People take their passion for cooking further by embarking on an entrepreneurial journey, typically by opening a restaurant. There is enjoyment in the thought of cooking a meal that will enlighten the senses and that the restaurant owner will be rewarded financially and also with an army of happy and loyal customers.

Unfortunately, the journey won’t be that easy. While there are restaurant entrepreneurs that succeed, there are many others that fall short and fail. To avoid the pitfalls that will hamper your restaurant’s success, we recommend the following actions.

Busy restaurant

1. Make sure you deliver the expectations of your customer

Delivering the expectations of the restaurant’s customer is the primary goal that the restaurant should keep in mind. Deliver to their expectations and the restaurant will thrive. Should you not deliver, the restaurant will die a slow death.

It will all start with the food that is being served. Ensure that the food is served fresh and is presented well, as people eat with their eyes first, and then appreciate the food with their taste buds second. One of the ways restaurants end up failing is through their practices to maintain the food quality within the kitchen. This may be due to poor cleanliness or food storage procedures. To minimize the risk with food storage, restaurants should have a procedure where food packaging supplies are used and labeled to ensure that the food is kept fresh and is rotated accordingly.

2. Pay attention to the entire experience the restaurant will provide

One of the key things that will play into the success of the restaurant is the type of experience the restaurant will offer. Does the restaurant plan to offer a quick turnaround service for people to eat quickly and go? Or will the restaurant offer more of a sit down experience where people can chat and enjoy the atmosphere? Furthermore, will the restaurant target higher end or lower end clientele? Once the restaurant identifies exactly who they are targeting, the experience should be tailored to the desired experience of that market.

3. Know your restaurant market

It is important that restaurant owners know the market that they are aiming for. Rather than trying to be generic and to appeal to everybody, the restaurant would do better by serving the needs of a specific customer niche. These niches could then be broken down into micro niches. Some examples of the different restaurant niches include cultural-based foods and budget-friendly foods.

Country & Culture specific foods

When people open up restaurants, this is usually the niche angle that people will go for. Typically, they will open up the restaurant based on the cultural cuisine that they may have learned in their lifetime. (This may be from their ethnicity, travels or general cultural interest.) The cultural differentiator can work, however there may be a need to educate the market in the cuisine as they may not know what to expect when going there.

Food based on price

The restaurants that sell on price will aim to generate profits based on a high volume of food sale orders. This may see the use of ‘meal deals’ that are prepared and served quickly at a price between $5-10. The restaurant experience may focus on a takeaway or a quick turnaround service.

Sandwich restaurant

4. Engage in marketing activities to maximize bookings

Restaurants must remember that they are operating a business model. That means they must have a process that will generate them leads and sales for the business over the long-term. The business will want to generate bookings through word of mouth and referrals. However, it is important that they engage in local marketing initiatives that will create awareness for their business. This includes:

  • Mailbox drops
  • Telemarketing activities.
  • Local print advertising activities.
  • Local TV or radio campaigns
  • Digital marketing activities.
  • Special offers and promotions.

Bonus: Tips from the pros

If you are still unsure about what direction to take for your restaurant business, take some words of wisdom from some of the world’s leading chefs and restaurant entrepreneurs.

Tips from Gordon Ramsay:

People eat with their eyes, so sell them the story with captivating images, as told by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Takeaway

If you keep these considerations in mind when running your restaurant, you should be able to impress and have your restaurant thrive with customers, reviews and endless bookings.