Too many restaurants fall by the wayside because they are too internally focussed and fail to put in place a business growth strategy.
Whether you believe in developing new year’s resolutions or not, the first few months of the year are an important time to take a step back from the day to day operations and management of your restaurant, to lay out a strategic plan for growth.
With this in mind, I’ve focused on 7 high priority resolutions to boost your restaurant’s bottom line along with the specific how-to’s — so you have a powerful action plan, to keep yourself accountable. Let’s get started!
1. Get Team Buy-In
A review of the year gone by with your team is a great place to start. Hold a meeting and engage with your staff. Where do they think the customer experience can be improved? What ideas do they have to market the restaurant? Where do they think revenue can be uplifted? Where do they think costs can be saved?
By involving the whole team, not only do you affirm their role as a crucial part of your restaurant and boost motivation, you receive 360 degrees feedback on every aspect of the business and most crucially you get everyone’s “buys in” to your plans for spearheading growth in the New Year.
2. Size Up The Business
To be able to create a strategic plan to grow your restaurant, you need to take an incisive look at last year’s financials and management data.
Did you set budgets and goals last year for your restaurant and were these achieved? If not, what challenges did you face that prevented you from doing so?
Look at your food and beverage costs, gross margins, sales mix analysis, staff costs, inventory management, waste reports and other aspects of your business.
Get a breakdown of where the business performed best in terms of lunch, dinner, deliveries, upsells, repeat custom, private events and any other revenue streams.
Analyse marketing spend and reports to identify what worked and what didn’t. Try and use marketing data to drill down to who your ideal customer is in terms of demographics, interests and spending patterns. Arming yourself with this information will create an incisive growth strategy for the year ahead.
3. Re-evaluate Your Restaurant’s Brand
Very few restaurants are now able to survive on good food alone. One lesson that independent restaurants can learn from their branded competitors is that people buy into a dining experience, of which food is just one part.
When people eat out they are looking an escape from the mundane; you need to create an experience around your restaurant that encapsulates your restaurant’s vision, cuisine, décor, service style, ambience, music, even the attire of your staff.
Work with a restaurant branding company to create a brand that will seduce your diners’ senses and will give your restaurant tangible appeal and differentiation, a distinctive visual identity. This investment is a sure way to keep diners coming back for more and spending more.
4. Improve your digital presence
The chances are that your restaurant already has a website, but how much business is it generating for you? The vast majority of restaurant websites that I see do little to evoke the unique cuisine and ambience of their restaurant and fail to ENTICE new diners to make a booking.
This is one of the biggest areas where restaurants leave money on the table; every aspect of your marketing from word of mouth to social media, will filter through your website, to convert interest into bookings, so why not invest in a website that is an active business tool rather than a passive online brochure?
A powerful restaurant website will evoke your restaurant’s brand, have persuasive well-worded copy, feature stunning imagery, will be primed to rank well in Google and will align with and empower every aspect of your marketing.
5. Refocus On Marketing
Now is the time to refocus on marketing and I’m not just thinking of digital marketing. Start off with investing in stunning print collateral that can be distributed in your local area. Team up with local businesses like hotels, schools, theatres and co-working spaces to drive diners to your restaurant.
Start outreach to local bloggers and Instagrammers who you’d love to feature your food. Monetise your email database and social media following by promoting meal deals, special events and seasonal menus.
Run competitions that will build your mailing list. Invest in a search engine marketing campaign so that diners other than passers-by, can find your restaurant.
Restaurant marketing is not an expense, it is an investment that yields a high return on investment when it’s intelligently thought out and implemented.
6. Diversify Revenue Streams
Does your restaurant’s revenue revolve solely around lunch, and dinner trade? If so, you could be missing out on significant sources of additional revenue.
Many consumers snack between meals and adapting to this trend will see incremental increases in revenue. Off-peak service add-ons could include a tapas menu, a scaled back late night menu, a breakfast menu and of course a grab and go offering.
Catering is a lucrative revenue stream that you can also tap into and doesn’t necessarily involve hiring additional kitchen space and staff. In fact, catering can provide additional revenue during times when your kitchen is being underutilised.
Depending on your restaurant’s catchment area, your catering services can include boxed lunches, office platters, corporate events, birthday parties, and wedding receptions.
This article presents a mere snapshot of some of the strategies and ideas you can choose to adopt, to create revenue growth for your restaurant. There are so many more that I would love to share with you.
If you’d like to discuss how any of the ideas in this article can be used to grow your restaurant or if you’d like me and my team work with you on a growth strategy for your restaurant – drop me an email on Rahul@futurarestaurantmarketing.com or call us on 020 7993 4477.