The financial crisis has been particularly hard on restaurants, with many people eating at home when they would have eaten out in better times. Low-priced takeaway restaurants and fast food joints have also made it difficult for conventional restaurants. However, if your restaurant is suffering, there are things you can do to increase your income and get more customers in the door.
Start by reassessing your expenses
What are your biggest expenses? Is there any way of reducing them? Costly energy bills can be addressed by upgrading restaurant equipment to more energy efficient models or by using a digital thermostat so that the restaurant is only being heated when it’s open. You could also look at which food items are the most expensive; once identified, talk to your distributor to see if he or she can cut you a better deal and, if not, shop around. You may even be able to find a better quality version of the food item at a lower price.
Keeping Customers Happy
You want customers to come back again and again and to recommend your restaurant to family and friends. You should aim to satisfy customers in every way possible. All aspects of your business should take customers into account, from the menu to hiring new staff to the décor. Your staff is the face of your restaurant. Your food may be wonderful, but if the staff is rude or unpleasant, customers won’t come back.
Staff should be friendly, helpful and efficient, so keep this in mind when hiring. Customers may also leave your restaurant with a bad aftertaste if they were kept waiting long periods of time for their food. Consider investing in convenient POS systems (Point-Of-Sale) which can speed up operations, getting orders to the kitchen from the table instantly or making your daily specials clear to all customers (on a digital menu board, for example).
Your Restaurant’s Website
In the age of the Internet, more and more people decide what restaurant they’ll go to by looking online, so it’s worth spending some time on your website.
Your website should look attractive and it should contain images of your restaurant, sample menus, photographs of your dishes and, most importantly, a phone number for customers who want to make a reservation. You could even offer takeaway services on your website or on online directories in order to further increase sales.
All restaurants can take measures to improve their customers’ dining experience and, by doing so, keep customers coming back, so it’s worth sitting down and evaluating your restaurant to see what you do well and what areas you could improve on. You’ll attract more customers, cut costs and make more money, so what’s stopping you?
This article was written by restaurant manager Steven Hughes whose restaurant makes use of POS systems.