With the industry revenues projected to increase, restaurateurs will have many opportunities for growing a restaurant if properly prepped for growth.
Growing a restaurant a real possibility, as half say restaurant sales will rise over the next 6 months.
52 percent of restaurateurs reported an increase in sales in January, down from 60 percent who said the same in December. Despite the drop in numbers, half of the respondents said they believe sales will rise over the next six months. However, not all restaurants are in the best position to grow. Here are nine key ways you can position and equip your restaurant to grow this year.
9 Tips for Growing a Restaurant Faster than Your Competitors
• Reassess Standards
From standards of service to the style and ambiance you want for your restaurant, now is a great time to reassess in order to identify areas where your restaurant can improve.
• Put the Right People in Place and Equip them for Success
Reassessing standards may reveal areas where staff lack in skills or fall short when it comes to the mindset and attitude you want to characterize in your organizational culture. To position your restaurant for growth, you will need everyone pulling together; this may involve reorganizing your staffing structure, providing training or re-training in needed skills, team building or strategic hires and layoffs.
• Identify New Target Markets
If your customer base is not large enough or your target market is a fairly small portion of local demographics, you need to identify new target markets and determine how you will reach out to them. Likewise, if in your reassessment you made significant changes to what your restaurant will be like in the future, you will need to plan how you will help to transition your current customers into the new format and/or how you will reach out to the buyer types most likely to respond favorably to the organizational changes you’ve made.
• Line Up Financing
Making repairs, renovating, redecorating – whether planning to make major or only minor changes, you still may need to line up financing in order to be prepared to capitalize on growth during your busiest months, seasons or holidays.
A restaurant cash advance could provide your restaurant with a quick infusion of working capital, based on its own sales trends, which can be used to make repairs, replace equipment, for remodeling or redecorating or even expansion. Since a restaurant cash advance is not a loan, approval doesn’t come down to a credit score or collateral, and it doesn’t affect personal or business credit.
• Build or Revise Your Website
Today, growing a restaurant requires an online presence. Without a restaurant website optimized for local search, chances are your restaurant is already losing out when it comes to attracting new customers. Studies show that restaurants are the most-searched-for industry on mobile. What’s more, when people do search for a restaurant, 64 percent convert immediately or within 1 hour.
• Add Mobile Apps and Compatibility
A significant portion of all web traffic now occurs on mobile devices; and for restaurants, even more. Often a local consumer is using their Smartphone or tablet while in the car, out shopping, after attending an event or on the road for some other reason to find nearby dining options.
If you don’t have a website with responsive design, chances are your website doesn’t provide a good user experience (if it gets found in online search at all). However, there are mobile apps which can instantly create a mobile version of your existing website. You should be able to customize the app to match your brand for just a few dollars each month and mobile restaurant apps abound to help you attract and convert new customers online. Even better? Ditch that lackluster obsolete website for a bright shiny new WordPress website, instead. Choose a template that features responsive design and gives you the ability to customize the site to align with your restaurant’s brand. There are thousands of free and inexpensive WordPress themes and plugins available, giving you the ability to put forward a professional digital brand image in a website that generates foot traffic, as well as web traffic.
• Review Your Layout
Growing a restaurant may require that you add more square feet or rework your restaurant’s design. Expanding to a new location or adding more square feet to your restaurant is one way to increase your restaurant capacity; however, it’s not the only way. You may be able to increase capacity by redesigning your restaurant’s physical layout. You may already have ideas on how this can be done, or it may be well-worth hiring an efficiency expert to assist. If cash reserves are standing in your way, restaurant equipment financing can provide the working capital needed for repairs or replacing aging equipment.
• Remodel and Redecorate
Over the years, colors, artwork, furnishings, tableware and other décor that was once en vogue may now be out of style. Likewise, the years take their toll in wear and tear. Now could be a great time to redecorate your restaurant in order to reflect the ambiance you want it to have, the attitude you want to project or the target markets you want to attract.
• Master Social Skills
Mastering social skills today means something different than it did before. Today, mastering social skills requires that you identify, acquire and adapt your restaurant’s social presence online, on the social networks where your target markets are most likely to find you. While most social networks are free to use, you may also consider some strategically paid placements or boosted posts in order to keep your brand in front of local consumers, grow your networks and attract customers.