Restaurants come and go. Perhaps you’ve watched businesses rotate in and out of a space and you wonder why they never seem to thrive. Or you struggle to get repeat customers at your restaurant and you wonder what’s going on. Running a restaurant business involves a lot of moving parts. Customers are picky about their food and where they like to eat. They frequent the places they love and they tell everyone about it. Likewise, they tell everyone about the places they had bad experiences with. If you want to create a thriving business, you need to consider each of these factors.
What’s the parking like? Is it in the right part of town for your target customer? Is it easy to get to? Is it accessible? These are important questions you should ask before you start a restaurant. If you are stuck in a location that isn’t working for any of these reasons, it’s important to make changes if you want to thrive. Or, you might want to consider restaurant alternatives such as virtual kitchens. These unique restaurant set-ups forgo the need for parking or prime locations because they operate on a to-go, delivery and pickup basis. For example, a NYC ghost kitchen is ideal in this busy metropolis where prime real estate is a costly commodity and parking is at a premium. Granted, if you want a full-service, sit-down restaurant, the location of your business matters and having it in the wrong place can lead to failure. Do your due diligence if you need to make a move to ensure you choose just the right location, or choose alternatives such as cloud kitchens that can give you and your restaurant customers the best of all worlds.
Unless your restaurant brand is built around offering terrible service to your customers, you need to provide incredible customer service. Every time a guest interacts with the staff in a restaurant is an opportunity to create raving fans of your business. Don’t just send your staff out to the wolves. Take time to train them so they are knowledgeable and can easily help customers with their questions. Teach them and show them what good customer service looks like. It’s amazing what a smiling face can do, so make sure you hire staff who are friendly and personable. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble down the road if you choose the right people for your business.
Of course, people come to restaurants for the food. Is it good? Is it hot when it comes out? Is it what the people ordered? Creating a menu sets the tone for everything else in the restaurant. Give customers enough choices, but don’t make it too complicated. If you offer an allergen friendly menu, make sure it’s obvious. If there is a special way your customers need to order, give instructions to help them help you.
Whatever the theme of your restaurant, create a menu with selections that are unique and appetizing. Give generous portions so customers don’t feel slighted. Make it look pretty on the plate too. It’s amazing how this simple task can make the experience more enjoyable for customers.
Water is a vital component of a good restaurant business. It impacts everything from the cleaning, to pipes maintenance, to the way the food tastes. If the water at your restaurant business tastes bad, it will impact everything and it will deter customers from coming back. Imagine a customer gets a drink with ice in it. The ice starts to melt and makes their drink taste like chemicals or minerals. Or they just get water with their meal and it has a metallic flavor. These unpleasant tastes can translate into losing repeat customers.
The best way to improve the flavor of your restaurant water is with a water filtration and water softening system. A water softener in particular helps remove minerals from the water. This process not only helps the water taste better, but it also helps reduce how much detergent you’ll use when you do dishes each night when the restaurant closes. It also reduces mineral buildup in your pipes and can save you from costly repairs later. A good water filter will remove many of the chemicals that leave your water tasting bad and helps improve the flavor of food and other drinks. It also provides improved water safety for you and your customers.
What’s it like inside? Is it dark, bright, modern, or eclectic? Is it clean? Is it really loud, or can people easily have conversations with friends? The vibe sets the tone for how people enjoy the space. If it’s always dirty inside, customers will be put-off. Make sure your team cleans regularly to ensure an inviting space for guests to eat. If you want a family friendly environment, use furniture and color to make it more appealing. Plates, cups, and dinnerware are also parts of the restaurant experience. Creating a unique atmosphere can help a restaurant business do well.
Is your kitchen running well? Is it clean and organized? Does everyone know their role and where to get what they need to make their part run smoothly? Just like the kitchen is the heart of the home, the kitchen is the heart of the business. Ingredients come in and meals go out. If your kitchen needs repair or it needs work, things will function less efficiently. This impacts how easily you can get meals out to the customers, prep food, and so much more. Give attention to your kitchen and how it’s laid out to ensure it is functioning the best.
Floors, tables, and walls should be as clean as possible. It removes dangerous hazards, but also just looks better. Customers want to feel like the food they are going to eat will taste good and won’t make them sick. If your restaurant is always dirty, it may leave people feeling like something will be wrong with the food as well. Train your staff to keep their work areas clean, but to also stay on top of cleaning customer spaces. During busy times, bathrooms in particular get neglected. Cleaning these vital spaces will offer a welcoming vibe that keeps customers happy and coming back with their friends.
It’s possible to create a restaurant that thrives. When you focus on the location, atmosphere, food, water, kitchen, cleaning, and especially the customer service, your business will be more successful. Restaurants can have the best marketing, but if they neglect any of these vital components, they risk everything. Happy customers are repeat customers. Serve them with excellence.