1) Staff Staff Staff
Recruit the winning team – every business that succeeds claims to have the wining team. Your staff speak directly to and entertain your clientele – they are the face of your company. Imagine if a guest leaves and tells their friends just how great your business is, then imagine the dire consequences of the opposite? I think it was Branson who once said “employ passion and train skill” and let’s be honest, that boy’s done good. It’s all about how our team respond to every situation that they are faced with. Staff can be trained, gain qualifications and learn the tools of their trade, but personal skills are innate and require nurturing and maximising. They are also priceless.
2) Communication is everything
From management to team and in turn from the team to our customers. Everyone needs to be singing from the same page. A clear, concise message ensures a consistent level of service, and in turn that expectations are met, cutting down on complaints and improving feedback.
3) The customer comes first. Always.
By putting customers’ needs first and understanding what they’re looking for, you may find that you gain a reputation as a must go place for gluten free dishes, as a place that accommodates wheelchair users, welcomes new mothers and offers healthy but fun options for children. Listening to customers may also open your eyes to things not being quite right and to improvements which need to be made.
4) Understand your business
Get to know what you’re all about. Find your niche, be proud of what you offer and don’t try to be anything you’re not. Sure, keep a close eye on your market and competitors, but have trust and faith in what you do and how you do it.
Your customers, especially your “fans”, come to you because they love what you do. They may like considering your special daily or seasonal dishes yet order the same thing every time they visit and be disappointed if it’s taken off the menu. Value and respect your staple offerings and have fun with the rest. Look at MacDonalds. Not everyone’s cup of tea, granted, but you go because you know you’re guaranteed a burger and a milkshake. You can’t mess with that!
6) Keep your eye on the detail
It’s essential that your business always looks at its best. By looking after the small details the customer can see just how committed this business is in succeeding. From the attractiveness of cake displays to cleanliness, how your staff are presented to ease of payment, and correct spelling to decent bog roll, it all matters and shows how much you care.
7) Look after your employees
Firstly employ the people who are best fit for your brand and culture. Will they be fun to work with while also taking their work seriously? Will they get on with colleagues and customers? Create opportunities for career development, look into placements and scholarships, and offer internal and external training. Keep staff in the loop. Let them know what’s going on so they feel involved, valued and appreciated. Introduce a training and development programme with associated promotions and rewards. And once in a while, treat your staff to a meal or some drinks and give everyone the chance to let their hair down.
8) Digital technology
Embrace it! Invest in an easy to use website that projects your brand and personality. Optimise it so it can be found easily in a Google search. Take advantage of Facebook as a free promotional tool and Twitter to engage with your customers. Use Instagram to show off your beautiful dishes, happy staff and enticing cocktails.
9) Sweat the asset
Get as many covers in your space without feeling cramped. Offer an enticing menu with as few ingredients as possible, avoiding spoilage and wastage. Live by the mantra of reduce, reuse, recycle. Keep your business open for as long as it’s profitable – you can’t make money if it’s closed, but neither do you want to be open and racking up bills when there’s no or little custom. Use space imaginatively – can you set up tables outside, or turn office space into a private dining area and ask staff to hot desk?
10) Plan ahead
Never get complacent. Things might be ticking along nicely now, but what if the big office around the corner which provides so much of you lunch time custom suddenly closes? What if a key supplier goes out of business? What will you do if one of your key managers suddenly leaves? Expand. Diversify. Have a contingency plan. Be loyal without keeping all your eggs in one basket. Know what you want to do and how you’ll get there. Know how you’ll know when you’ve got there. Then go for it!
Victus Consultancy can help restauranteurs and their teams achieve their potential. We guide, advise and support new, budding and more experienced restauranteurs, helping with all elements of your business, such as allergens, staff training & development, menu offering and pricing, licensing and compliance.