Restaurant tips to ensure your success

Running a restaurant is not a walk in the park. Yes, you’ll come across people who will say: “If this was my restaurant, this is how I’d run the show.” But it’s easier said than done. The restaurant industry is notorious for being competitive, risky and a low-margin venture. But I’m not here to bore you with facts you already know. This blog is here to help you use restaurant tips to overcome a few common restaurant challenges.

Provide a consistent service

Consistency is an important factor in a restaurant business, it is the key to long-term success. It doesn’t matter that you own the coolest bar in Jozi, or the hottest new cafe on the block, providing consistency will ultimately determine your success over time. There are two things a restaurant needs to be consistent with – the food and the service.

Patrons who frequent restaurants do so because they probably have a favourite dish. Imagine if one day that “favourite dish” tasted different, would they go back? There is no way to be certain, but can you take that risk?

The key to consistent food lies in:

  • Standard recipes: This will ensure that the meals taste similar even when you get a new chef.
  • Solid kitchen procedures: Procedures must be rigorously implemented from line cooks to executive chefs.
  • Proper staff training: There’s no need to reiterate this point.
  • Consistent suppliers: The taste of food will differ from one supplier to the next. Changing this factor will change the delivery of your food. You need to give your patrons the opportunity to get used to your food.

With regard to service, your patrons expect it to be consistent – they don’t like surprises. Offering a consistent service entails uniformity in speed, quality and courtesy in delivering this service regardless of time and occasion. Patrons do not care if you are “a little busy” today. A well-organised restaurant will have things covered. In essence, do not inconvenience anyone. If consistency seems impossible to maintain, it might be time to rethink what steps must be taken to make it more achievable.

Listen to your patrons

You have to keep in mind that a restaurant is a business and that it offers a product or service. If it’s not to the satisfaction of your clientele, then you’re going to feel the pinch. Make it easy for customers to provide feedback. Often, restaurants will leave a rate card with the bill. You can offer surveys to patrons, respond on social media, or just talk to them.

If you want to offer something new on the menu, always test it first. Tell patrons it’s an “experimental dish” and encourage them for their feedback. Paul Kovensky has successfully established an array of contemporary Cape Town restaurants on the Atlantic Seaboard, but things weren’t always peachy for him. He warns aspiring restaurateurs to respond to the specific demands of the audience. When he first opened Pepenero, he had the idea of it being a fine-dining establishment, but patrons didn’t respond to it.

“I decided to change the offering, and seeing it transform overnight from being relatively quiet to pumping was incredible!” he says.

Put your trust in state-of-the-art software

Point of sale software takes care of so many challenges in a single sweep. It easily cuts the time spent on tedious administrative tasks:

Keep orders coming in: When the phone line is too busy, patrons can still book a table online. Multiple touchpoints ensure that you do not lose customers.

Enhanced marketing capabilities: PoS solutions also offer marketing capabilities, given that you can establish a database of your customers. It’s intelligent enough to figure out which dishes are doing well so you can better cater to your patrons.

Theft prevention: When inventory, kitchen orders, and payments are all integrated via your PoS, you have a clear view of everything to ensure that every item of inventory tracks to a sale.

Business intelligence: PoS software can produce reliable reports to help you make important decisions based on actual figures rather than resorting to a gut feeling.

Track inventory: Modern PoS software can track your shipments directly and update inventory in real time as items are ordered off the menu. When items are close to depletion, you can stock up again. This eliminates wastage.

Perhaps running a restaurant is harder because it requires more than solid business skills and the willingness to work hard. It requires business sense, passion, persistence and the ability to balance your life inside and outside your restaurant. We understand this better than anyone.

Read our brochure, Why Choose Pilot to understand why you should Include our PoS software in your business growth plan.

Author: Rudi Badenhorst