Your restaurant business is buzzing. Great reviews, excellent reputation, repeat customers. You’re living the dream! Maybe it’s time to scale your business and open a new location?
The leap from running a single restaurant to running two or more can be a make-or-break moment for restaurant owners. Don’t let your hard work go to waste by making these common mistakes when expanding your restaurant business.
Instead, take steps to ensure your restaurant group’s success as you expand:
The best way to make your restaurant business successful is to know when the time is right for expansion. If you’re consistently busy and find it hard to manage the crowds, or you’ve become a destination that customers drive in from out of town for, it might be time to expand your empire.
But besides these obvious signs, make sure you:
Successful restaurant owners don’t dive into an expansion without covering these key bases.
The best way to maintain company culture as you grow is by hiring and promoting from within. After all, no one knows your brand better than your top managers, chefs, and servers.
To maintain excellent levels of customer service and quality as you grow:
When you’re successful and expanding, you face a choice: duplicate the menu exactly or make some tweaks. The needs of your target market should be the top factor in this decision. For example:
Any adaptations should make sense for the particular demographic at your new location, which will be clear if you’ve conducted the right kind of market research.
If you think the hard part is over once you’ve opened the new location, think again! The death knell can quickly begin to ring as soon as people start talking.
Have you tried so-and-so’s new location? It’s just not quite the same…
Yeah, the staff seems pretty green. They need to work out some bugs before I try it again.
Don’t bother, stick with the original.
The only way to get real-time insight into your locations’ performance is with feedback. As guests give feedback (such as via tableside tablets, comment cards or surveys) you can immediately pinpoint problem areas. Are you seeing a trend of servers being labeled as inexperienced or unknowledgeable? Food taking forever to reach the customer? Live feedback lets you see it right away, so you can:
We all know a bad review can set a terrible precedent for any restaurant. And a pattern of bad reviews can send a brand into oblivion. So, don’t neglect your social media reputation!
Collecting and monitoring reviews from sites like Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp and Facebook is one way to quickly spot problems or wins at each location. Beyond monitoring bad reviews, though, you can take an active role in building your social presence in a positive way:
You can’t just assume your new location will succeed based on the original’s success - you need to keep your finger on your reputation with the right tools.
There are many factors that go into making your restaurant business successful, but with the right preparation, planning, staff, and systems, the sky’s the limit for you.
Want to learn more about what successful restaurant groups have in common and how they're consistently improving their guest experience? Let’s chat.