To you (and to me 😉) your restaurant is special. You feel as though your menu, your décor, your vision is so unique and mesmerizing that you can’t imagine why there isn’t a line going around the block with patrons chomping at the bit to get in.
The answer to why you’re not turning tables is simple. No matter whether your food is fresh and exotic or reliable and familiar, or whether you operate a fast-casual or full-service establishment, the aspect of your restaurant that will set you apart from the crowed pack of competitors is your staff – the people you hire to execute your vision. Your restaurant family will either secure or thwart your winning edge.
Who you hire, or perhaps more importantly, don’t hire to run your restaurant is the ultimate factor in determining your success. People are everything! Having your grandmother’s special recipe for whatever dish on your menu is not as high on your patrons’ recognition ladder as you think.
Even through a facemask, your patrons can tell when they are receiving service from restaurant staff who care. They’ll notice if they were genuinely greeted when they walked through your restaurant’s doors or whether they were met with an annoyed look when they arrived. They will notice if a staff person returned to the table to ask them how their meal was. And they will also take note if they had to practically send up a flare just to get the check. Service matters most. Period.
The art of hiring staff who will ensure your restaurant will be memorable in the right way starts before you even hire anyone. It starts with nailing down the qualities you’ll look for in staff and advertising for staff in the right places to get the exact people you need. It starts with establishing a standard of performance for every position in your restaurant, managing with the aim of following up on those standards, and coaching those standards to staff on a daily basis.
This is where Nisa Consulting Group can help. We assist restaurants in creating the standards that will guide their staff and provide coaching strategies to ensure long-term success.
Contact us! We’ll help you find staff who are the right fit for your needs.
Who Do You Want to Be?
Vision and mission are words that are loaded with meaning in general but especially for restaurants. Together, these words determine purpose, and purpose gives direction.
Aspiring and active restauranteurs often hold a vision of their restaurants serving amazing meals to happy, appreciative customers. However, as I alluded to in a Restaurant Is Not a Field of Dreams, you cannot reach your vision of happy customers, amazing food, and making money without also cementing the organizational details in how your restaurant runs.
So far, I’ve pitched some big concept words to you --- vision, mission, purpose. To simplify my message, I ask you to pose one question to yourselves. Who do you want to be?
Who do you want to be to your customers? Who do you want to work for you? The answer to this one question posed to the different aspects of your operation can help fine tune the vision of who you are as a restauranteur and the success of your business.
For instance, in answering who you want to be, perhaps you want your restaurant to impart an elevated, inspirational dining experience for customers. Just with that statement, a restaurant can start to form an idea of the type of food it will serve, who its vendors should be, the quality of the ingredients it seeks to procure, the personalities of the staff they should hire, and more. There is a saying I learned many years ago, “You have to get orientated before you get organized.”
So, who do you want to be?
A restaurant consultant can help you fully answer that question.
We help our clients wade through the answers to the defining-concept questions as they solidify who they want to be. The outcome is your vision rooted in your core values that leads to happy customers enjoying their meals as well as having a well-run internal structure. Our clients also hone in on a mission that drives the organization’s higher purpose.
Interested in defining or redefining your vision, mission, or purpose? Contact Us! We stand ready to help you find the answers to all your big questions.
Have you ever heard the old saying, “Your business is like your baby?” As a new father myself, I see the parallels between a restaurant business and parenthood. Both of these callings require nurturing. The point of parenthood, of course, is to nurture your child to become independent of you as they mature. As a restaurant owner, one of your goals should be to nurture your business, your baby, so that it can run well without you—not forever, of course, but at least long enough for you to take a vacation.
In nurturing their restaurants, owners wear many hats, such as leader, cook, maintenance worker, bookkeeper and even sometimes psychologist or life coach. While juggling all these hats, it’s easy for owners to create a codependent relationship with their businesses. Owners may feel apprehensive about passing along one or more of these hats to their staff. This can lead the owner to burnout and their restaurant to lose the efficiencies that are necessary for growth.
I had a recent discussion with about 60 business owners where I asked them what would happen to their restaurants if any of them took a day off or worst yet a vacation. Here are the most common responses.
“Go on vacation?!”
“My phone is always ringing with someone from the store.”
“I am sure the place might burn down without me.”
Only about 10 percent of the owners said they could leave their restaurants for a week or two and know their businesses would be fine. These owners feel comfortable taking time away from their stores, because they have the right processes in place.
To be clear, the right processes empower teams to operate as if they are always in the owner’s presence. Further, the right processes can build a foundation that leads a single shop to open a second or even third location and allows owners to create more of the work/life balance that we all crave.
If you’re interested in learning how to reengineer your restaurant processes to generate efficiencies for growth, and freedom Contact Us. Inviting a fresh set of eyes into your establishments can make all the difference.
