The climate of dining out continues to change and develop. If you want to keep up with the times you’ll want to stay on top of the trends. Here are some important factors to consider when trying to expand your client base and grow your restaurant business.
Know Your Market
Like any good business person, you’ve probably done plenty of research and brainstorming around who your restaurant’s target market is. If you’re a breakfast-only facility, it’s likely that families, older individuals, and businessmen are your demographic. Consider where you’re located. If it’s in an urban downtown area, you may be in an ideal location for college-aged youth and young professionals. Understanding your exact location within your unique city can help you take inventory for the kinds of changes ahead.
Are you a non-GMO, organic, no-refined sugars kind of establishment? Perhaps you favor southern cooking, abounding with gravy and grits. Whatever your food focus, you can easily expand options on your menu to cater to different diet preferences, such as vegetarian, gluten free, or allergies to nuts or dairy products. If health foods aren’t really the staple of your menu, it can’t hurt to at least provide the option for a salad in place of French fries.
Invest in Design
The appearance of a restaurant will influence who comes to eat there, whether they come back, and can even play a factor in how much money people are willing to pay for your food. A nicer interior, with finer furniture and a more polished design—partnered with an excellent menu, of course—will be motivating factors for visitors to want to spend more on your restaurant because they feel like they’re getting a unique experience out of it. This can be especially true of date-night restaurant locations, which are experiencing a boost thanks to online dating apps and websites.
Update Your Accounting
Who’s managing your business’ finances, and is that system really working for you? What aspects will need to be altered or modified in order for you to make some of the expansions and changes that you’re looking to make? It is vital to take inventory of your business’ finances so that you can understand where the money will come from to make the adjustments to your facility, food products, preparation equipment, or even menus as you move forward. It may be beneficial to consider short-term lending options as well, to see how you can more effectively finance changes to your restaurant.
Making alterations to your menu, or even your signage or food packaging, can be coordinated with seasonal changes. However, in doing so, you will want to keep in mind the vision of your restaurant, as well as your target market, and how those changes in food options or design will accommodate or turn off certain customers. For example, if you sell coffee, and fall brings a slew of pumpkin spice excitement, then it makes sense to provide that as a seasonal flavor option to add some variety.
Ultimately, the only person that will know the best ways to manage and grow your business is you and your team. You know your customers, you know your mission, and you know the vision that you have for moving forward. All of these factors will help drive you towards making the best changes that help you grow in a lasting way.