What Makes for a Successful Restaurateur
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There’s an old Spanish saying - “the belly rules the mind” which is why you have so many business luncheons and corporate dinners! The restaurant business is all about making people happy. There’s nothing better than a sumptuous meal to raise you when your down or lift you even higher when you celebrate.
The food business is challenging exciting and ever-changing. the core root essential for the success of any business - a committed and deep passion for the enterprise that you are venturing into.
Competitiveness is the Key
Hospitality is a very competitive business and it is not easy to build brand loyalty. The diner can be easily wooed by the newest entrant into the business. To be successful it is essential that your restaurant isn’t the proverbial “flash in the pan”.
It goes without saying that a successful restaurant must serve great food - a quality product that’s a cut above the competition. In order to do this, you need a talented Chef - a Chef that’s in sync with the concept of the restaurant and shares your philosophy and passion. Once you have that in place you need to provide him the freedom and support to create a menu that is distinctive and that will appeal to your customer base.
The menu will need to be regularly updated, the food and produce must be of superior quality and the presentation and service must be a top-drawer. Today diners have been exposed to fine-dining not just in India but across the globe and hence are far more particular and demanding of a restaurant. A successful restaurant needs trained staff who have bought into the concept of the restaurant and are well versed in the intricacies of the cuisines and wines and alcohol best paired with each course. This business is all about teamwork and when a restaurant creates a family-like bond between co-workers you can be sure you have a winner on your hands.
The location of your restaurant also contributes to its success. So there are of course exceptions to every rule. A restaurant's ambiance, decor, and design is the first thing that the guests encounter and this gives them a ‘feel’ of the place. An attractive setting that’s comfortable with attention to detail and a warm and inviting atmosphere sets the tone for the dining experience.
The Indian palate is now jaded, having sampled so many different cuisines across the world, that today a restaurant must be innovative and have its own distinct identity that’s unique. Changing menus seasonally, offering newer additions to the menus, bringing in guest Chefs and introducing new concepts are some of the means to retain novelty and ensure that at each visit the diner has a unique and memorable meal. Experiment with tastes, flavours, and textures to create new dishes that are both visually appealing and delicious to taste. Complacency in this business rings in the “last order” for any restaurant.
In order for your restaurant to be successful, you need to be hands on. Your guests enjoy the attention, you can bring in the repeat clientele just with a little small talk, by remembering their favourite dish or by paying attention to their feedback. Feedback from guests can be the lifeline for restaurants as if our diners don’t enjoy what we offer then not only do we lose out on their return business but their word of mouth can deter further clientele. You need to invest not just in the business but in your guests too.
This is an exciting and dynamic business and your restaurant must be too. Dare to be different and announce it. In this high tech world, it’s vital that you be media savvy. You need to aggressively market your restaurant, as there is far too much competition in this business today. You need to create awareness for your brand, spread the word, widen your client base and let the world know about your restaurant and its special USP.
But as Gordon Ramsay so succinctly put it, “running a restaurant is something you have to be working at each and every day; it's not a foregone conclusion that you're a success.”