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If you’re new to the industry, you might wonder how it all gets done. If you’re already a restaurant professional, you sometimes wonder how you do it. Running a successful restaurant takes business savvy, people skills and countless hours of your time.
It helps to stop and take stock. Add up the things that make it work, toss in fresh ideas, and sum up what it means to be operating a successful restaurant.
10 Tips for Running a Successful Restaurant
It’s a very competitive business. Your restaurant has to hold its place on a crowded dining landscape. Whether you’re in play as an independent or stepping up to the franchise plate, these 10 tips can help make your restaurant a winner.
1. Consistency is Key
Ask 10 food service professionals about how to run a successful restaurant, and you hear 100 great answers. One thing they all agree on is the importance of consistency. Apply this key to everything from sourcing to serving, and you can deliver a dining experience that consistently delivers customer loyalty.
2. Buy Smart Instead of Cheap
Keep the kitchen running smoothly with quality equipment that doesn’t break down in the middle of a shift. Save on food costs by purchasing premium products that don’t go bad overnight in the walk-in. From deep-fryers and freezers to prime rib and fresh romaine hearts, buying the best is always cost-effective.
3. Keep the Menu Flexible
Invest time in menu development. Are you offering guests plenty of variety? Can you modify recipes to highlight seasonal specialties? Customers want to see their favorites, but they enjoy new items too. A flexible menu frees up culinary creativity and keeps dining room guests happy.
4. Do Your Math
Figuring out food costs on every menu item is hard work. It’s also essential to turning a profit. Make weekly inventories and number-crunching routine duties. Accurate food cost accounting helps you develop better menus, deal with price fluctuations and budget for seasonal ingredients.
5. Run a Tight Kitchen
Organize back of house so that staff can work with maximum efficiency and minimum waste, Make sure everyone understands the important role they play in holding down food costs. Emphasize best-prep practices as part of in-house training, and assign rotating positions to monitor overall effectiveness. Consider hiring a restaurant cleaning service such as from ServiceMaster to keep the premises clean and safe for employees.
6. Stand Out on Social Media
It takes more than a well-designed web presence that highlights menus and specials. Industry studies report that 80 percent of potential customers check out restaurant websites and online reviews before they make a decision. Invest in social media management that stretches your market reach and helps you win important positive reviews.
7. Explore and Expand
You’ve established your brand, but you want to improve the bottom line. If you wonder about how to make a successful restaurant better, think beyond the dining room. Branch out with off-site catering. Explore on-site options with alfresco service. Take profits to another level by expanding on your current success.
8. Value Your Staff
A successful restaurant runs well from front to back of house because everyone on staff knows they’re appreciated. Make it clear that you value their hard work. Set up bonus systems, be generous with incentives, and organize entertaining outside activities. Let them know your door is always open to both their concerns and their ideas.
9. Value Your Customers
Whether your menu features burgers and fries or foie gras, customers deserve your best. Keep the restaurant spotless, keep staff well-trained, and keep a firm hand on quality in the kitchen. Your guests have choices, so you have to earn their business. Do it by earning their loyalty with outstanding customer service.
10. Be a Business That Cares
Demonstrate your commitment to the community by getting involved. Donate catering to non-profit organizations, become a part of programs that address hunger relief, and volunteer staff time during local emergencies. Develop your restaurant’s profile as a business that cares because it’s the right thing to do for your community.
Supporting Your Restaurant Success
There’s not another business like it. You can own a small diner, manage a national chain or pamper guests in five-star surroundings. Regardless of the setting, we hope our tips and ideas serve as both an overview of what you’re doing right and inspiration for positive changes.
We understand the hard work you put into your restaurant every day. As the leader among California’s produce growers and shippers, we stand behind your commitment to serving customers the very best. Hitchcock Farms is proud to support your success, and we appreciate your business.