There is no better time than now to consider opening a restaurant. Statistics show people are eating out more and seeking unique experiences, while both catering and delivery services have become standard operating procedures for restaurants of all sizes. To give you an idea of how ripe the opportunity is, in 1955, the restaurant industry comprised just 25 percent of the family food dollar. But 2017, that number had risen to 48 percent by 2017.
To effectively manage a successful eatery, today’s restaurateur needs to don more hats than just a chef’s toque. There are issues of food cost, waste, sustainability, staffing, marketing and promotions that need to be addressed on a daily basis. You can have the best food in town, but poor management practices will keep guests from coming back and ultimately doom your dream. Here are a few tips to help an aspiring restaurant owner or operator set the proper foundation:
1. Know yourself
You cannot be an expert at everything. If numbers aren’t your strong suit and you are more comfortable with menu creation and setting the ambience, acknowledge it. Partner with or hire people who have more business acumen to handle the financials, so you can focus on what you do well.
2. Be resourceful
The National Restaurant Association and Small Business Administration are just two of the many organizations that provide useful information designed to help you understand the best practices of operating a restaurant. Add industry news sources to your reading list to learn about leadership techniques and keep up-to-date on new products and services.
3. Reach out to colleagues
The restaurant industry was founded on the idea of hospitality — helping others. Build relationships with local restaurant colleagues and pick their brains for recommendations on accounting services or technology providers. They will often be your best sources of what works and doesn’t work in practice.
4. Tech is your friend
Don’t fear technology, embrace it. Educate yourself and find the right tech to fit your brand. Maybe installing kiosks or providing cashless options will work well in your restaurant, or maybe you just want to have a loyalty program to reward guests. The options are there, and the best programs are seamless to allow you focus on your food and your guests.