By Kelly Boudreau
If you are thinking about operating your own restaurant, there are a number of obstacles that you are going to have to overcome. People in the restaurant industry know that it can be extremely hard work and even when you are doing everything right, things can still go wrong. The first step is to understand the challenges that are going to come up and know how to avoid them. If you start like this you have a much better chance at success.
Ask restaurant owners what their biggest challenge is and you may get several different answers. For some, it will be retaining skilled servers and cooks. Hiring quality staff is a major concern in the restaurant industry. Pay is one of the issues but so is the type of benefits that you offer as a restaurant owner. Health insurance, sick time and vacation pay are also very critical needs that your employees will be looking for. In order to keep the highest quality and most skilled staff you will have to offer them a competitive package of benefits.
One of the other great challenges that comes with operating a restaurant goes hand in hand with worker retention and that is controlling costs. Since most restaurants operate on very tight margins, it may not be possible to provide a complete package of benefits. Controlling costs means examining every business expenditure that you make and looking for ways to save. Employee costs along with purchasing supplies will eat up most of your budget so you must be prudent. Waste is one area in a kitchen that can absolutely sink a new restaurant. Preparing food improperly or having food spoil before it can be served will add unnecessary expenses to your bottom line that reduce your profits.
Another challenge every restaurant faces is how to get people into their dining room. Restaurant marketing is very difficult and there is a great deal of debate over which type of advertising is most effective. Newspaper ads have lost their effectiveness because not many people even read the paper any more. Television ads are very expensive and don’t necessarily reach the people you are after. Direct mail is one of the best options along with door to door circulars. Those will at least find their way into the hands of people who are close to your restaurant. If you offer a special to get them in the door and deliver a satisfying meal when they come, odds are they will be coming back. One of the newest and most effective marketing tools is social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other varieties of social media are not just for fun but can really improve your business. Post new specials on facebook or tweet about your latest promotion to all of your followers. Social media is an effective way to communicate with the public especially the younger generations about your restaurant and improve business.
Before opening a restaurant make sure you consider each of these obstacles and how you can overcome them. A prepared restaurateur is a successful restaurateur.
About the Author: Kelly Boudreau represents Restaurant Solutions, Inc., a