A New Year means a chance to start fresh, for both people and businesses. If you intend for your restaurant to improve upon itself and cut out bad habits, now is a great chance to do it. By pledging to do better in the months ahead, you will enhance your customer experience while also expanding your profitability.
When making changes to your operations, using restaurant funding like low-interest loans, lines of credit and merchant cash advances can also be a big help. That way, you have the flexibility to grow or revamp now without having to risk your built-up savings.
For restaurant owners, managers and others looking to do better in 2018, here are the top recommended New Year’s resolutions for restaurants to consider keeping.
1. Look More to Data to Base Decisions on Menu and Business Changes
Most restaurants are sitting on an untapped gold mine: their own customer and sales data. By looking at performance and playing with variables, you can quickly identify trends that reveal ways to improve operations.
For instance, what if you took your top-selling menu items, sorted by profit margin, and came up with a list of “favorites” to mark on the menu? What about suggesting upsells based on common pairings chosen by customers? Perhaps certain specials bring more people in the doors, so you can consider adopting similar items on your year-round menu?
Making observations like these improve both your bottom line while making customers feel like you intuitively understand their needs. As a representative of Shake Shack astutely put it: “In the restaurant business, profit margins are razor thin and repeat customers are critical.” For this reason, he says the owner of Shake Shack “has made an art of making his customers feel welcome, tracking their likes and dislikes.”
2. Take More Menu Photos
People want to know what they get when they order from you, and nothing communicates this more quickly than photos of your food items.
Even more importantly, photos of food tend to draw people’s attention and get them to actively engage with content. Facebook posts that use images get 2.3 times the level of engagement compared to text-only posts, for instance, while Tweets with images get 150% more retweets.
So build up a catalog of gorgeous and appetizing photos. These can grace your menu just as easily as they grace your social media posts or homepage, making them versatile and valuable assets to have.
3. Make Improvements to Your Website and SEO
Customers expect a bare minimum of information when trying to decide where to eat, and they often look to a website to find that information. Yet, many restaurant websites are woefully spartan. At the very least, website visitors should be able to see a sample menu, a gallery of food items, and some information about the restaurant’s vision or approach to cuisine in general.
Restaurateurs who are interested in capturing search engine traffic can go even further by adding content intended to optimize their search engine ranking. By including a blog talking about your restaurant beliefs, for instance, you can rank higher for queries like “farm to table restaurants in Phoenix.”
Speaking of which, ensure that search engine users and people on websites like Yelp see positive reviews and feedback about your restaurant. 31% of people trust online reviews more than personal recommendations from their own friends and family.
To boost your review score, make it easy for people to leave feedback by providing a convenient link via email and social media. You should also respond to negative reviews with apologies and offers for upset customers to give you another try.
Expand upon your content while managing your reputation, and you can expect a higher volume of reservations and inbound tables originating from web traffic.
4. Keep Growing Your Operations Through Restaurant Funding
If you remain content with your current sales, opportunity could quickly pass you by. The quickest-growing businesses in America make constant changes and adjustments that help them scale.
For instance, over 80% of publicly traded companies behind major restaurant chains are currently testing food delivery options — and that doesn’t count pizza places! Other restaurants are breaking out new menus or even spin-off brands, such as a breakfast-only location designed for busy commuters.
Experimenting with possibilities and then growing side ventures in this way is an extremely lucrative strategy that we have covered before. By bringing the edge of your operations to the center, you can avoid stalled growth before it happens while helping your restaurant business mean more things to more people.
Expanding and experimenting takes financial capital, though, so consider getting low-interest restaurant funding to support your new ventures. You can request a free, no-obligation quote from ARF Financial to find out which restaurant financing products work best with your current situation and your vision for the future. Click here to get your quote within 48 hours, and you could have your funds in just 3-5 business days!
Good luck, and we hope you have a Happy New Year!