Starting up any business can be really taxing and stressful, but not having a good business plan in place can really set you up for a disastrous journey.
Fail to Plan
Plan to Fail
It rings true for anything you decide to take up in life.
A diligently prepared business plan not only provides clarity to the business owners in terms of the financial requirements, resource planning and the return profile of the venture, but it’s a roadmap that drives you forward from goal to goal. A business plan for a restaurant is particularly challenging, as it involves an industry that already has a large number of players and is highly dynamic. If you haven’t already created a restaurant business plan today, it’s never too late for you to start now.
Let’s hit the road running then, and start off with a real humdinger! We’ve rounded up some of the worst pieces of advice that we have encountered. They are in no particular order.
1. “Don’t research the neighbourhood layout.”
Really? What were they thinking? The neighbourhood is what is going to feed your income, grow your business, and ultimately keep your doors open. If you don’t know where your potential customers are, then how will you fill those seats?
Do your research on what the locals prefer, how often they frequent the restaurants around their homes, and what would be their draw card should a restaurant open up nearby. These are all aspects you will only know if you do your homework. Go talk to the neighbours, send out survey sheets, run an ad competition, or simply set up a little takeaway pop-up stall near the location you have chosen, to see if any customers come sniffing.
2. “Stick with a fixed menu or it will become expensive to maintain.”
Variety is the key to an abundant and exciting life. Provide your clientele with just that! Global restaurant consultant Aaron Allen, provides great advice on how often should you change up your menu. Restaurants on board the digital bandwagon nowadays have also converted to using e-menus for their restaurant ordering system. That way, you don’t have to spend big costs each time you decide to spruce things up. Avant-garde and rudimentary are also the trend nowadays. Just make sure the theme fits with your restaurant.
3. “Wing it till something sticks.”
In an industry that is highly saturated and dynamic, this is a really bad idea! Not having a foolproof menu, not planning for the right headcount, or not formulating a game plan when it comes to the year ahead, can just set you up for failure. Vague and ambiguous business goals like “being different”, “aim to become the best in the business” are merely lofty terms that inform nothing about the underlying business proposition.
4. “Social media is the trend today, so you need to come online now.”
Don’t get us wrong. Social media is indeed the trend today and most businesses are advised to break the barriers and establish their presence as far as possible. In fact, a popular advice given is to leverage on the trending topics and use them to gather eyeballs and customer attention. However, going overboard on social media without having thought through your PR or communication strategies can lead to more harm than good. How will your staff handle customers’ feedback online? Dealing with online negativity is yet another tricky endeavour, which can greatly affect the reputation of the business. If you need more guidelines on dealing with customers online, read this related article.
5. “Leave your personal goals out of the equation.”
Top-performing athletes and successful entrepreneurs from many fields set personal goals for themselves. Why shouldn’t you? Your personal goals are just as important and they should therefore be included in your business plan. You’re not only setting goals for the business, but also for yourself. Set these out upfront and you will see how they can tie in with one another down the line.
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What's the worst piece of advice you've heard in the restaurant industry? Let us know in the comments below!