The restaurant industry is a tough gig. And not just a little bit tough – it’s by far the most challenging business venture that one can attempt. That’s why you really have to believe in what you’re doing. If you don’t truly believe that you are providing your community with a restaurant they can be proud of, then like most restaurants, you’re not going to make it. If you want your restaurant to be anything more than just a flash in the pan, you need to make it the restaurant people name when they’re contemplating places to eat. If you own an Italian deli in Seattle, your business needs to be the one people think of when their family comes to town and asks if they know of any good Italian delis. If this is the direction you would like to be heading, here are five factors for success in the restaurant business.
- Great website. These days no one is driving around looking for neon open signs. If you want to attract business to your restaurant, you need to have a great website. People want to take a look at your menu and get excited about the food you’re serving. They want to look at pictures of both the food and the ambience. So defining your vibe starts with a great website.
- A strong social media campaign. If you want people to land on your website, you have to have a strong social media campaign. If you don’t know where to start, start with your general business plan. Look at the goals you’ve set for yourself and ask yourself how you could support those goals with your social media efforts. Offer discounts on drinks if you use a secret password or if you come in at a certain time. Advertise specialty items made for various holidays and community celebrations.
- Have a great permanent specialty item. Whether it be breadsticks, guacamole, fondue, or any other kind of appetizer, you want to have a secret recipe that keeps people coming back. It’s not uncommon for people to get so excited about an appetizer, that they almost don’t care much about the entree. Plus, you will attract a lot of business from young professionals who just want a drink and an appetizer.
- Stay sleek. When people walk into your restaurant, they want to feel like they’re cool for being there. You want to have a place where people take their friends when they’re trying to impress. So make sure that you create a great, welcoming ambience. Don’t overcrowd the space with decorations – keep it clean and simple. Make sure that your staff is keeping all the tables, chairs and floors looking clean as well. Tables need to be wiped down and redressed immediately after each party leaves.
- Consult the experts. Maybe you’re not playing the right music. Maybe you’re not open during the right hours, or maybe you’re not serving the right food. No matter what your deficiency is, a consulting group will be able to identify it much more easily than you can on your own. So have a firm like The Gilkey Restaurant Consulting Group audit your business. That way, you can grow your business faster.