When you’re getting ready to leave your home, how many of you are doing the same mental check that I do now? Keys. Check. Wallet. Check. Mask. Check.
For most of the year, our nation has dealt with the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The mask that we cannot leave the house without has become part of our new reality and a searing reminder that the way we go about our lives and conducting business has changed. No one knows if we’ll “return to normal” or what our new normal may look like when this is all over.
Among other industries in this country, the restaurant industry has been hit the hardest in terms of sales and job losses, according to the National Restaurant Association. The industry has lost more than $185 billion in sales between March and August, and more than 8 million restaurant employees were laid off or furloughed during the same time. These numbers are quite jarring.
There’s so much about the pandemic and its impact on our lives that we cannot control. So, I say, let’s focus on what we can control. Control the Controllables. The restaurants that are surviving, or indeed thriving, during this time are not trying to maintain the status quo or wringing their hands over their circumstances. They are pivoting. They are innovating. They are looking at their business models and finding new and different ways to serve their communities. If you are reading this, and you are unsure about your next steps, keep reading for a few ideas, and contact us for an in-depth discussion about the best ways to pivot your business to survive the pandemic.
Ask yourself what are you doing each day to grow your business? You owe it to yourself and to the people you employ to keep your business operating at a sustainable level.
1. Bring the restaurant to the people. Local and state regulations may limit your dine-in capacity, but not your delivery, take out, and catering.
2. Use your social media to leverage your strengths. Among the advantages independent restaurants have over chains is that they can use social media in a way that drills down the audience to the people you serve. Speak to your community.
3. Your staff is the ultimate asset. Your employees, from managers to the busing staff, are invested in your success. Your growth not only improves their financial situation, but if you manage well, they also support you as a leader. They will have your back and promote for you. They could have killer ideas that can help. All you have to do is ask and show appreciation.
4. Adapt your menu. Trim items that do not sell and highlight what does. Also, bringing seasonality into your menu that will help keep your offerings fresh.
5. Love your customers a little more. As simple as this sounds, it is imperative we treat our customers better regardless of how the customers get their food. If you give them 5-star service, they will reciprocate by returning and telling their friends.
As I said earlier, Nisa Consulting Group has the insight and ideas to customize a plan for your business to succeed beyond COVID, Contact us for an in-depth discussion about the particulars of your circumstances. We hear this all the time now, probably because it’s true. We’re in this together, and we’re stronger together.
How many times have you walked into a restaurant and waited several minutes before being acknowledged? How many times have you had your mouth set for a particular menu item, only to hear that it’s out temporarily, leaving you to order something else or nothing at all? How many times have you asked restaurant staff a question only to be met with rudeness, or worse yet, indifference?
These are the primary reasons why people don’t return to a restaurant. The trust has been broken. When a new customer walks through your doors, for the most part, they are taking the chance that they will be met with good food and an overall positive experience. In other words, they are trusting you. Once you’ve broken their trust, the chances of them returning are close to zero.
At Nisa Consulting Group one of our core tenets is Building Trust with Consumers. The worst kind of restaurant is one that does not engender trust with its staff and customers. No matter how exceptional your food is or how aggressive your marketing is, once the word circulates that your restaurant is not to be trusted, it’s a difficult climb to regain market share.
Have you ever wondered why some restaurants stay busy while others close their doors soon after opening? The successful ones put a premium on customer service. As an independent restaurant adopting trust-enriching behaviors will help set you apart from other eateries in your area. The restaurant that earns and keeps their customer’s trust will stand the best shot at remaining open for the long haul.
Here are a few ways that you can enhance the experience at your restaurant and instill trust among visitors.
Want to learn more?
In 1989, I was captivated by the movie, “Field of Dreams.” It was the heart-warming, tear-jerking story of Iowa corn farmer Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner), who ardently followed that voice that seemed to flow from within telling him that, “If you build it, he will come.”
Since the movie’s release, those words have taken on a life of their own, as businesses have adopted that phrase and transformed it into their mantra, “If you build it, they will come.” The thought is that if you simply open your restaurant, people will immediately flock through your open doors. However, the truth is that unless you are opening an established brand like Chick-Fil-A or Shake Shack, that is not likely to happen.
“They will come” if you build and execute a marketing strategy before you even open your doors. When it comes to restaurants, building a customer base takes time. It takes strategy. It’s the “business” part of the business. And while the quality of your food is certainly of the utmost importance, the quality of your service needs to resonate with your customers. Quality food, friendly service, effective operational procedures, and enticing marketing—these are the building materials that will make your restaurant dreams come true.
As you go forward with planning or reviving your restaurants, I want you to consider a few concepts.
Are you a new restaurant owner who needs guidance? Are you an existing restaurant looking to relaunch your brand? Nisa Consulting Group is here to help. Click here to schedule a free consultation.