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BFS Capital Blog

3 Tips for Restaurant Owners

February 5, 2015

There is no question that people who open their own restaurant have desirable qualities and characteristics. They tend to be very creative, motivated, action-oriented, and are not afraid of a lot of hard work in order to reach their goals.

However, these great traits may not be enough to run a successful business in the food industry.

Start with the Basics

In order for a restaurant to be successful, three major areas must function correctly: operations, finance and marketing. Operations include all the tasks that are necessary to prepare and serve the food menu to customers. Any activities that take place in the kitchen, dining room and bar fall into this category. The financial roles include the safeguarding of cash, cost control, accounting, cash management, and operational and financial reporting. Marketing encompasses a few things: public relations, community involvement, sales and advertising, promotions and brand management. It’s about getting the word out to people and communicating its value to potential customers. Each of these components require adequate attention.

Don’t Just Run a Restaurant; Run a Business

Many restaurant owners are under the false impression that managing a restaurant and focusing on the operational tasks is enough to build a successful business. It’s no secret that a lot of work needs to go into starting a restaurant and keeping it above ground. But oftentimes, restaurant owners get too close to their business and bury themselves in the details of daily operations. Restaurant owners should be able to detach themselves from the day to day responsibilities and focus on things that will move the restaurant in a more significant way. The more dependent a restaurant is on its owner’s operative parts of the restaurant, the higher the chance of failure. This is where many find themselves in trouble. They tend to be the only one around to set up, organize and execute all three functions on top of their 10+ hour work days. Restaurant owners should try to focus less on in-house managing and more on big picture aspects, such as cultivating a culture for employees and re-visualizing the short and long term goals for the business.

Create a Unique Operating System

Like everything else involved with running a successful restaurant, this is no quick and easy task. However, it’s near impossible to build and maintain a successful business without one. A restaurant operating manual will generally include management guidelines for the menu and kitchen, dining room, bar and beverage, employee training, cleanliness and sanitation, safety and security, marketing and promotions, and business and financial aspects, among other topics. There should be detailed checklists and manuals that document and instruct the exact tasks and procedures that need to be executed in order to achieve the desired goals. Documenting every function and procedure can seem tedious and daunting. Breaking the process down into workable sections, beginning with the processes that most directly impact restaurant guests, is the best way to start. Having an organized system will help a restaurant move from startup to profitable. It will provide direction not only for employees, but also for the owner and restaurant as a whole. With this set in place, the owner can now step back from the daily tasks and pay more attention to the overall aspect of the three major areas.

As important as it is for an owner to be a part of his or her restaurant, it’s more important to leave certain demands to others within the business. Establishing a workable system for the employees and restaurant will help detach the owner from the smaller tasks that can take the focus off of the bigger picture, creating a more valuable business.