Running a restaurant is more than just putting out good food and having great service. Many times, unsuccessful restaurants aren’t failing because of their food or service. The failure comes from mistakes made behind the scenes. Here are 9 mistakes to avoid in your restaurant business.
Choosing the Wrong Business Structure – Restaurant owners have a lot to think about when they want to open their own business. Many times some of the most important things are left for last or completely forgotten. Among some of the things that generally get looked over is choosing a business structure. Different legal structures, for example, LLC vs. sole proprietorship, have different implications that could help or hurt your business. Make sure you do your research and choose the entity that best fits your plan.
Not Clearly Defining Responsibilities – Even if you decide to jump into business with a friend or family, responsibilities should be made clear. You don’t want people overstepping their boundaries because that could lead to bigger issues down the road. Take time to figure out what each stakeholder is responsible for. Who’s in charge of paying employees? Who has a say in major business decisions? Who gets the company if things go sour? Looking into the future is important for the present.
Setting Unclear Rules and Regulations – Some of the biggest lawsuits in the restaurant industry come from the mishandling of food. Neglecting to properly train your employees on kitchen and food safety procedures could end up costing you more money than what the few hours of training would have cost you.
Inconsistent Communications – Consistency is key when running social media campaigns for your restaurant. This includes your brand name, logo and tone. Your message and tone should be clear across all social media platforms. You should also be sure to keep the amount and quality of content you put out consistent. If you decide you want to push more or less, then make it a gradual change. Going from one post a week to five posts a week might be overwhelming to your customers following your restaurant’s social media profiles.
Ignoring Your Audience – A social media account is more than just posting images and status updates online. It’s about being social and interacting with people that you generally may not have had the opportunity otherwise. If you have fans of your restaurant that compliment your services or food, reach out to thank them for sharing their opinion. If you see someone with a complaint, let them know that they are being heard and that you will do whatever it is in order to help them.
Staying Humble – Remembering where you came from and what you stand for is great. It adds value to your restaurant and brand. However, you should always give credit where due, and if you got praise for something great, let the world know! Social media is a great place to showcase your delicious dish or awesome staff.
Changing Your Restaurant’s Logo – If social interactions or sales are down, before blaming it on your restaurant’s logo and branding, take the time to fully understand what is happening. Introducing a new mascot isn’t going to solve your problems; especially if the mascot is completely unrelated to your customers and target market. Throwing a new mascot in people’s faces and completely altering the image that your customers are accustomed to is a one-way street. Once you change your logo, you can’t go back; not without it raising a few eyebrows, at least.
Changing Your Restaurant’s Name – Like your logo, the name of your restaurant is important in telling your story and building your brand. You should never change the name of your restaurant just to change it, or because you are tired of the way it sounds when you answer the office phones. Deciding on a name for your business is an art and can be definitive to whatever extent you allow it to be.
Forgetting Market Position – While your target market shouldn’t necessarily define you (you should define it), you should avoid having your restaurant jump from trend to trend as you please. Doing this will not only confuse your customers, but will also confuse your employees. You have to understand that consumers will create an emotional or mental connection to your brand. They have as many needs, if not more, as you and your restaurant. You should know how your business fits into the lives of your target market.
Sometimes mistakes are inevitable, but by avoiding these common mistakes and focusing on your restaurant’s strengths, you’ll put yourself in a good position to run your restaurant as a successful business.
Image courtesy of iosphere/ Freedigitalphotos.com