By Donald Burns
While these are challenging times, they are some restaurants that are putting good profits into their bank account. They have adapted to the new market and made changes. If you are willing to look at these 7 New Ways You Operate Your Restaurant, you might be able to join them.
1. Forget the Business Plan! You Need a M.A.P.!
The only true competitive advantage in today’s changing market is not just having a business plan, but also a business MAP (Massive Action Plan) that can take you from where you are to where you want to be in the shortest amount of time. Hey having a business plan is better than nothing at all. Those that are successful in today’s market create a Business MAP that they make adjustments to as the market changes.
You have to be more flexible in today’s economy. A lot of the old ways of doing business are DEAD. Bury them, say a little prayer and let’s get things going!
2. Good Enough Is Not Enough
Recessions are a restaurants form of “natural selection”. The very best will survive, the mediocre will perish. That is just the hard cold fact of business. You have to become a leader in your market, you have to strategically innovate. You must be constantly looking for ways to make your food, service and atmosphere better than what currently exists.
Consumers are no longer impressed with okay food and service or they will go elsewhere. Plus they will get on the Internet and tell everyone what a bad experience they had. Word of Mouth has turned into WORLD of Mouth with one simple click.
3. Multi-Channel Marketing
Back in the 1970’s there were really only 3 main TV networks: ABC, CBS and NBC. Fast forward to 2013 and there are more channels on your cables service than you can ever watch. Think about restaurants. A lot more competition in the market today than 20 years ago. Plus the rising popularity of the food truck and pop-up restaurants has changed the face of dining across the world.
The biggest change to effect restaurants is how they market. Before you could send out postcards and advertise in the local paper…all was good. In 2013, if you are not online and mobile in your message, then you are way behind the competition. Trust me; you do not want that in today’s economy.
Plus, each channel of online marketing has its own demographic and peak time for interaction. Facebook is best between 1pm to 4pm. Google+ is best from 9am to 11am. You can use your time online for good marketing or just to waste time…the choice and the sales depend on how you do it.
4. Use Neuro Science
Getting a guest in the door today is like gold. What if you could increase the amount that each guest spends when they visit? By teaching your staff not only what to say, but when to say it you can increase sales with a few well-placed questions, statements and body language training you sales can increase as easily as 20% or more.
NeuroSelling is a system I developed that incorporates NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) techniques of building rapport, matching and mirroring along with understanding body language to build sales immediately and quickly.
Hey, Tony Robbins, Oprah and President Obama use NLP to get to the top, why not use it for more restaurant sales?
5. Financial Analysis or Know Your Numbers!
Do you know where your company is spending its money? It’s easy to lose sight of the key measurements that can predict our progress or demise. Being able to measure where your business is, where it’s going, and being able to see the blind spots that could get you into trouble are factors that are paramount for any business.
If you do not have a system in place that records daily sales and expenses then shame on you. If you do not have your food and bar menu costed out and updated every 6 months, you are missing out on increased profits. If I had a dime for every menu or bar item NOT costed out on a menus across the world….I would probably be a billionaire. Yeah, it’s that bad out there! Do you think for one second that apple does not know the exact cost down to the penny for what takes to produce an iPhone? You can bet your ass they do! If you are in business to make a profit, you need to know your costs too.
Sometimes, the biggest growth opportunities don’t come from new initiatives, but rather from taking the core processes the business is already doing and executing them more effectively. A small incremental improvement made in a few key areas can result in geometric growth to the business as a whole.
Also, understand asset allocation.
Put your people in positions that play to their natural strengths. Not sure what those strengths are? Give them a behavioral survey.
There are plenty great ones on the market ranging from ease of use from 10 minutes to 90 minutes. Next week I will dive into understanding yourself and your team using behavioral dynamics….
7. Raving Fan Customers
You must understand, anticipate and consistently fulfill the deepest needs of your clients. The more value you are able to add to your customer, the more you’ll dominate the marketplace.
Here is one way that top restaurants create raving fans: create a VIP Book. Who gets in? Everyone you can! I created a template based on Harvey Mackay’s “The Mackay 66”, is a form you create to gather intelligence on your customers. Birthdays, anniversaries, favorite drinks, favorite menu items…you get the picture. Then use that information to give the staff an edge in service. How much do you think you will blow guests away when you have a special sample of their favorite appetizer waiting for them when they come in? They think you can almost read their minds!
It’s just going the extra step to turn good customers into raving fans. The staff at my restaurant used to make a game out of it to see who could remember the most about a guest. Set the bar high for your team, give them the tools to do their job and expect the best. I find when you expect the very best from people, that is what you tend to get.