You have fulfilled your long-time dream of owning your own business and you are receiving a warm reception from the local community, but you know you need to keep growing to remain vital. Not every path way to new growth has to require a lot of money. You just need to be creative and keep all your options open.
So if you want to grow your restaurant business, what should your next steps be? Here are ten tips for growing your restaurant business in 2017. Adopting even just a few of these can make a big difference.
Surround yourself with experts
Especially if you are new to the restaurant game, there is a lot you are probably still unsure about when it comes to your business. You need to know so much more than just food to run a restaurant business. So if you are not an expert at marketing for example, what should you do? By surrounding yourself with leading experts in the restaurant industry, you will get the support and advice you need to grow your restaurant. Networking sites are a great place to start. Look for restaurant associations to join.
Connect with customers on social media
As a business owner, it is so important for you to have a social media presence. If you are not comfortable doing it yourself, then hire a social media strategist to maintain your social media channels for you. If you haven’t done so already set up an account on Facebook, Twitter and at least one other social media channel like Pinterest or Snapchat and use them to post pictures of your dishes and to let your customers know about upcoming events and specials. Encourage your customers to like your page and share it will all your friends. You will be pleasantly surprised by the power of social media.
Always think outside the box
The restaurant business can be very cut-throat. If you own a pizza shop, you know there are a whole bunch of other pizza shops just in your area clamoring for the same customers so you need to make sure that your place stands out among the rest. You can’t just rely on the status quo of what all pizza shops do. Innovation in food, technology, restaurant design and customer service can all help put your personal stamp on your restaurant.
Add a food truck
One smart way to expand without the expense and hassle of opening up a new location is to buy or rent a food truck. You can take some of your specialty dishes out on the road to meet new people and get the word out more on your restaurant. Your food truck can be taken to outdoor festivals and set up at local college campuses and shopping malls. As the popularity of your food truck grows, you will start to see more customers show up at your restaurant as well. The possibilities are endless.
Collaborate with other businesses2
When you partner with another business for an event or a promotion, not only can you share resources, but you also get a chance to reach out to new potential customers. For example, if you are a vegan restaurant then you might want to partner with your local gym or fitness club. Or if you have a bar, maybe collaborate with a local brewery. By combining forces, you will be able to do so much more.
Reward your loyal customers
Returning customers are a sign that you are doing something right and you want them to keep coming back and to bring their friends and families. To reward them, offer special incentives like discount coupons, special happy hours and other special events. Thank them for choosing you.
Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture
Don’t get overwhelmed by all the little details. Keep the bigger picture in mind. Have an overall vision for your restaurant. What is the décor? The atmosphere? How will you present the food? How do you want customer-staff interaction to look like? Allow your overall vision guide your every decision to keep you on the right track.
Build your A-Team
Besides good food, the other indispensable ingredient for a successful business is a high-performing staff. Both on the floor, in the kitchen and in the back office, you will want to build a team that believes in your vision and will work hard alongside of you. You need a team you can count on and delegate to. With a restaurant, the work is never done so you need a team that is skilled in their position and hard workers.
Focus on what makes you unique
If sustainability is really important to you, then make it a platform for your restaurant. If you pride yourself on providing everything farm to table, then emphasize that in your marketing and social outreach. Focus on what makes you unique and you will draw in people who share similar values.
Make good food a priority
While it is a no-brainer that for your restaurant to be successful, you need to have great food, sometimes quality can fly out the window when you are trying to stay within a budget or rushing food out of the kitchen. Always be in the kitchen experimenting with ingredients to get your dishes to as close as perfect as possible. And don’t forget to try new dishes as well. You want to keep tantalizing your customers’ taste buds.
Don’t underestimate a hard day’s work
Of course none of this will work if you are not willing and able to work hard. Running your own business can seem like a thankless job of long hours, lots of stress and little downtime so it is important to never let go of your vision and to keep on trucking. If you are only half way invested in this business, then it will never grow like you want it too.
You don’t need a lot of extra money to grow your restaurant business. Consider some of these tips for growing your business in 2017.