Joshua Manocherian on Mistakes That Restaurants Make and How to Avoid Them
Former professional photographer and now restaurateur Joshua Manocherian created this blog site to inspire others to pursue their dreams and passion by talking about his personal experiences; particularly how he turned from being a professional photographer to a restaurateur. He and his wife own and operate a small restaurant in San Francisco. In his latest blog entry, Joshua shares the common mistakes that restaurants make so that anyone who is in the restaurant business or thinking about going into it will know what they are and how to avoid them.
In one of my posts, I mentioned that about 60% of independent restaurants fail within the first five years and this is, in large part, due to lack of—or poor—planning. Today I’d like to go deeper into why some restaurants fail and others don’t by citing some of the most common mistakes that restaurant owners make.
1. There is no clear direction in terms of sales and profits. As in any type of business, setting a goal for sales and profits is critical to its survival. Your dining area could be bursting at the seams yet still barely make the profit margin. Be clear and concise about the percentage of sales that you wish to accomplish on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. If you have a full table but orders are limited to the ‘bare essentials’, don’t be surprised if you’re not raking in the money. With a clear sales target, you are given the opportunity to market your products. For instance, your wait staff could recommend specialty drinks, soup or dessert of the day, and such. But you don’t have to do it in one go. Focus on drinks first and when you’ve hit your weekly target, offer dessert on the following week, and so on. In other words, look at the big picture but take small, sure steps.
2. Too many items on the menu. When you have everything that you feel consumers want and expect, you might be spreading yourself too thin. If you’ve got a smorgasbord of every food item available in the market, you’re stripping the restaurant of the menu items that make it special and unique. In other words, your special menu is what makes you unique, and what would make customers keep coming back, earning their loyalty and patronage in the process.
3. Poor leadership. Again, with any type of business, good leadership is essential to success, progress and growth. Your staff will follow your example and if they see that you are not patient with customers or you don’t care much about food presentation, they will take this as their cue and follow suit. In other words, if you don’t care much about your customers, why should they?
I’d also like to add here that good leadership means giving your staff all the tools that they need to serve your customers. From kitchen equipment to appliances, dinnerware and silverware, and every other item that will help them provide exceptional service to your diners, all of these are necessary tools for excellent customer service.
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