Think you’ve got what it takes to cut the mustard as a successful café or restaurant owner? We’ve done some digging and found the 10 key ingredients shared by successful restaurateurs.
1. Communication skills
When it comes to running your own hospitality business, effective communication is absolutely vital! Communication creates connections, and that’s exactly how you’ll keep staff at the top of their game, get feedback to keep improving, generate new customers and keep them loyal. Educate and inform your staff, and listen to their grumbles. Get to know your customers on a deeper level. Read between the lines – if the same questions are being asked repeatedly, then you know there’s an information gap not being met.
2. Planning skills
True to the old adage, failing to plan is planning to fail. Take the time to research and plan every single aspect of your business. Even if you’ve been in hospitality before, running your own venture is a whole other ballgame. And don’t think planning is confined to the development phase; it’s something you’ll do continually as your business evolves. This includes contingency planning, like cash flow issues, staff sickness or stock unavailability.
TIP: Use online productivity tools to stay organised. Life Hacker rates Evernote, Trello and Asana.
Running a restaurant is a juggling act with a hundred moving parts. One of the most crucial hospitality skills you’ll need to master is multitasking. It’s important that you can balance all aspects of everyday operations (staff issues, paperwork, suppliers) with the end result, i.e. great food and happy customers. Get the balance right, and you’re on a winner!
Running a food business can be extremely stressful, with multiple priorities competing for your attention simultaneously. To stay in control, you need to list your priorities, assign responsibilities, and delegate where possible. While everyone else is losing their head, you have to be the one to guide them through.
Everyone has a hospitality horror story: a rude waiter, non-existent customer service, or a barely conscious cashier. Negative experiences tend to stick with us more than the positive ones, so don’t let this happen in your establishment. Work hard to create an environment people want to be a part of and where they feel supported. If your staff give off happy, friendly vibes this will rub off on your customers and they’ll want to keep returning.
6. Devotion to Duty
You have to love what you do, otherwise your drive will lag and you’ll start feeling it on your bottom line. Passion is contagious. But if your staff don’t feel the love, you can’t expect them to sustain a great attitude or to go the extra mile for your business if it’s not coming from the top, down. More than that, your customers want to know you care about giving them the best experience possible. You can’t do that without unwavering passion.
Achieving success in the restaurant game doesn’t mean you can just sit back and let things take care of themselves. In order for your business to perform at its best, you as an owner need to be on-site as much as possible. If you’re not, you’re neglecting the important task of getting to know your customers, motivating your staff, and immersing yourself in the everyday running of your business.
It’s unlikely your restaurant concept is completely ground-breaking, so look at what the closest competition is doing and focus on doing something more or different. Work out what is unique about your business. Is it the food, the location, the portions, the cost, the service? Include your point of difference in your business plan. It will make it easier to convince potential customers that trying your venue is a ‘must’.
Can your business run the exact same way when you’re not there, or do things start to slip? You need to put serious thought into how you maintain consistency across your food and beverage offering, customer service and atmosphere. In order for this to really work, you have to get your staff to buy into it, and take a sense of pride from it. You need to be clear so everyone’s on the same page about expectations and what level of service your customers expect.
10. Courage to Dream
Dreams are highly valuable commodities that propel us forward and urge us to do better, be better. Don’t be afraid to dream big and go after what you want!
Here at Silver Chef, we’re determined to help you achieve your hospitality dreams. We were once a small business too remember; one person’s idea that snowballed into something great. Nail these 10 business tips and you’ve got a solid foundation for restaurant success.