Today I wanted to reference a very interesting article by Joy Ugi published on Getorderly.com. The article discusses 7 common restaurant pitfalls. I think this a great read!!
Joy Ugi on Jun 22, 2015 9:00:00 AM
What you do best is run your restaurant.
And although it’s what you love, it’s often so chaotic you don’t have time or energy to evaluate what you’re doing well and what you can improve in order to increase profits.
Some restaurants are often stuck in this endless cycle of doing the next thing without having any strategy – they do it one way because that’s always how it’s been done.
When this perspective eventually leads to the restaurant’s doors closing, the owners, operators, chefs and staff are fittingly left wondering what happened.
Maybe you’ve just started a restaurant, or maybe you’ve been in the industry a long time.
Wherever you are on the scale, we’re sharing seven common mistakes restaurants make to help you avoid pitfalls and run a successful business for a long time to come.
1. Not Understanding Food Spend
You can see your food spend directly compared to your profits.You know how much you’re spending week by week on each item you order. Supplier prices are available and you make the best purchasing decision balancing cost and quality among supplier options.
If this doesn’t sound like you, then you probably don’t understand your food spend and how it’s affecting your restaurant.
Without a proper perspective of your food costs, you can’t price your menu appropriately. And that could be the make-it or break-it point for your restaurant.
Avoid this mistake by tracking your food spend, as well as your food sales. With this information, you can make better decisions about how to price dishes and whether to add or take away menu items.
Don’t let suppliers take advantage of you. Know from week to week what you are paying each supplier and compare costs between suppliers for the best price.
You can do this using something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, but you can also use reporting tools like the ones in Orderly to do the same thing in less time.
2. No Passion for the Business Side of Things
Ahh, that moment when your specially-crafted dish goes out the kitchen door for the first time.
You hear the raving reviews from patrons and you can’t help but feel your passion for creating extraordinary dishes fire up.
It’s a common feeling among chefs. What’s less common in restaurants with these passionate chefs is someone with the business skills to make sure that passion translates into profits.
Both skills sets are integral to the success of any restaurant, so make sure there is someone on your team who is dedicated to operating and managing your business expenses and accounting.
Someone needs to keep an eye on your food and labor spend compared to sales, organize invoices, and track credits from suppliers, review schedules.
If the business side of running a restaurant doesn’t appeal to your strengths, it’s good idea to hire someone who feels the opposite way. Or if you can’t afford to hire, there are specialized restaurant accounting, front-of-house, and back-of-house technologies to help you ease the stress of everyday operations.
3. Forgetting About Hospitality
Mistakes will happen at your restaurant; everyone is human.
Dishes will leave the kitchen burned, a hair will show up on a plate, or the wait-staff will break a water glass in the cooler while trying to get ice.
The most important part is how you as a restaurant respond to these issues.The right way is to always address an issue right away, not letting it fall to the wayside.
Patrons can easily turn from dissatisfied to lifelong evangelists for your restaurant if you take the time to acknowledge your weakness or failure and make it right with that person.
Creating consistent policies and procedures to uphold the hospitality part of your business is a must.
4. Addressing Poor Management
Successful restaurants run like a well-oiled machine.
Front-of-house, back-of-house, chefs, owners – they all act as a familial support system for each other. Unfortunately, a lot of restaurants don’t have this team culture.
Often you can point the finger at lack of management skills in your team leaders.
If a restaurant manager isn’t passionate about what he or she is doing, takes the time to hire hard-working and talented staff, and is dedicated to seeing the restaurant thrive, then he or she got into the business for the wrong reasons.
Whether you’re looking to hire a restaurant manager or you want to become one, understand that dedication to growing a healthy team and passion for the food industry comes first.
The amount of money you take home depends on how well you can manage your team and create a hospitable, welcoming atmosphere.
5. Poor Scheduling Skills
Although it would be easy to set standard schedules for front and back-of-house, the restaurant industry doesn’t support this kind of traditional scheduling.
After all, sales and customer volume can change every week. Schedules must be created each week based on those variables so you don’t waste money or your staff’s time.
If you’re costing out your schedule, you’ll be able to form a daily and weekly labor budget.
You can then compare weekly sales to your labor costs for the same period, which will give you a picture of where you need to add or take away hours on the schedule.
6. Lack of Online Marketing
How do most consumers decide what eatery they’re going to hit up on Friday night?
More than likely, they’ll ask Google. You can take advantage of this behavior by prioritizing your restaurant’s online presence.
First, make sure your restaurant website is legible not only on a desktop or laptop, but on a mobile device, as well.
Invest in breathtaking restaurant interior and food photography to dress up your restaurant’s website. Consumers are often influenced to dine somewhere because the aesthetics draw them in.
Next, do some research about search engine optimization best practices to make sure people are finding it when they search for the type of food you serve and the area you’re located.
Finally, ask patrons to recommend you or leave comments about your restaurant on Opentable and Yelp so possible customers who are searching on those sites can view you.
Branding and public relations for your restaurant is essential, and with the growth of social media, now easier than ever. For example, give your restaurant a positive PR boost is by documenting your involvement in the community via your social media sites.
Producing food that is always phenomenal is one of the most important parts of running a restaurant and developing a loyal customer base.
We all know that when it’s slow, more mistakes tend to happen. Make sure no matter how busy – or not – your restaurant is, the staff is producing the same quality of dishes.
The slow Tuesday night steak should be just as great as the busy Saturday night steak. This attention to detail and quality will separate your great restaurant from the “meh.”
Another huge point is holding your suppliers accountable for the product they send you.
Nothing is worse than anticipating a busy night and an incomplete delivery at the back door makes you have to 86 one of your most-loved dishes on the menu.
Track items received at the door against your order to give yourself time to react and get product before service.
At a minimum, keep track of the credits owed to you due to supplier mistakes and ensure suppliers make good on those I-owe-yous.