Restaurant success and profit should be long term goals. Yes, as much as it is exciting to start churning profits in the first year, you should have proper management controls and financial capabilities in place to ensure your restaurant runs smoothly for years to come. Remember, you have staff whose livelihood may depend solely on keeping their jobs. And if you have a family to upkeep, the restaurant is not just about making your dreams come true, it is also about ensuring there is sufficient profit coming in to carry on doing what you love.
Let’s talk about operational costs
It is imperative you know your operational costs well. Average food cost should not exceed 32% in a traditional restaurant setting. Costs for alcohol should be limited to 21%. Be aware of these costs, the more aware you are the more likely you will be able to set food costs reducing wastage as much as possible. You don’t have to charge your customers exorbitant prices, to make a reasonable profit. You can charge them appropriately as long as you ensure not too much food gets thrown into the bin. Buy local ingredients, they taste fresh and better. They are also cheaper. Have a close collaboration with your vendors, negotiate prices when you need to, forecast realistic sales and keep the books organized.
How do you fit into the business?
What is your role in the business? It is easy to become overwhelmed with the teeny tiny happenings in a restaurant. But, you need to have a job specification for everyone working at the restaurant. Hire appropriately and delegate tasks you don’t need to have. You cannot be the chef, bartender, manager and wait staff all at the same time. You need to create a good work and life balance, and your staff will certainly follow your example.
It’s all about first impressions
The front house needs to give out a good first impression. The host must be polite putting customers immediately at ease. They should be seated quickly. Train your staff properly, so they are always polite, courteous and friendly. Restaurant goers are always happy when they are greeted personally at the door, and wished goodnight. Customers are the staple of your restaurant. From the moment they walk in to the moment they leave, their satisfaction is at stake. Customers deserve the best treatment, and remember, they come not just for the food but to enjoy the dining experience as a whole.
And in concluding,
Cater to your audience’s taste. What kind of audience do you have? What setting would interest them the most? If you are running a small café or bistro, having items on your menu even you cannot pronounce is never a good idea. The more comfortable customers feel in your restaurant, the more likely they will return. And this should be your ultimate goal, to achieve return visits.