Monthly Archives: June 2013

June Viral Videos

Every month, we’re treated with a host of viral videos. Take some time out of your day and see what’s gone on in the world of food. Grab lunch and hit play. Continue reading

methods-for-restaurant-success

6 Things To Consider Before Opening a Restaurant

A new restaurant can be a very rewarding and lucrative endeavor. It can also be an incredibly daunting challenge. Anyone can succeed with the right knowledge, resources, and motivation, whether you are an experienced chef, culinary enthusiast, or an entrepreneur looking for a new business opportunity.

There are several common principles essential to every successful restaurant. The following are the most important things to consider in any culinary business plan:

Consider the Locale and the Competition in the Area

restaurant-location
This is your first step to immediate success. First, take an inventory of every restaurant in the vicinity. Get an idea of how much business they acquire on any given day. Compare these observations with the population density of the area and the types of eateries available to the local population. Another important thing to consider is public exposure and accessibility to your chosen location. Is there a steady stream of out-of-towners passing near the locale (i.e. an interstate or major highway)? Does the area attract tourists during a certain time of the year? If so, are there popular hotels and attractions nearby?

The Menu

the-restaurant-menu
A restaurant’s menu defines its individuality and purpose, and determines its standing in the community. From day one, you must decide on a prevalent type of cuisine or a consistent culinary genre. It is good to use different cooking styles and techniques to develop a unique menu. However, you should never stray too far from your specialty or stretch your menu. This only confuses customers and lowers your credibility. It also requires a complex and expensive daily food order. On the other hand, you should always include a child menu and a few basic staples that cater to the minority of guests who might not enjoy your specific food genre.

Hire an Experienced and Versatile Chef

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This is one of the most important business decisions that you must make, and many new owners find it to be the most difficult. It is hard to find a talented and reliable leader in the kitchen. Your restaurant needs someone knowledgeable in a variety of culinary techniques with plenty of experience in your chosen specialty. The candidate must have good organizational skills in a busy restaurant environment, with the ability to effectively communicate with the rest of the kitchen staff. Knowledge of food orders and pricing is also essential. The individual that you hire will effectively become your new business partner, and the single most important factor in your success. Take plenty of applications. List the job opening in every available online job site, local publication, and social media outlet. Take your time. Interview each candidate thoroughly with a sit down “get to know you” session and a cooking trial. Allow the candidate to cook one of his/her signature dishes, then one of your planned menu items.

Hours of Operation

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This business decision may seem straightforward, but it can make or break your restaurant. It is advisable to close up shop for at least one day per week. Your business can save a lot of money by closing on the slowest day of the week. Statistically, in the United States, this is Monday. Many establishments choose to close on Sunday, traditionally a much busier day. Consider doing a trial run for the first month to test out your most viable options. Experiment with different closing days, and try breakfast, lunch, and dinner combinations with varying hours of operation.

Fresh Food Vendors

gesunde ernährung
The next step is to secure reputable local suppliers. Research is imperative. It is also advisable to get advice from other chefs and restaurant owners. Acquiring fresh, high quality local ingredients is a major step toward success on two fronts. The obvious asset is the food itself. These suppliers harvest your ingredients, load them onto a truck, and deliver them to your establishment on the same day. This produce has been under the care of a highly skilled, privately owned farming operation that most likely specializes in its cultivation. These small farms normally offer very high quality at reasonable prices. They can also work with you and their partners to meet your restaurant’s specific needs after you have established a good business relationship. Marketing is another great asset of working with local vendors. Local business partnerships are very important for spreading the word about your restaurant to clients and other businesses. Furthermore, most locals will respect your strategy to keep business concentrated in the area; supporting small family owned businesses rather than faceless corporations.

Marketing

restaurant-marketing
Effective marketing is absolutely essential. The successful restaurant owner must be creative and diverse, employing both traditional and online promotional strategies. Local newspaper columns and culinary publications, billboards and/or signs, and commercials are always important marketing strategies. However, you should also cultivate your online marketing prowess. Create a Facebook profile and a Twitter account, and frequently update both with news, events, and promotions. Next, create your own mobile-friendly website. Another profitable option to consider is e-mail marketing. You can create a client list via post-dinner surveys. This strategy has a very impressive cost-to-benefit ratio. Try all of these strategies and see which ones work the best for you.

