Four Key Areas to Improving Your Restaurant
Keeping things fresh in your restaurant can be difficult, but by focusing on these four key areas, you can turn around your business and start improving cash flow today.
Managing a restaurant, of any size these days, is a constant juggling act of service and quality, with success being determined by word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews from your patrons. It’s one of the few industries that we, at American Management Services, refer to as a Hybrid Business, because it involves manufacturing (turning raw materials into finished products), retailing, and service.
If you own one of the 600,000+ independent restaurants in the United States, and you’re starting to see cash flow dry up in your business, here are four key areas to look at:
- Portion Control: Managing the amount of food that goes on a plate is a delicate balance of determining what’s beneficial to your bottom line, and what will make customers happy. Mastery over portion control is one of the reasons why chain restaurants have become so successful over the years, and if you’re struggling to consistently manage portions in your business, it’s time to look at how you’ve trained and managed your kitchen staff.Make sure the kitchen staff understands the correct serving utensils and dishes to use when plating. Using pictures to show the end product will not only help in gauging the portions, but also help with keeping consistency with your presentation.
- Menu Pricing: Your menu is the driving factor in bringing people through the door, and making sure that you’ve properly priced it is mandatory to success. To start determining your best pricing, divide the cost of your raw food items by your ideal food cost percentage, which normally ranges between 25-30%. Based on the number you get, use your best judgement in rounding up or down to establish menu pricing that fits your goals and will be palatable.
- Staff & Service Training: Service is king, and in the restaurant business you cannot lose sight of its importance. Hospitality is what will make your customers feel welcomed, and will keep bringing them back.Make sure you are not only training your staff in how they should be representing your business, but also lead by example by actively engaging with customers. Not only will it provide you an observational platform, it will also drive employees to deliver better service, and will create a personal relationship between you and your customers.
- Scheduling: Take a moment to break down your shifts and staff-performance the next time you’re writing out the schedule. Are you getting the most out of it? Are you keeping the restaurant properly staffed during peak hours, and also providing opportunities to keep employees satisfied? Consider developing an incentive system that drives higher ticket sales.
Running a business, especially a restaurant, is hard work, and in my experience if you are not in it to win every minute of every day, you will fail.