By Mike Green, owner of Customer Impact
People ask me all the time for the keys to success in the restaurant business, like it is some deep, dark hidden secret. Like most problems, I think the answers are actually quite simple.
Location, location, location is obvious, but I have found that in order for restaurants to succeed long term, they MUST also excel in at least two of the three following areas.:
1) Customer service
2) Food quality and
3) Great atmosphere.
Decor is important in restaurant success
If you are only good at one of three of those areas, you are doomed to struggle and will eventually fail. Restaurants can succeed and be profitable if they can excel in at least two of those three areas. That is the category most restaurants fall into. To truly be a success, restaurants must consistently excel in all three areas. That operation is truly rare, but if accomplished, they will be very profitable and have long term sustainable success.
The reason all three keys are hard to hit is that most restaurant owners seem to fall into two areas; they are either chefs who have become owners or past waiters or restaurant managers who have now moved up to ownership. The chef owners typically put all of their energy and efforts into their menu and food, but usually struggle with the front of the house service and customer service. The past restaurant managers usually have service that shines, but a menu and food quality that is missing the mark.
A great atmosphere seems to be the easiest of the three keys to accomplish, but typically falls behind food and service in importance. Some concepts are lucky enough to be located in areas where the atmosphere is already built in through the area, weather, naturally great views, etc. However, most operators have to design and decorate their restaurants, and more often than not, that is an area owners have no experience in. They often skimp on hiring an architect or interior designer, as the costs are often prohibitive. A WOW atmosphere can actually be the hardest of the three keys to accomplish.
How many of these key success factors does your restaurant excel at? If you need help evaluating any of these criteria for your restaurant or business, please contact us.
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