Many people express a desire to get into the restaurant business. According to the National Restaurant Association, in 2011, there were 960,000 restaurants in the U.S. employing 12.8 million people. An October 2006 article in Entrepreneur Magazine states that 90 percent of all restaurants that open "fail within five years." There are four main objectives to operating a successful restaurant that any potential owner needs to consider.
Serving Quality Foods at Fair Prices
More and more restaurants are making the switch to eating organic food that is locally grown. The benefits of buying organic, locally grown food includes offering fresh produce and meats that taste better than food that previously was frozen, the meals you serve will be healthier for your customers and you will be helping local, small farmers stay in business. It is true that buying organic food means you will incur additional upfront costs, but more and more restaurant customers are seeking out healthy dining alternatives. Additionally, buying locally grown organic foods allows you to offer an evolving menu as what you serve at any given time depends on what's available and in season at local farms.
Atmosphere & Ambience
There is more to running a successful restaurant than just serving great food. Customers also are attracted to the atmosphere and ambiance, both of which leave a huge impression on their overall dining experience. The right atmosphere leaves guests feeling relaxed throughout their meal and lends itself to generating repeat customers. Remember that not everyone seeks the same type of ambiance when choosing a place to eat. Many people who work in an office setting all day often prefer a quiet, relaxed atmosphere while telecommuters and younger customers often prefer busier, even noisy, restaurants.
Knowing the Target Market
Choosing the right concept, finding the right location and attracting the appropriate demographic all are important factors that will determine whether or not your restaurant succeeds or fails. Are you planning to cater to the lunch crowd or the happy hour crowd? Are you trying to attract customers looking for a formal dining experience, or do you want to be a neighborhood hangout? Do you expect to serve more senior citizens or music fans? It is critical to determine the parameters of your target market and to understand what they expect when visiting your restaurant.
It's impossible to please every customer that ever walks through the front doors of your restaurant, but knowing how to appease even the most irate diner will help spread positive word-of-mouth about your business. Make sure to train your wait staff on how to properly engage your customers, which will differ depending on your target market. Employees should wear appropriate attire at all times, and if there is a complaint, the wait staff should get the restaurant manager to step in and help solve the problem. Being courteous, kind and accommodating, even when faced with an extremely rude patron, will help your restaurant succeed and build a positive reputation in the community.