According to Statista, there are more than 1 million restaurants in the U.S., employing 13.5 million people. Yet even before the damage wreaked upon the industry by the COVID-19 pandemic, opening a restaurant was a risky endeavor.
- A joint study conducted by Cornell University and Michigan State University found that 27% of restaurants fail in their first year of operation, 50% go out of business before they reach their third anniversary, and 70% fail to last 10 years.
- According to FSR Magazine, heightened competition in the restaurant industry leads to lower prices, yet food expenses and the cost of hiring, training, and employing restaurant workers continues to go up.
- According to Morningstar, the preferences of restaurant patrons are changing more rapidly than ever, making it more challenging than ever for restaurant owners to adjust to their customers’ ever-evolving tastes.
Despite these and other challenges, most restaurants are able to thrive, not just survive. If you’re considering the launch of a new eatery, you have to ask yourself, what does it take to open a restaurant? And what are the traits of successful restaurant owners? Here’s a quick look at five characteristics of restaurateurs who have met the challenges and came out on top.
What Does It Take to Open a Restaurant? It Starts With a Winning Idea
Identify the concept that will attract your target clientele and provide them with a unique experience:
- Spread the concept through all aspects of the restaurant, large and small, to give your customers a consistent environment.
- Extend your idea years into the future so you’re prepared to adapt in response to changes in circumstances and customer preferences. Learn from the techniques that restaurants use to keep operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Form relationships with business partners.
- Make plans to participate in events and promotions.
- Determine the best technology infrastructure for your restaurant, one that integrates online and in-house operations and boosts profitability by automating many manual tasks.
A good idea is only truly great if it has short and long term sustainability.
Successful Restaurants Plan for the Short Term and Long Term
Every business starts with an idea but can’t take off without a solid business plan that covers the core functions of the restaurant:
- Information about your market, customers, and revenue streams
- Complete descriptions of the products and services your restaurant will offer
- The daily activities and resources required to keep the restaurant running
- The people, knowledge, and partners necessary to operate the restaurant
Today’s cloud-based POS systems serve as the network that connects every aspect of managing a restaurant. The system collects and analyzes the sales, marketing, and other data that serves as the foundation for your business plan. Other areas managed by the POS software are inventory tracking, employee scheduling, and customer relationship management.
Successful Restaurateurs Know How to Assemble a Winning Team
The key to putting a restaurant staff together is to find talented people who share your mission:
- Identify the roles and responsibilities of the staff, from chefs to servers, including standard work hours and the specific duties of each position.
- Determine the role you want to play and the roles that will be taken by others. For example, a chef-owner will likely need to hire a restaurant manager to run the front house. It can be a mistake to take on too many roles.
- Start looking for managers before hiring line workers. You build the restaurant culture one brick at a time, so it’s best to start by finding one or two managers who share your vision. They’ll be instrumental in communicating the culture to line employees through their behavior.
But as the owner of the restaurant, you’ll really need to create a working environment that leads and inspires.
Successful Restaurateurs Are Able to Lead and Inspire
Having a passion for food, a strong work ethic, an eye for detail, and super organizational skills are all traits of successful restaurateurs, but truly great restaurants are the result of founders who lead and inspire their employees:
- Employees look to the restaurant owner for enthusiasm, excitement, and the desire to succeed. You can demonstrate your passion by sharing your knowledge and skills with employees.
- Running a restaurant requires teaching skills that ensure employees learn the proper way to do their jobs. Even workers with years of experience at other restaurants need to learn your establishment’s way of doing things.
- It’s just as important to establish personal connections with customers by listening to them and learning about what they like and dislike. Be prepared to adjust your menu, marketing, and other operations in response to the market.
But ensuring the ultimate success of your restaurant will come down to managing your budget and allocating costs effectively.
Successful Restaurateurs Understand Budgeting and Cost Controls
Restaurants rely on fresh inventory but are also focused on keeping a tight lid on costs. The most efficient way to track inventory in real-time is by using a POS system that integrates inventory tracking with all other operations of the restaurant:
- The systems support unit tracking and variable pricing so products that arrive in bulk can be captured more accurately for inventory purposes.
- Restaurant orders are tracked automatically from multiple stations and sources, and the business’ resource use can be broken down into greater detail to spot areas that may be sources of waste.
- Restaurants can track all discounts, product bundles, refunds, and incentives to make customer interactions more personal and deliver an experience that customers will remember.
There’s no single path to success as a restaurant owner. Your approach to running the business will be as unique as your restaurant’s concept and your customers’ experience. One thing all restaurateurs have in common is their reliance on knowledgeable partners to help make their restaurant vision a reality. They also appreciate the importance of taking advantage of technology so they can run their business as efficiently as possible.
What does it take to open a restaurant? When you partner with talech for your restaurant technology needs, we devote our time to identify your business challenges. We use this information to work with you to apply an innovative POS solution that levels the playing field.
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