Opening a restaurant can be a daunting task. Competition in this area can be quite aggressive, while business and tourism were the two most affected areas during the recovery from the pandemic.
Notwithstanding these difficulties and the current uncertain situation, if you have a passion for it, starting a restaurant business may be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. What is crucial, however, to keep in mind some of the most common mistakes restaurateurs make that can hurt your business.
Spending All Income
This is a weakness of aspiring entrepreneurs, especially if things are going well from the start. More than half of the newly-baked bankruptcies are based on this. There is a hypothesis: no “own money” exists in business. There is only customer money and working capital. Money should always work, and catering is no exception.
Here’s a short example: a client comes to you and pays in advance for the corporate party. An inexperienced entrepreneur argues: “I was paid 50,000, of which 10,000 are food and alcohol, 15,000 are staff salaries, 10,000 are musicians and a presenter. So it leaves me with an additional 15,000 that are mine, and I can spend them as I wish.”
Here is the first mistake. Until the client has received his product or service, this money is, in fact, not yours.
Not Keeping Records
The first mistake often arises against the background of the absence of any accounting in the institution. Don’t neglect financial accounting! Until you see the actual numbers, you will think that everything is in order, and then the first debts, supply disruptions, or theft will appear.
Protect yourself from the start – implement a restaurant program. The days of keeping records in a notebook are long gone. Instead, accounting systems provide more opportunities: statistics, cash shifts, inventory, loyalty programs, etc.
Underestimating Blogs And PR
Many do not take it as a serious channel, but blogs are bringing you traffic, and from traffic, you may get new customers or at least receive an online order. You can publish everything related in the blog section, including events, unique menu item descriptions, engaging customer stories, etc. The main thing is to give them value through content they will find interesting. Understand your target audience and craft content with them in mind. Make your content seasonal to keep it relevant. If it is summer, share with them a blog article or a social media post about watermelon nutrition facts and benefits, and at the end, invite them to try the watermelon smoothie in your restaurant.
Not Delving Into The Work Personally
A business owner should be aware of everything that happens in his restaurant, especially in the beginning. A common mistake when starting a restaurant is to rest on the laurels of the effectiveness of a well-thought-out strategy. Nobody argues that strategy is essential, but which one of you will be a general if you have never been to the battlefield? You need to be able to command – your staff should know that you can come with a check at any time or personally help during busy hours.
You might think that this is too obvious: no ads, no customers. But, as practice shows, not everyone realizes the importance of promotion. A common mistake of restaurateurs is a lack of understanding of marketing and advertising technologies.
Unfortunately, this is not the case if you think it will be enough to hand out flyers a couple of times at stops or on the subway, hang up balloons, and put on loud music on an opening day. So instead, throw an exciting party with free drinks or significant discounts, promotions – many people will come, but will they become your regular visitors?
Don’t limit yourself by appealing only to a small group of customers, and promote your restaurant through different marketing channels.
Decide on your target audience and your main competitive advantage – what sets you apart from other establishments. Advertising must achieve its purpose: less unnecessary information and more meaning. Your advertisement should answer the main questions: why exactly is your establishment, how are you different from the cafe opposite, and how are you better? It is not enough to inform you about your discovery, show the interior and the menu. It is necessary to come up with a story, put meaning and concept and constantly develop it. This can be done through a variety of content marketing services and tools to craft content that will ring customers.
In the article, we have touched on only the most common mistakes, some of them may seem too obvious, but they are still made. Do not be afraid to listen to others; analyze the experience of your predecessors. Only a responsible approach to work will help save you from bankruptcy. To imagine everything clearly, just think about your restaurant to be a place where you would become a loyal customer if you were not the owner.