So, your new restaurant has managed to survive a year. That’s an achievement, considering many of them close within the first year or so. However, you’re not out of the woods yet. Restaurants often don’t last beyond the first three years, so you still have a way to go before you can feel safer. You’re only going to keep your business going if you’re willing to keep working hard for the next few years.
If you’ve lasted a year and things are on the up, you could have a good chance. But you still have a lot of work to do, so pay attention to how you can keep going.
Identify What’s Working
You’ve had a successful year, or you’re at least managing to hang on. The first thing you need to know is what you’re doing right. Hopefully, you already have some idea of what’s working for your business and what isn’t. If you don’t know where to start, feedback from customers is always useful. You can check reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp to see what people are saying. You should be doing this anyway so that you can respond to people.
You can also ask customers to fill out a survey or leave a review. Perhaps offer an incentive to do so. Another option is to conduct audits within the restaurant to work out what’s working and what isn’t.
Know When You Need to Change
If you’re to run a successful restaurant that stays open beyond its first few years, you can’t be stubborn. If you want to decide what’s right and then never change your mind, perhaps running a restaurant isn’t for you. You need to have a flexible attitude so that you can make changes when you need to.
If something isn’t working, you have to decide how you’re going to correct it. You might need to tweak an item on your menu, redesign your menus, change your seating arrangement, or take a look at how you train your staff.
Step Up Your Marketing
Many restaurants can rely heavily on word of mouth when they first open. While it’s good to encourage this organic form of marketing, you also need a paid marketing strategy. Using a range of marketing methods is important to reach different audiences.
If you want to learn how to make the most of your social media pages, Consolidated Foodservice has a guide you might find useful. You can also use methods like direct mail, handing out flyers, ads in magazines and online adverts too.
Get Some Media Attention
In your first year, you might have been lucky enough to have someone review your restaurant. Now that things are starting to calm down slightly, you might want to step up your efforts to seek out media attention. Rather than wait for people to come to you, you should try to approach journalists, reviewers, and bloggers. Invite them to special events or simply make them aware of your restaurant.
Even after the first year, keeping a restaurant open is hard. But if you get the right mix of elements, you can do it.