5 Keys to a Successful Restaurant Business - Tips From Experts

It was a sad day when Rigas', a family restaurant in Bellaire, Ohio, closed its doors. For a restaurant that has served the community since 1963, it was a shock to see them close, especially given no sign of problems prior to the closedown.

But having a restaurant close is not new. As the restaurant business has one of the highest rates of failure in the US economy, Rigas' can be likened to a Methuselah by clocking 54 before closing down.

The restaurant business is plagued with the same difficulties as other businesses. Many new restaurants closed within the first year and many them throw in the towel in less than five years. This does not, however, mean that it is impossible to run a successful restaurant. Some experts in this business reveal the secrets of their own success. From making your staff your number one priority to a reliable POS system, they touched it all.

Choose your staff with care: Aaron Silverman is the chef and owner of Rose's Luxury, a Washington D.C restaurant. We can all agree that Aaron knows what he is doing when he recorded a profit, right from his first month of business.

He believes the secret to the restaurant's success lies not in their cuisine (though it is divine) but in the staff that works with him. In fact, he does not see himself as being in the restaurant business but in the people business.

When hiring, look for those that are ready to join your team as a family and not just someone to fill a position. Skill is not enough, passion is more important. According to him, you should not hire someone that can do a job but someone who wants to do it.

Have a reliable POS system in place: POS systems are a part of the success stories of most successful restaurants.

With a restaurant POS system, your service delivery is sure to see a dramatic improvement. Your wait staff will be able to take complex orders and special requests without making mistakes. Say a party of 8 arrive. Two of them have different food allergies and one is a vegetarian, a server will be able to confirm the order on an iPad before it is sent to the kitchen.

Rob Krauss of Fortina Italian restaurants decided to combine hospitality and expedience with a restaurant POS system. He developed a system with Steve Brown to achieve it. According to Brown,'' We wanted to enable service staff to communicate from the tableside to various service stations around the restaurant from anywhere in the dining room, bar or patio.'' And they did.

You will be able to accurately track every aspect of your business and generally simply your operations with a restaurant POS system.

Create experiences: Thomas Keller gave a TEDx talk titled 'The Reach of a Restaurant'. He talked about how his food often evokes beautiful memories for his patrons. His secret is sourcing for each ingredient from the freshest sources possible.

This is the standard he uses in all his 8 restaurants. He gets his butter from a farm that gives individual attention to each cow and even names them, and they cultivate their own vegetables. Getting the best ingredient is of importance to this chef.

Do not let your customers leave unhappy: On the occasions that you have a dissatisfied customer, do all you can to determine the cause. If there are problems with the preparation of a meal, offer to replace it.

Fabienne Amzalak, who alongside her husband, runs three restaurants in Paris, says making people happy is the secret to her success.

So make sure that your staff is courteous even when overwhelmed. This is another area where restaurant POS systems help out. There will be less stress, especially on your wait staff, as the fear of making mistakes is reduced.

Without this pressure, they can interact with your customers better. This improves the overall customer experience.

Be flexible: While it is very good to have a restaurant culture, you should not forget to allow room for flexibility. Mickey and Sheila McCabe have managed Q. Cumbers since 1990 and it is still going strong.

Sheila attributes their success to ''being flexible and changing with the times''. And they have indeed been flexible. They were the first restaurant in Edina, Minnesota, to have a website.

And in keeping with being flexible, they are ever ready to listen to their customers.


Adeyemi Adetilewa is a digital marketing strategist who writes for publications. He's the Founder and Editor of Ideasplusbusiness.com, an online community for entrepreneurs to share business ideas. His one word is #possibilities.

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