Sustainable restaurant success requires a strong foundation beginning on opening day. Owners and operators who recognize the importance of three core areas, business, culture, and operations systems, will have an advantage.
An innovative concept and high quality food is rarely more important than delivering a consistent and valuable guest experience. Consistent systems ensure an improved guest experience and allow owners and managers to manage more effectively.
Many new restaurants deliver great food and service, but are not sound businesses. New concepts and independent restaurants struggle financially because owning and operating a restaurant consists of so much more than the food.
Obtaining and always improving upon accounting and financial skills is important to the success of any restaurant. Managing inventory and profit margins, properly handling payroll and tax issues, and minimizing waste are critical.
Having a thorough business plan is essential for developing your strategy and holding yourself accountable. Here are the main components of a restaurant business plan:
- Executive Summary
- Company Overview and Description
- Competitive Market Analysis
- Business Offerings
- Management Strategy
- Marketing and Promotion Strategy
- Financial Projections
Many new owners opt to outsource accounting and payroll to ensure that those tasks are handled professionally. New restaurant owners are wise to assign profitability, inventory and waste management to an experienced manager to ensure that the restaurant thrives well after the grand opening.
Creating a company culture in your restaurant from day one is important to building a solid foundation for your restaurant. A restaurant’s employees are the most important asset because happy employees invest in happy customers. Your restaurant’s culture will influence how hard your employees work and the type of employee that you attract.
Providing employees with a positive work experience naturally flows through to your employees providing a guest experience that cultivates customer loyalty. Solid leadership will develop a plan to build a quality working environment and a culture of excellence and accountability.
There are four primary pillars of restaurant culture to consider when building your new concept:
- People on your team
- Restaurant atmosphere
- Processes and policies
- Vision or purpose
When you walk into a restaurant that has been open for more than twenty years, chances are that many of the employees are long term and committed to the success of the restaurant.
Consistent restaurant operations systems create a synergy with the business and culture components of your restaurant and tie them together into a successful restaurant package. Having not only plans, but the proper technology in place to ensure best practices with food safety, food waste, point of sale, hiring, etc is the third piece to a restaurant’s success.
Setting short term and long term goals and having a formalized plan to reach those goals will hold both owners and managers accountable. Creating checklists for the following operations segments of your restaurant will create good habits and set expectations.
- Customer Service
- Employee Training
- Recipes and Food Prep
- Opening/Closing Tasks
- Internal Controls
Launching your new restaurant concept is exciting and a lot of hard work. Although your grand opening may seem glamorous, don’t forget to put in the hard work of creating restaurant systems that will keep your doors open and the money flowing for years to come.