How Restaurants Can Cultivate Loyalty in an Environment of Mass Competition

In a booming restaurant business, it can be difficult to remain relevant while maintaining your unique branding. In the past, restaurants could maintain a loyal clientele simply by remaining true to their menu, customs and brands. But it has recently become apparent to many restaurant owners that customers are less loyal than they used. While there are very many issues that affect customer loyalty and many of them may even be out of your control, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you remain competitive.

Are Customers Becoming Less Loyal?

If you are experiencing lower numbers of repeat customers for a while now, you may be thinking that general customer loyalty is on the decline. But while you’re thinking that your customers rarely come back, there are some restaurants that have seen an increase in customer loyalty. That’s because customer loyalty is affected by so many factors including the location of your business and some other factors like ratings and reviews.

How Social Media is Changing Loyalty

With more and more people choosing to use social media and online tools to book reservations, it becomes necessary to have a social media presence to ensure customer loyalty. Many restaurants have therefore developed social media marketing strategies that are aimed at attracting new customers and ensuring regulars remain loyal.

Again, most restaurant owners say that having a social media presence can have a great influence on the customers especially when they can engage with the chef. When customers can identify with the chef, they are able to identify with the brand and are therefore more likely to remain with the brand.

How to Deal With No-Shows

One of the main problems you will experience when you use social media and online tools to help with bookings and reservations is no-shows. This is a huge problem for many restaurants since it will often affect revenue and profits. It is important to note that no-shows can happen for reasons that are totally unrelated to your business. But when you begin to notice a significant increase in the number of no-shows, you may want to take measures handle this problem.

If you are using online tools for booking and reservations, begin by developing a very clear cancellation policy that outlines the terms for cancellation and the penalties a customer can incur when they choose to cancel a reservation. It is important to make sure that this policy is readily available to the customers and easy to understand.

You may also want to send a confirmation message to the customer immediately after they make the booking. Most online booking tools will do this automatically, sending out an email or SMS to confirm the booking. If you can, you may also take the time to call the customer to confirm the reservation.

There are some services that will also allow you to request a deposit when booking a reservation online the problem with this strategy is that it may reduce the number of conversions and ultimately reduce customer loyalty.

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Five Tips to Secure Investment for Your Restaurant

One of the most promising sources of funds when looking to expand your restaurant is private equity investment. Although investors can be hard to come by, they often have fewer requirements as compared to a bank. If you are looking to find an investor to expand your business, understand that these investors are often approached by thousands of other restaurant owners who like you have a business that they want to grow and need their money to do it.

So how do you stand out from the crowd and secure an investment? The following five tips should be a great place to start;

  1. Keep the Customer in Mind

Investors are attracted to a proposal that demonstrates long-term growth for the brand. To make them see that, your proposal should be something new that you want to add to your business. It can be a new delivery service, a new location or a new idea to improve in ambience. But whatever you choose, customer satisfaction should be the underlying goal. Being able to demonstrate the benefit the new addition will bring to your customers and how you’ll put them first can mean the difference between getting the funding or not.

  1. Present a Well-Developed Property and Location Strategy

You will have a better chance to get funding if you demonstrate a clear understanding of good site economics. If you plan to grow, you should have a clear understanding and be able to communicate clearly the expected return on investment for the new sites. You should also have a clear property and location strategy and you increase your chances for successful funding

  1. Determine the Barriers for Growth if Any

You must also determine the size that your business can scale to from the onset and be able to easily communicate this with potential investors. To do this, it is important to have a clear understanding of the market you operate in and if there is potential to roll out operation regionally. You must also be clear on the limitations of your offering are. The fewer the barriers, the more likely you are to secure funding.

  1. Demonstrate Firm Control

When you have total control of your operational and financial assets, potential investors are often more confident in your ability to run a successful business and will therefore be more inclined to fund you. You should be able to demonstrate good cash management as well as stability in debt or capital funding. Timely and accurate performance reporting will also add to your credibility.

  1. Invest in People

Many investors will back a business whose employees demonstrate a passion for its growth. That’s because a business that has invested in people is likely to provide valued service to its customers which is the cornerstone of any good business. This is more important in the hospitality business than any other sector since it is a people-based industry often with entrepreneurs who are passionate about their businesses and the service they provide.

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How to Optimize Energy Efficiency in the Restaurant Industry

One of the most pressing concerns for restaurants is energy efficiency. But energy usage can be optimized without needing to overhaul operations or purchase new equipment. The first step in optimizing energy efficiency in a restaurant is ensuring that energy consumption is aligned with business volume and the mismatch between the two is minimal.

There are several ways you can optimize energy consumption by aligning consumption and business volume. They include the following;

  1. Know Your Restaurant’s Service Windows

Every restaurant will have a varied business load in a given day or week. Understating these consumption patterns can help you determine an energy consumption profile for your restaurant that is fairly predictable after a while.

Once you have determined these service windows, you want to set an energy consumption policy that will be suitable for each service window. To do this, you need to understand the equipment and lighting can help.

  1. Control Kitchen Equipment During Set Up or Shut Down

To run a restaurant successfully, you need to strike a balance between having equipment ready to cook and making sure it doesn’t inflate the energy costs. Having a complete understanding of the energy consumption patterns of your equipment can go a long way in helping you optimize energy consumption. You can take steps like putting equipment on standby, covering the fryer vats an closing the platens of grills to help save on energy costs.

  1. Control HVAC across service Windows

Controlling the temperature in your restaurant is important for the comfort of the diners just as it is important in the kitchen for safety reasons. But temperature deviations that can be common, can sometimes inflate costs by 5-6%. It is therefore crucial to have a clear heating, ventilation and air-conditioning schedule and ensure that it is aligned with the various service windows.

  1. Improve Your Efforts Constantly

Most restaurants can fail to benchmark the restaurant in regards to energy consumption mainly because of the many variables involved in the running of a restaurant including menus offered, schedules, business volumes and more. Comparative analysis of energy consumption can help identify operational issues and ensure that you improve with time, successfully optimizing energy consumption and reducing energy costs

  1. Inform the Staff of the Service Windows

To become and remain energy efficient, you need to make sure that every member of your staff is aware of the service window and the energy policies to be implemented for very service window. You can do that by creating easy to understand energy dashboards that will get every staff member on board with the plan. This is an easy way to ensure the energy optimization plan you put in place is carried out to fruition. It is also a great way to ensure accountability and that you are able to quantify your results, identify any problem areas and leakages and easily improve when necessary.

With these measures in place, you should see your energy bills reduce significantly.

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