5 common mistakes restaurant managers should avoid

Posted on April 16th, 2018 in Blog, News

If you’ve just opened a new restaurant or it’s something you’re thinking about, learning from other people’s mistakes saves you the time, money and stress of going through the same things yourself.

When you’ve taken care of the big concerns, like finding the perfect location and financing your dream business, it’s not time to get complacent. There are still plenty of decisions to make before and after opening that can go a long way towards securing your success in that vital first year.


  1. No USP

Customers need a reason to choose your restaurant over all the other options. First-time curiosity and a local customer base will only get you so far.

Every business needs a USP (unique selling proposition), including those serving food and drink. Will you specialise in a certain type of food? Research similar establishments near you to see what they’re doing and, more importantly, what they’re not doing.

Your USP may be exceptional quality cuisine and specialty items, or it can be something aesthetic like colourful costumes and a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. Whatever you think your customers would respond well to – this is where market research comes in.


  1. Ignoring social media

Not every start-up has the funds to pay a market research agency, but it’s not too much work to do it yourself. The internet gives you all the tools you need to get an idea of what type of restaurant will appeal to people in your area, and to promote your new business effectively to them.

In such a competitive industry, restaurants can’t afford not to have a web presence. If you know someone who knows SEO, talk to them about creating an entry on Google Maps for your business. You should also set up a website for your restaurant and dedicated social media profiles on Facebook, Instagram and other sites, so you can start to spread the word rather than waiting for people to notice you.

This can also help you catch the eye of local media for some invaluable publicity. It won’t be long before the chatter starts on local review sites.


  1. Over-complicating food

It may be your dream to offer customers an extensive selection of dishes to satisfy every possible taste, but this can be extremely demanding in terms of stocking up on supplies and training kitchen staff in so many recipes.

Even worse, a long and convoluted menu can put some customers off if they just feel like something simple. Not to mention, all that time spent turning over menu pages means a longer wait for their order and an increased risk of disappointment if their obscure selection happens to be out of stock.

Unless you have a huge kitchen and chef team behind you, it’s wiser to stick to a manageable list of varied dishes that show off your cooking at its best. Most customers appreciate good value, and when you don’t have to prepare so many different meals at once, you can pass some of the savings on to them.


  1. Ignoring your staff

You’re dedicated to satisfying your customers’ every whim, but don’t forget about the people whose hard work keeps orders and bellies filled.

Making sure every new staff member is fully trained will reduce the risk of problems that can quickly cascade. Maintaining good communication across your business and rewarding hard work with pay rises and other employee benefits will reduce the high turnover rate associated with the industry and help you hold on to talented workers.


  1. Forgetting about licences

You’ve organised your business licence and notified local authorities, but have you got your liquor licence? When diners are looking forward to a great meal paired with the perfect drink, they’re going to be disappointed to hear that your licence is still in the post. You also really don’t want to risk a fine if you’re caught selling wine and beer without one.


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