The preceding points are the most basic, and most important, factors to consider when starting up a new restaurant. The chances are that you already have a good idea of the direction you want to take your business. You may have to improvise as you go, but get creative, remember the basics, and stay motivated. Good luck and bon appétit!

marketing your restaurant in the 21st century

How To Market Your Restaurant in the 21st Century

Every successful restaurant story begins and ends with a good marketing strategy. This integral facet of the business is often overlooked and overshadowed by other concerns. The food industry is the second largest advertising sector in the American economy. With ever-increasing competition, an efficient marketing strategy is the cornerstone of private culinary success.

Don’t Ignore Traditional Methods

There are many tried and true marketing techniques that have been around for decades. The savvy marketing strategist should never ignore them. They can be effectively personalized and modified for every situation. However, the biggest current in modern-day advertising is the Internet. The wise business owner takes full advantage of both approaches, creating a diversified and wide-reaching marketing plan.

Traditional Marketing

newspaper
Local newspaper columns and culinary publications are always a good way to draw attention to a restaurant. Most of the columnists are food critics with a substantial reader base. The readers are the target audience, and often travel in like-minded social circles.
Targeting local businesses is a great way to spread the word about a business and attract new clientele. There is no better place for social interaction and local gossip than the workplace. Coworkers share this information with each other, and with their clients. An effective way to break into this sector is catering. It is a great idea to offer custom and diverse catering packages at competitive prices.

Promotional Partnering

restaurant promotions
Another good strategy is promotional partnering. Make connections with successful and well-respected local business owners who are willing to suggest or promote the business to their customers. Of course this must reciprocated, so choosing a reputable partner is key.
Universities in the vicinity are always a hotbed for social interaction and networking. College students spend a lot of time and money eating out every year and sharing news of their favorite haunts with their friends. Legitimate promotional strategies for this demographic include running regular drink specials and hosting special events, such as a live music night. Effective marketing can be as simple as placing flyers around campus and actively posting on social network websites.

Online Marketing

market your restaurant online
Recent marketing surveys reveal that nearly nine out of ten customers research restaurants via the Internet. The information boom has changed the way that consumers find and interpret topics important to them. It has also affected the way that people communicate and relay this information. Every modern business owner should become familiar with burgeoning online marketing trends and utilize them as efficiently as possible.

Social Media

market restaurant through social media
Social networking websites have recently risen to the forefront in contemporary American society. Nearly 30% of total U.S. Internet time is now consumed by social networking (Experian). Statistics have also shown that half of all Internet users are influenced by social media in some way before making a purchase (Nielsen). It is a quick and easy way to share information about a business, gain an online following, and quickly spread news and promotional offers. Marketing and social media accomplish exactly the same goals. They bring people together and spread information in the most efficient way possible.

FaceBook

Every business should maintain a current Facebook page. Marketing success on this website depends on the owner staying active and keeping the business profile up to date. It is a great way to provide basic information and instantaneously offer promotions. Every “fan” effectively advertises the restaurant for no cost. The comments section provides an ongoing blog of positive reviews.

Twitter

Twitter is another great online service for businesses. It is a platform for current news, events, and specials. Each time an account owner “tweets,” everyone who follows the restaurant will receive an update. It effectively serves as a billboard on the targeted clientele’s computer or smartphone screen.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is another new and increasingly effective instrument in the modern day advertiser’s toolbox. In today’s constantly on-the-go society, 50% of consumers search for restaurants in their automobile, on a smartphone or tablet device. Therefore every restaurant should build a mobile-friendly website. Its features should be optimized for convenient mobile surfing. It is also a good idea to include a map and directions to the business, compatible with major navigation applications for iPhone and Android devices. Speaking of applications, every restaurant owner should visit Urbanspoon and complete the website’s profile of their business.

Email Marketing

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E-mail marketing is also a viable strategy for today’s online audience. Over 80% of consumers say that e-mail marketing has had some affect on their past purchasing decisions (Forrester Research). Build up a good client list. A good way to do this is through optional after-meal surveys. Ask if the customer is interested in receiving weekly updates on the business. Most satisfied customers welcome this information, and often forward the correspondence to their friends. The best thing about this strategy is the cost-to-benefit ratio, with average returns approaching $50 for every $1 spent.

There’s No Silver Bullet

It is difficult to choose the best marketing strategy for a small business in today’s ever-changing market. The good news is that there are many very efficient and cost-effective options readily available to the dedicated entrepreneur. Networking and print media are still very important tools, but creativity and diversification are the keys to modern marketing success.