Prestige and fulfillment are two things that often come to mind when envisioning restaurant ownership. It is largely assumed that owners of restaurants are, by default of their business nature, doing well. This perception can be deceiving, however; a sign that reads “open” and food being prepared in the kitchen is not a fair measure of overall business success.
While those two things are key ingredients in a complex dish, it takes far more to complete the meal. If success is on the menu, you’ll need the recipe for turning your good restaurant into a great business.
Ask most restaurant owners what inspired them to open their own dining establishment and you will likely find the same riveting culprit: Passion for food. A flair for “all things food” charms those who consider themselves lucky diners; friends and family whose happy tastebuds solicit the one comment that any accomplished culinarian loves to hear: “You should open your own restaurant!” Sometimes this invokes a giggle, but sometimes it sparks a dream.
Successful entrepreneurs most often possess inherent characteristics that serve to navigate and fuel their ambitions and achievements. They are self-motivated visionaries. They have mastered the art of creating something that the general public receives and creates a demand for. Knowing how to run a cafe or a restaurant is essential; knowing how to manage a successful business is absolutely critical.
An owner must hone skills in four major areas of business: finance, marketing, administration, and operations while simultaneously defining a balanced and personal role distribution among each of them.
The most refined of diners view dining not simply as eating, but as a balanced, sensory experience. They typically begin that experience with an appetizer–something that is enjoyed as a precursor to a meal. A wise restaurateur should see research and planning as the parallel of a gripping appetizer. DO NOT forego diligent research.
This is quite possibly one of the biggest mistakes that a potential restaurant owner can make. Plenty of other successful restaurateurs have been in the trenches before you and many of them have shared their tried and true methods of not only getting out of the trenches but climbing to the top of the mountain. It may sound cliché, but why reinvent the wheel?
Focusing your energy on building upward by avoiding the negative experiences of others can only serve to make your business even greater.
One of the first things that a restaurant owner needs to embrace is acceptance of the fact that this is not a one man show. Running a restaurant as if it is, is professional suicide. How many times have you walked into a restaurant and found but one single person there, doing it all?
If on occasion you have, it was likely not the best dining or service experience. It is virtually impossible to prep, cook, wait, serve, cashier and clean with any degree of service or quality considered a triumph.
Delegation often feels like a dirty word for new business owners. They have a great deal of time and money invested in their venture and it’s difficult to trust that anyone else will care as much or give as much for the cause of succeeding.
This is a mentality that must be abandoned immediately and replaced with thoughts of hiring and molding good people into an exquisite support system where everyone feels personally vested in the success and longevity of the restaurant. Trust must be an appropriately placed element of a restaurateur’s personal growth.
Developing an operation’s manual can feel reasonably daunting. Ease the grind by envisioning your restaurant in picture perfect operation and then transfer your vision into written word.
Keep in mind that team of vested support staff and the guidance they will need in order to bring your established values to fruition. Networking and online resources can provide examples of well-written operations manuals. Don’t be afraid to mimic format, policies or procedures that apply well to your business model, selecting tidbits from multiple places to create your own manual.
Take the initiative to involve staff experience and perspective when revisions become an obvious necessity. As business climate evolves and changes, you may find it necessary, or wise, to revise your operations procedures and manuals. Like the rest of your business, see it as an ongoing work of art.
Documenting your systems and operating procedures is the best way to detour major issues as well. Of course going into restaurant ownership, focusing on positive movement is always preferred, however, have the documentation to handle crisis if it should occur represents business wisdom and prudent planning.
A restaurant operating manual should cover in detail the following sections or categories:
Each of these areas should contain clear, concise instruction on how to carry out day-to-day tasks, responsibilities and expectations. The idea is to provide well-planned procedures, policies, forms and checklists to guide and empower your staff.
Inevitably, there will be situations that arise where little to no guidance has been documented.
Remember that trust we discussed earlier? Your well trained, personally vested support staff should be afforded the authority to make reasonable decisions in your absence.
This furthers their personal investment in the company and if your systems have done their job well, the staff person’s decision will be a direct reflection of the values that your systems have instilled in them.
Each category should be addressed thoroughly so that a new person could easily navigate through daily tasks if needed on short notice and with little hands-on training.
Alsco would like to thank Elton Fawkes of Adage Furniture. Adage Furniture is a Western Australian family-owned business with WA’s largest stock holding of commercial grade chairs and tables. Adage Furniture also supplies custom designed and manufactured locally made products which enable them to deliver the complete package to clients, on time and on a budget. For more tips on how to grow your restaurant, café or bar, visit Adage Furniture’s Blog where there are a great number of resources for helping hospitality businesses succeed.
And of course if you’re starting up a new hospitality business or planning to refurbish, check out the range of furniture on the website or book an onsite appraisal.
For a wide range of fully-managed rental services for your restaurant, partner with Alsco. Alsco ensures you have a clean, hygienic restaurant both for your staff and customers. Call 1300 659 892 or visit www.www.alsco.com.au to learn more.