If you're planning to open a new restaurant—or if you already own one—you want to succeed. This means understanding what your customers want and delivering the kind of service which brings them back...again and again.
And, although Business Insider reveals from research that not every restaurant succeeds, there are many others that do.
How to Conquer Restaurant Industry Challenges
The key is recognizing some of the common challenges upfront to ensure your restaurant is proactive at overcoming them. It's important to learn from the experience of others—from those who are thriving and profitable in business as well as those who could offer a lesson or two from unfortunate blunders made.
So, while highlighting the major challenges facing restaurant owners, here are action steps you can take to create success in your business:
1. Make Sure Your Menu Reflects Your What Your Customer's Want
It's important to give customers a sufficient number of choices, but you don't want to overdo it. Try to achieve a reasonable balance between choice and your ability to deliver high-quality dishes.
You don't, for example, need to offer 15 different types of steak or 50 appetizers.
Also, talk with your customers to find out what dishes they like the most. Then, emphasize these on your menu.
Keep in mind that your menu is the most visible sign of what your restaurant is all about. So it's essential to achieve a focus that's consistent with your brand and gives customers what they want.
One final tip: Make sure your menu is on your website, and that your website is easily accessible from mobile phones.
2. Offering Stellar Customer Service is Vital
If you have great dishes, a superior ambiance, and outstanding marketing—but your wait staff (or anyone else in your restaurant) isn't making customers feel valued, your success will suffer.
You see, it's not enough simply to tell waiters and waitresses to "be nice" to the customer—they could interpret that prescription in any number of ways that aren't consistent with the kind of service you want to offer.
Instead, have a scripted and consistent training program; one which anticipates every problem that's likely to occur and provides detailed and specific instructions for how to deal with each.
A great way to measure the effectiveness of your customer service is to survey your guests. Give them a quick and easy form they can fill out to share what they enjoyed about their dining experience. Also, ask them their least favorite.
Use this data to update your customer service plan accordingly.
3. What's Your Secret Sauce? Share it!
Well, what we mean is: what makes your restaurant different than the similar cafe a few blocks away?
Another one of the major challenges facing restaurant owners is being able to stand out from a slew of other restaurants. In other words, what gives you the competitive edge? And are your customers aware?
You need a clear, unequivocal statement (sometimes called a "unique selling proposition") that identifies what's special or different about your restaurant, and a specific and consistent marketing plan for how you're going to promote that distinctiveness.
Equally important, you want to make sure that whatever you sell as your uniqueness is an experience customers feel when entering your restaurant.
If you tell customers, for example, that you offer superior food less expensively than your competitors, but then give them prices that are actually higher or less than quality food, you're going to lose their trust...and perhaps, their business.
4. Create and Execute a Smart Marketing Plan
The final common problem in the restaurant industry is establishing a marketing plan that gets your brand in front of ideal customers.
You see, no matter how good your restaurant is, in terms of food choices, quality and customer service, no one is going to know if you don't strategically put these facts in front of them. This requires a smart marketing plan.
Marketing in the digital age can be intimidating, and often you'll be more profitable if you work with a reputable digital marketing agency which can help you make informed decisions and get the biggest bang for your marketing dollars.
In fact, they can show you how to create a smart marketing plan, formalize your brand standards, create a responsive website and leverage social media sites to showcase your restaurant in the best light and reach the largest possible customer base.
Create Success Amid the Major Challenges Facing Restaurant Owners
Restaurants can be remarkably successful when they take the time to understand who their customers are, what they want, and how best to serve them. Regardless of the common problems faced in the restaurant industry, you're well equipped to overcome them!
They also know how to maximize limited dollars at every turn—and that includes having a sound and cost-effective energy program.
At GWT2Energy, we focus on how to utilize an energy risk management strategy, energy contract negotiations, utility budget oversight and forecasting and energy reporting services to help our restaurant clients save on a their overall energy/utility expenses. We have saved one client more than $500,000 in their energy expenditures in a single year, contact us today. We can help your restaurant company succeed by lowering energy costs so you become increasingly profitable in your business!