Thinking about opening up a restaurant? Or maybe improving the one you already opened? It is true that the restaurant industry is very competitive. In fact, many new joints don’t make it past the first-year mark. It can be hard to build a reliable customer base once the shine of being the new kid on the block has worn off.
What being said, there are definitely some steps you can take to vastly improve your chances of success. If you have been wondering what makes a restaurant successful, here are some of the trademark qualities of successful restaurants.
1. A clear concept
People want to know what they are getting themselves into and should easily be able figure out what you’re trying to accomplish after spending just a few minutes in your establishment. Before determining exactly what this is, ask yourself a few key questions.
For example, do you want to target tourists or people who live in the area? Are you going for a family-friendly vibe or upscale dining? Knowing what you want your place to be is the first step to restaurant success.
2. A great chef
Many people will tell you what makes a restaurant successful will rest in the chefs you hire, and this is totally true. A great restaurant needs a great chef, plain and simple. This is not the place to skimp on quality, so make sure that you hire a chef who boasts many years of experience in preparing the kind of dishes you’re looking to serve.
If your chef has a good local reputation, even better. Chefs are like superstars and people go to a particular restaurant because of the person in charge in the kitchen. In fact, a major selling point is if there are Michelin star chefs working in the restaurants, which is a guaranteed marker for success.
3. Location, location, location
Another heavy hitter, the location of your restaurant also hugely important in determining the success of your business. Before committing to a place, visit as many locations as possible to find the best possible fit.
Once you know the area you want to open in, talk to local people about what they are missing when they want to enjoy going to a restaurant. Ideally you want to be located in a fairly busy area with plenty of parking space.
4. Money in the bank
If you start off successfully, it can be easy to spend all the profits reinvesting in your business or enjoying your success. Not so fast though. You should be saving some of that money for the road ahead.
Keep in mind that most restaurants start well but face a financial crunch in off seasons when customers disappear. There, it is advisable to plan your capital expenses months in advance. So, don’t allow yourself to be carried away by the initial success. Let your business settle and spend your reserved funds cautiously in the meantime.
5. A memorable logo
Every successful restaurant needs to be represented by a unique logo. You need something that will stick in people’s minds when they see it on your street signs, advertisements, billboards, newspapers, business cards, websites, menu card and elsewhere.
Remember that the role of a logo runs deep, it helps you build a trustworthy brand image of your restaurant business. Skip any cliched elements like a chef’s hat or plate. Go for a memorable design that helps in building a solid customer base.
6. A unique menu
Focus on what you know you do well and keep it simple, delicious, and add your own unique twist. All too often you find menus with page after page of offerings. Too many choices leave people feeling overwhelmed and suspicious that you don’t really know what you’re good at.
If you’re going for general appeal, offer a few meat choices, a few vegetarian dishes, and that’s it.
7. A great menu card
Speaking of nailing your menu choices, don’t forget about the visual appeal of the card itself either. When people visit your restaurant, the first thing they come across with is your restaurant menu card. A really well-designed menu card has the ability to speak a lot about your restaurant business.
You want to ensure that the pricing and dishes are neatly categorized and that you use a mix of images and text in a way that it looks unique to the diners.
8. A social media presence
What makes a restaurant successful will be tied to your online marketing efforts. Even if social media is something you tend to shun, if you’re planning on opening a restaurant, it is time to get on board. It may once have been the future of marketing. Now, it’s just basic marketing.
Get a Facebook or Instagram account set up for your restaurant where you can post fun pictures, promotions and build a loyal online community.
9. A reliable and friendly waitstaff
The waitstaff at your restaurant can make or break the business. You need to focus on creating a crew of fun-to-be-around workers to ensure that customers have a positive experience and keep coming back for more. Most people dining out are looking for an experience and expect to be engaged by the people serving them.