As every restaurant owner knows, the food industry is one of the toughest industries out there. Not only do you have to walk the line separating quality from profit, but you also have to create a warm atmosphere that your customers will want to experience time and time again. And if that wasn’t enough, many new restaurant owners also have to balance books, pay people’s wages, manage orders, and create a fair, equitable schedule for their staff.
Talk about having your hands full. You’ve likely had your fill of unsought advice, but here are three tips that are actually worth your time.
1. Don't Buy. Lease Your Equipment
The first reason is that equipment leasing is often tax deductible, and as a new business owner, you need to save money whenever you can. On the same note, leasing will save you some up-front costs when starting out. Required down payments are often much smaller with an equipment lease compared to buying. Truthfully, there are a lot of reasons to lease as opposed to buying, but the short answer is that it can save you money in both the short term and the long term.
2. Create a Website
Yes, it’s one more thing you have to do or delegate, but this one is worth it. Regardless of where your restaurant is — be it a buzzing metropolis or a rural town with one stoplight — many people evaluate a restaurant online long before they ever even step foot inside. If they don’t like what they see (or don’t see) on the web, they’ll take their money elsewhere. This is a shame because it is so easy to make a website these days. At the very least, spend an evening writing up your menu so it can be posted online. Make each meal as enticing and tempting as possible. Then hire a WordPress developer from a freelance platform (such as Fiverr or Upwork) to do the rest. It will be money well spent.
3. Thank Every Online Review and Address Negative Feedback
Whether you agree with what the review says is not the issue. Thank whoever wrote it for their business. Accept that if it was a negative online review, you may have lost that individual’s business. That’s OK. What’s not OK is losing more business by retaliating in front of the whole world. Everyone else thereafter will perceive your restaurant as confrontational and shady. You don’t want that. The old saying, “the customer is always right” is truer than it ever has been during this digital era.
Bottom line: Save money where you can and remember that you're not in the food business, you're in the people business.