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The Fundamentals of Running Your Own Restaurant

If you’re now living the dream and running your own restaurant, then it’s safe to say that you’re having an exciting time of late. There’s so much to see and do, and the new ideas feel like they’re coming thick and fast. The secret is to harness that early passion and enthusiasm, and put some simple processes in place that will give your new venture the best possible chance of success.

To give you plenty of food for thought, we’ve put together some hints and tips on how to make your new restaurant the talk of the town. Take 10 minutes, work through them, and then you’ll be well on your way to culinary stardom.

Market Yourself to the Locals

If you want to put people in your seats, you need to be able to offer them something a little bit different from the rest of the eateries in town. Differentiating yourself can feel a little bit daunting, because you might feel like if it’s such a good idea, why isn’t anyone else already doing it? Put those kinds of negative thoughts to one side, and concentrate on what makes you unique. It’s what people will know you for sooner rather than later.

Include Special Offers That Entice People Through the Door

Offering discounts or a free drink is a great way to drum up some early business. You could even stage an event in the town centre on a Saturday afternoon and hand out plenty of taster samples. The key thing here is to remember that you don’t want to offer so much for so little that you end up diluting your brand.

Stick to a strategy and a pricing system that you feel comfortable with, and then be proud of it. Chopping and changing your prices and offers every week will just confuse people. You know your business better than anyone, so convince people that it’s the best place to eat in town by believing in what you do.

Be the Boss by Managing Your Time Effectively

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Now that you’re the boss, there’s going to be a whole load of new demands on your time that you’re going to have to juggle. It’s no use trying to be a jack of all trades and ending up as the master of none. Your new skill is delegation, and you need to practice it every single day.

By handing over tasks to the best people for the job, you can concentrate on running the business as a whole. This avoids every employee’s worst nightmare: the micro-manager. With so many different responsibilities it can be all too easy to fall into this trap, which is why it’s important to step back and delegate when you need to.

Put an Inventory Management System in Place

Managing your inventory is a vital part of being a restaurateur because it’s what ensures you never have to cut corners or reduce standards to meet demand. Order fresh whenever you can, and don’t feel like you need to stockpile processed frozen alternatives in case you sell out of something. Provided you’ve ordered in enough to feed the volume of people you were anticipating, selling out is nothing more than the sign of a busy restaurant.

Instruct your servers that you’ve sold out of something when they seat people, and get them to push less popular dishes that you still have. That way you’ll always be cooking fresh, and there won’t be a microwave in sight.

Take Your Fire Safety Responsibilities Seriously 

Fire safety may be a task that is right near the bottom of your list in the first few weeks, but that needs to change immediately. Fires are a real and genuine risk to life, and far more than something you only see happening to other people on the evening news.

As the owner, you have primary responsibility for the safety of your staff and your customers in the event of a fire. That means you need to be in charge of everything from testing the fire detection system to ensuring you use fireproof ducting as standard – Thor Duct can help you out here. It’s a critically important part of your role, and one you should always treat with the utmost seriousness.

By making health and safety your priority, and making sure your employees are trained and ready for any eventuality, you will not only be showing that you take your job seriously – you will be ensuring that in case something does happen, your team are ready to handle it.

Keep Breathing New Life into Your Menu

In the restaurant world, your menu is your business card. Once you find something that works, it can be all too tempting to stick with it forever and a day, but if you do, you’ll soon see that it’s past its sell-by date.

Any chef worth their salt will be prepared to work with you to continually update the menu to offer seasonal dishes and tried and tested favourites. Keep everything fresh and up to date, and you’ll have the recipe for a restaurant that you can enjoy for the rest of your life.

Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.
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