The restaurant industry is one of the most competitive industries in the market. They compete directly with other restaurants but indirectly with other food establishments, supermarkets, food halls, food delivery and people cooking at home for others and themselves.
Opening a restaurant seems to be always a popular investment choice, but due to the high labour needed, lack of automation in the tasks, heavy Capex and extreme competition, making a restaurant successful is all but easy.
Not every restaurant has space in the market, and not every company generally pulls through a difficult period and that, unfortunately, is part of the game of being in business.
We are now facing a pretty unusual situation where the offer cannot meet the demand, which means restaurants do not have enough staff to serve customers, forcing some restaurants to reduce operating hours or close. Also, we see more disruptions to daily operations than before. This causes static behaviours to move towards a more flexible way of running a restaurant.
There has never been a better time to work smartly in restaurants: Most things seem to be against us, but this industry will pull through, as it always has.
Below are a few points to stay competitive:
- To learn more about restaurants around you. For example, if your restaurant is capping reservations daily, but your competitors have a higher table turn, they might be handling staff better. They might have also changed some procedures in how they do rotas. If you are capping your reservations to a certain number, you can know exactly how many reservations you have to plan your rota better. If you cannot limit your reservations, a good option is to use Stint or other companies that provide a flexible workforce so that you can support the busiest times. The other day I visited a restaurant. It was busy and dirty. I wondered why they could not hire a couple of students for two hours to keep the space clean, wipe the tables and support with the service.
- Understand the market when there is a strike or on days when the weather hits badly. This will help you plan better for the next event, such as how many hours you should open or what to expect regarding covers and revenue.
- Comparing results with previous years is difficult without jumping to negative conclusions. So much has changed since Covid and many restaurants ask themselves. Why am I not growing versus 2019? Why is my restaurant not performing? Many factors are involved, but your restaurant can only get the answers by looking at how other restaurants are acting now. If your venue had strong growth in 2019, you will unlikely experience any further growth this year. However, a strong market share position will guarantee increases in the future.
- Automate all the tasks that are taking time away from you. And ensure your POS works well at all times. QR payments might be an option to save time at the end of the meal. Also, digital ordering is becoming increasingly popular. Check out Storekit. This company provides digital ordering to boost restaurant's profitability.
- Sublet some areas of your restaurant if you cannot use them. If your restaurant is too big, you might not be able to use all the space for the same purpose. You might create a flexible space for remote workers where they get a set menu and can work from your facilities. Many companies are offering these services.
- Improve the art of upselling. Your restaurant might not need to increase prices if your team is mastering the art of increasing the spending per table through good sales techniques.
- Transparency and communication are needed now more than ever. We cannot hide behind old numbers or expect things to be how they have been in the past. It will not work.
We should pivot as often as we need until we find the solution that helps our teams and us.
If you would like to get the tools needed to navigate the market with confidence, join us here: https://remsapp.wisetiger-three.co.uk/get-started
Author: Carmen Mallo - Revenue management specialist and co-founder of REMS Hospitality