While there are many factors that are important in the success of any restaurant, five factors are essential. Not only do these guidelines assure success, failure to meet any one of them may be fatal to your fledgling enterprise.
Prompt, friendly interaction with customers establishes the foundation of an enjoyable experience for your customers. Train staff to remember “ABC” in any situation: Always Be Courteous. Regard problems as a challenge to meet, not as a disruption to routine. Take complaints seriously, and address problems as soon as they are discovered.
One of the most disruptive conditions in the restaurant business is high turnover among kitchen staff. There is a learning curve in both preparation, and presentation of your menu items. Hire good people; train them well; let them know how important they are. While adequate pay is important, intangibles such as expressing appreciation for a job well done, and making sure that unpleasant tasks are assigned fairly will inspire loyalty and minimize costly turnover.
There are many factors to consider in menu planning: freshness, flavor, current food fashion, and attractive presentation. On the practical side, you also need to consider cost, preparation time, and potential waste. Developing a few unique items can help set your restaurant apart from competitors. A favorite family dessert, or Aunt Gertrude’s Secret Recipe Salad Dressing can have customers coming back for more.
While most customers don’t see behind the scenes to know whether or not your kitchen harbors dirty little secrets, a dirty kitchen poses health and safety hazards, and can negatively impact employee morale. Most Health Department violations are a matter of public record, and can be a source of bad publicity for months after violations have been corrected. The only thing worse than a Health Department violation, is the potential financial liability for a food-borne illness affecting one or more customers.
Finally, the overall appearance of public areas are vital to success. Plumbing leaks in bathrooms, or cracks in sheetrock on dining room walls creates a bad impression. Fresh, clean decor affirms the impression of fresh, clean food. Attention to detail in maintaining the overall appearance of your restaurant indicates that you pay attention to detail with the menu as well.
Opening a new restaurant can be an exciting experience. By paying close attention to these basic success factors, you can overcome the many challenges that often follow.