Avoid These 5 Common Restaurant Mistakes!
Opening your first restaurant is exciting: All new challenges, a new venture and a chance to run the business exactly how you want. Be careful, though: For a lot of nascent owners, their eagerness blinds them to common missteps which prove costly in the future.
There are a lot of mistakes to be made when opening a new restaurant. Avoid some of the more common blindspots by keeping in mind these five essential tips.
Know Your Market
Market research is the essential first step to growing a successful business. You don’t want to open a restaurant with the same theme as the one down the street, for example. Develop a business plan that distinguishes you as a unique establishment, dissimilar enough to ones that your target audience already know and love. Identify your key demographic, their preferences and hobbies, and find out what appeals to them. Your market dictates everything from your design to the menu options, so rather than trying to force them to accept you, you should change your idea to fit their preferences. Focus on a big picture: What do your customers value?
This segues neatly into how you can develop your own core values that identify you apart from the pack. What can you do for your audience? What morals do you hold dear, and what causes do your business champion? Developing strong core values helps you market to customers and pitch to investors about why you, more than anyone else, can succeed with this particular audience. Remember, you’re entering their marketplace. Understanding your target customers will give you the information you need to start a successful business in their area.
Although you should definitely find a suitable workplace environment for you as an owner, running a restaurant isn’t always about what you want. Choosing a brick-and-mortar location is just as much about where your targeted audience lives, works and hangs out as it is about what’s convenient for you. Finding a suitable area starts with developing a business plan and restaurant concept, and that will dictate where your target demographic resides. Lease prices and proximity to your house matters, but it’s not the only consideration: You can always move for work, but you can’t expect everybody else to travel far for you.
Once you’ve settled on a locale, you need to equip yourself with the right licensing and permits for that area. Apply for a food service license, liquor license, music license, certificate of occupancy and more depending on the city, state and district where the new business resides. Licensing and applications take time, so get these out of the way early once you settle on a space to rent.
Hiring and Recruiting
Your staff is one of the most important aspects of your business, so you should pay extremely close attention during the hiring process. Your servers are the face of your restaurant, and the whole staff makes up the heart. They need to share your vision and goals to discern that they will strive to follow your restaurant’s mission statement. You can sort out the best candidates by developing pointed questions during the interview process, but really finding the best employees for the job starts before they ever submit an application. Find out how to leverage your job postings to attract the best-quality candidates around.
Your menu is the real draw: Even if your theme is compelling, your staff is cheery and your books are in order, your menu is what really makes or breaks the business. You can’t appeal to everyone, so don’t even try: Focus on what your target audience likes and curate a simple menu that appeals to their tastes. Providing too many options will overwhelm guests and overcomplicate the experience, confusing and even driving customers away. Your menu is your brand. Develop signature dishes that emphasize your uniqueness and focus on standing out, not standing for everything.
Times change. Instead of holding onto the past, your restaurant should evolve with it. Adapt to the latest in restaurant technology solutions and provide a smoother customer experience for all. Guests have come to expect speed and convenience when they dine out, with everything from ordering to payment; even if your theme is old-timey, your technology shouldn’t be outdated. Accounting is so important that it’s now built into many Point of Sale systems, with devices automatically tracking and generating reports to help with budgeting and bookkeeping.
Restaurant technology has advanced to have your back. From contactless payment methods to tableside service, from Kitchen Display Systems to mobile ordering, from pay-at-table devices to a smart Point of Sale hub that connects all of these interfaces on a single, easy-to-use screen, technology is here to help you budget your way into a more successful future.
At eatOS, our products were designed to keep track of your sales and other reports so you can more easily manage the business. Schedule a demo with us to learn more about how our state-of-the-art technology was made with your needs in mind. eatOS has cutting-edge solutions for any size business. Let us help you launch yours into the future of food service, today.