try and do something in the meantime. Purchase new table cloths, centerpieces, and consider painting the walls. Mirrors and mood lighting also lends a great touch of class to an establishment. Whatever you do, keep in mind that the goal is to breathe some new life into your restaurant.
Every restaurant has a special dish or other that they are known for or a cocktail that everyone raves about. Nevertheless, there is a thin line between staying on brand and being rigid.
Your business could be limiting itself by ignoring new trends. There has been a long-term conversation in the vegetarian community about how limited their menus are. Other customers with specific dietary requirements may also be suffering the same plight. When you neglect such needs, you are allowing a whole class of clientele and profit to slip away.
An Improved Menu
When you consistently create new dishes, it gives dining at your restaurant an edge and a sense of spontaneity. It keeps customers intrigued and coming back to find out what new discoveries they will get to dig into.
As for trends, remember why you got into the business. It probably had something to do with your passion for food. Put your back into creating a menu that is more inclusive with sumptuous dishes for pescatarians, vegans, and gluten-free needs. You will soon see your restaurant get back into an upswing of business in no time.
Poor Business Responsiveness
A responsive business is one that keeps up with new innovative ways to run and respond to customer needs too.
An apt example of business responsiveness is how most restaurants switched their operations fully into delivery mode due to Coronavirus. It was not only a survival tactic for their own benefit but also a means to accommodate the needs of their customers.
Customer convenience is also a crucial detail that you may not adequately be responding to. Provisions such as multiple payment options and the ability to order online get overlooked but they make a big difference. Modern living makes convenience indispensable. Moreover, take-out customers are just as beneficial to your income stream.
Examine your business and see how well you are doing at staying current with restaurant practices. While it may be hard to hear, if you are unwilling to respond to the market, your business may not survive.
If customers have not been dining at your restaurant, they have definitely been dining somewhere. That would probably be at your competition’s establishments.
Running a restaurant business can be so demanding that you could easily forget to keep up with the competition. It may be time to correct that. Checking out other restaurants can feel like a jagged knife to your pride but it is necessary.
Your goal during this recon mission is to learn and see where you might be falling short. Keep an eye open for ways you can improve your own restaurant too. For instance, if you see an elegant soda bottle in Roetell design, it’s perfectly acceptable to seek the manufacturer’s services.
As long as you are not imitating your competition’s ideas or stealing trade secrets, benchmarking is completely normal in business.
A restaurant is based on the premise of hospitality. Right from the cooking to the waitstaff that serves meals, your staff members keep your business alive. On the other hand, they could also be sabotaging it.
It is important that you seek feedback about the kind of service your customers are receiving. If it is anything short of pleasant, you will need to make some changes. Further, your staff may be the warmest there is but their skills in fine dining may be slipping in regard to standards. That too could be costing you dearly.
Refresher courses exist in almost every career because practices change and staff get comfortable. As you seek to improve your business, invest in your staff’s skills as well.
Giving up in your business should be a last resort. Think of all the dreams you had for your restaurant and channel that energy into turning things around. Like all phases of change, it may feel uncomfortable and overly exerting but it will be worth it.
Embrace new beginnings, they are likely to bring better tidings.