The 8 Critical Characteristics Found in the Most Successful Restaurant’s Operations and Marketing

It’s time for a change! Would you agree? Change can be a difficult thing for most everyone, including restaurant owners, especially during economically challenging times. Yet, if you are not seeing the results that you want to be seeing from the things you are doing… change is what you need to do. Just a bit of change can make a lot of difference. A lot of people make excuses for where they are, but in order to overcome the struggles, you need to climb over the hurdles and take responsibility for your actions. It’s imperative in order to have success. In order to make changes, you need different actions, different thoughts, different resources and different tools. You want fresh food in your restaurant… you need fresh ideas too. Make a fresh start!

TAKE ACTION ON THE RIGHT ACTIVITIES. A great idea without action is just still a an idea. It can not make money for you. Choose one idea to start with and start moving forward with the action. Don’t worry about making a decision; you can always make adjustments. But doing nothing is the usually the worst thing you can do. Learn from your mistakes and make changes. By taking actions on the right activities, you will see success!

INVEST IN, CREATE AND USE SYSTEMS TO REPEAT PROCESSES Don’t do everything yourself. You can delegate duties and measure responses. Make a list of all the things that you spend your time on that recur day-to-day or month-to-month. Pick the ones that use up the most amount of your valuable time. Develop a system and delegate or outsource these things. Base it on how much you want to earn in a year. If someone else can do it at a lesser cost, use that resource. You can’t focus on minimum wage activities (slicing, dicing, chopping) and expect to make big money on the other end. You should be managing the system, not being so wrapped up in the restaurants system that you’re a key part of it.

GUESTS, NOT CUSTOMERS At our restaurants, we want people to feel like family or friends visiting our home and to receive that extreme special warmth of hospitality while there. Stop looking at folks who dine at your restaurant as a one-time transaction, and instead start building an ongoing relationship. When guests have a WOW experience at your restaurant, they will tell at least 5 other people and at least one of them will become a loyal guest. Just that bit of a change from customer to guest can make a huge difference in the way people visiting your restaurant will feel. Your employees will feel the difference as well. Developing this on-going relationship and history keeps your guests wanting to come back to your restaurant.

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS This means for every important part of your business. Your restaurants operations numbers, financials and marketing as well as having a way to measure your guests’ experience will help you know how your restaurant rates. Keep a customer database so you can market to your existing, loyal guests. Reward them for their loyalty and have a feedback system in place to see what your guests are thinking. Let your marketing numbers speak for themselves. Cost can become irrelevant if it brings in more than you’re shelling out!

THE MASTER OF MEMORABLE DINING EXPERIENCES If you are working in the operations of your restaurant to be sure everything flows smoothly, then you are placing yourself into the payroll as another employee. You may have many roles that you do, but you certainly can not make the money that you were expecting to make if you are doing a job that you shouldn’t be doing. You must work ON your business instead of IN your business. Once you are doing that well, you need to create a memorable dining experience. This is more than just experiencing dining. What is a memorable dining experience you may ask? Most likely you yourself have been on the receiving side of this once or twice in your life. It’s when you get that Totally Outrageous Service, that over the top every detail taken care of and the connection with the restaurant and/or their staff. Maybe they toured your children through the restaurant when you and your spouse were dining, maybe it was the spot on service, or the way they made you feel when you were leaving and all you thought about was “I don’t want to go”. It comes in many forms and when you have created a memorable dining experience for your guests, you have created raving fans which will drive the income that you expect to receive.

THE IMPORTANCE OF DIRECT RESPONSE MARKETING TO YOUR GUESTS Much of your time, energy, resources and focus need to be put into becoming a better restaurant marketer by creating systematized, measurable marketing. Figure out what you would say to convince someone to dine at your restaurant rather than any other option… and put it in print. Having your guests return and refer friends is the way you can see some of your marketing strategies start to work. Direct response marketing, the type of marketing that makes people take action and respond, needs to be employed in every marketing piece you create. Using the direct response techniques that I use will easily double, triple or even quadruple the average response to any marketing or advertisement. You should figure out ways to make sure your messages evoke a response. Marketing to your restaurant guests creates a relationship that will help you succeed… growing that relationship will grow your success too.

GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE! Become part of a mastermind group where you network with forward thinkers and share ideas regularly, where you can ask questions, get opinions and move forward. Get your staff involved also. When they see the increases in sales and their own personal profit, they too will want to become more involved because it impacts them as well. Constantly look and listen for what your guests want. Keep in touch with what’s happening in the industry locally and in other parts of the country. Trade publications and discussion forums can both be a great source. If you feel stuck in a rut, look at your surroundings and join a group of others who will help you move forward. Virtually all top achievers know that to really get ahead…you’ve got to have a coach. Seek out someone that is advanced in the areas you want to excel and engage them to help you succeed as well.

PROFIT THINKING can often lead to change. The people that are most successful are the ones that will change with the times. If you are still thinking of your restaurant in the same way that you did 5, 10 or 20 years ago, you need to stop limiting yourself, your restaurant and your guests! There are many ways to think about, in which your guests want to purchase food and experience a wonderful dining experience. Think big and your profits will meet you there.

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