Restaurants can be a gamble. It’s the type of business where no matter how tight you make your business plan, it just might not succeed. Indeed, a lot of people in the industry will tell you that it is not as bad as they make it out to be, but it still is competitive. Not only do you have to set yourself apart from the other restaurants in your area – you also have to develop that special X factor that gets people talking about your restaurant. Then, after a year or so, you have to find a way to make your restaurant relevant, because a new restaurant can move in right next door and take all of your business. Here is how to open and run a successful restaurant.

  1. Make sure that you offer something that customers can’t get anywhere else – you want to go as niche as possible. For instance, if you are in an area where people can get burgers, sushi, Italian, and Mexican – you may want to pull out a wild card and go for Caribbean jerk chicken or traditional Cuban fare, or something equally as unique. This will really pique people’s interests.
  2. Make sure that you find an optimal location – you don’t necessarily need to be on the main thoroughfare, but you do want to make sure that the environment is ideal for eating. A room that is too cramped or that is too wide open may feel like either a prison cell or too impersonal. Indeed, it should feel cozy and comfortable inside your restaurant. Plus, there should be a good dose of people watching, so you want to have space that allows you to do that. Of course, finding a location near a major road will be a big plus.
  3. Train your staff to offer the best customer service possible – your staff should know that they should wait on your customers hand and foot. Many restaurants lose the idea of exceptional service and therefore lose the customer. Not only is the customer always right in the restaurant industry, the customer is the boss – whatever the customer says, goes. If you don’t have great customer service, people will start to talk.
  4. Work with a specialized restaurant consultancy firm – for instance,The Gilkey Restaurant Consulting Group will be able to work with your restaurant to evaluate all the flaws and strengths. They will then separate the flaws and rectify them. Afterwards, they will work with you and your staff to strengthen the parts of your business that are working. In the long run, this will help your business compete and stay in business for much longer.
  5. Change often – people don’t like to see the same thing over and over again. They may think that they like to see the same thing, but this is merely complacency and dependency. Every so often, you want to change the menu and you may want to change some of your décor. In the end, the restaurant business is all about staying fresh.