Whether you’ve been in business for less than a year or you’ve occupied a corner in your city for decades, it’s never a bad idea to take a close look at ways your business can improve.
Recent events have changed quite a bit of how your business might be running: several restaurants have had to take a close look at how they serve their customers, switching their focus from indoor dining to take-out and delivery options. This has proved a viable strategy for restaurants of all kinds, as it allows customers to enjoy their services safely even as things slowly begin to return to normal. Plus, with the day-to-day normal being so different after almost two years, customers have adapted to a completely different lifestyle, and have now come to expect different things from the establishments they frequent.
It’s always been hard to open a restaurant successfully, to stand out amongst the competition, get a loyal base of frequent diners, and produce food that’s top-quality in a cost-effective manner. It takes grit and determination to take a restaurant from a dream to a culinary enterprise, and the challenges brought about by the new year only put a more complex twist on challenges that were already prevalent in the industry.
If you want your restaurant to survive, you have to be prepared to adapt, and fortunately, there are already many who have, whose examples you can follow to serve your customers an entirely new, high-quality experience that caters to their needs.
Let’s talk about what you can do to revamp your restaurant, putting customers in seats and orders out the door.
Invest in New Tools and Appliances
If you’re interested in bumping up business, the first thing you might want to do is invest in new kitchen equipment, from new appliances that your chefs can use effortlessly to cutting-edge tools that make your staff’s lives easier. Tools like new sets of knives, cream-dispensing devices for desserts, egg yolk separators, vegetable slicers, meat tenderizers, and even top-of-the-line cleaning supplies can help your chefs produce Michelin-star quality food while not having to work quite as hard.
New appliances are a much heftier investment, but one that might be needed if your chefs get mixed results from their current tools: ovens that don’t heat properly or grills that don’t light are of no use to anyone and will actually slow down your service on busy nights. You can also consider investing in large-scale upgrades, like new walk-in freezers to hold more ingredients or new dishwashing machines to help the people in the dish pit get through busy services.
Reconfigure Your Operations
When opening your restaurant, you might have had a different idea of how your day-to-day operations would work: hours and a location that accounted for people being out and about, limited take-out options because you expected customers to dine in, no partnerships with delivery services (because why involve a third-party company in the success of your restaurant?), etc. However, the way things have changed, there’s a new status quo that most restaurants are finding themselves having to live by: people don’t eat indoors as much, preferring instead to take food home or get it delivered.
As such, you might want to consider expanding the scale of your take-out operations, adding kitchen space specifically for take-out orders, and creating order pickup areas or drive-thru’s to expedite the delivery of such orders. Also, evaluate the benefits of partnering with a delivery service; they can create an influx of orders that you wouldn’t get otherwise. With the infrastructure to support it, that influx of orders won’t put pressure on the kitchen. Try to consider ways that customers can take home a branded experience as well, with customizable take-out boxes and utensils.
The times change, and business owners must find a way to change with them. From getting delivery services involved and ramping up your take-out operations to investing in new tools for your kitchen, you’ll find that making these changes now will better prepare you for the challenges of the coming years. The new normal isn’t going anywhere, and with the right planning, neither are you.