Some restaurants seem to have it together from the first week, while others start buckling down under pressure. While customers might give you a free pass in the first few days, do not expect this sympathy to last long. So how do the restaurants that breeze through the first few weeks of opening do it? You need to focus on three key areas.
The truth is however hard you work or the commitment you make, the first week cannot be an easy one. You are not going to get everything right. You wish for a flawless opening but with so many elements that need to come together, you would probably have to make do with a soft opening. You can carry out a soft opening for friends and family who in turn can give you their feedback. Some restaurants conduct more than one soft opening to try out different variations of the menu. However, it is your choice on how you plan to do it. Once you’ve identified the problem areas you can resolve them before opening your restaurant to the public. Have a team in place and make it their job to deal with these issues while you continue to work on the core goals of the restaurant.
Train your staff
There are endless stresses and delays that come with opening a new restaurant. The ideal situation would be that your staff is trained for months on end, the recipes are tested and tried and the bartender has memorized the cocktail list. The reality is always different. Staff barely has enough time to get prepared and usually opening night is a chaotic rush. In some restaurants, staffing is not even finalized. While making time to train your staff is a challenge, it is something that you simply cannot overlook. They are the point of contact in your restaurant and need to make a good impression right away. Guests are usually forgiving in the beginning but if your staff continues to offer poor service, it is going to reflect badly on your restaurant.
The other unfortunate business of the restaurant industry is that staff turnover can be high. Be prepared for staff leaving at a moment’s notice and be ready to replace them when needed.
If you don’t have a steady stream of customers walking into your restaurant every night, you are in trouble. Most restaurants push advertising to the bottom of the list. It is vital you have an advertising budget in place. If people don’t know about your restaurant how can you expect them to come? A hospitality consultant will put together a marketing strategy and allocate a team member to work on it.
– Who is your target audience? How can you reach them? What advertising channels do they use?
– Have a website and be socially engaged on social media networks. Design print ads and send out emails.
– If there are special holidays or events coming up, capitalize on it by offering promotions and deals.