The market becomes more competitive by the minute, therefore having a clear business strategy and point of differentiation is precarious to keep customers coming and sales rising. Opening a restaurant or food business “hoping” for it to succeed is no longer an option, business owners and managers must be smart and act fast in implementing well thought and tailor-made business strategies to retain their market share and build customers loyalty.
These are difficult times globally; the pandemic doesn’t spare anyone. But how is it possible that some hospitality businesses have not been as badly affected as others? Most likely they are doing some, if not all, things from the list below right.
Know your why.
Why are you in business? If your answer was “money”, you need to find a bigger purpose. Otherwise your customers will also use “money” as an excuse to go to the venue next door for a cheaper meal. Find what it is that makes you want to be in business.
Understand what makes you different.
Why would someone choose to dine in at our venue or hire your food services? What value can you offer to your customers? A plain chicken and avocado sandwich won’t do the trick anymore. When budgets are tight, give your customers a good reason for them to give you their money. Delight them by creating unique experiences and an enticing menu, even though you might need to keep your expenditure limited, avoid cutting corners, people will notice if you do. If there is something you should never compromise on, that is quality.
Learn more about your customers.
Understanding who your customers are and what they care about is quite useful when taking any business decisions.
Different generations behave and take purchase decisions differently, you might not be able to please everyone so determine who your target market is, and then focus all your effort into making the dining experience of those people something truly special.
Create a unique concept, focusing on your strengths.
What can you do best? Exploit your strengths and do so wisely. Create a unique and holistic concept for your business, and make sure every aspect of your business revolves around that concept. If your focus is on healthy and natural food, present your food creations in sustainable/ecofriendly containers, that way there is a coherent link between the food you sell and its presentation.
Your venue’s decoration, menus, food, music, service, lighting and even scent should all work together to create a memorable experience that keeps customers coming back for more. It might be a lengthy process to put together the concept, but trust us, is well worth it.
Master your food.
We are in the food business, so flavour will always be important. Source high quality and local ingredients, that would not only save you money but also create a point of differentiation amongst your competitors. Try offering a menu that is varied enough to cater all palates and dietary requirements, and make sure to transmit the message to your kitchen staff: quality is everything (in flavour and presentation).
Ensure your staff provides the best service.
Food served with a smile will always taste better.
Invest time to hire the right people, and then make sure to provide enough training, your patrons can understand a mistake, but a bad attitude will most likely not be tolerated. Create a culture of mutual respect and cooperation, where good communication is practiced between all team members. Remember: a great team will always bring you great results.
Keep things clean.
We can’t stress more about this; hygiene and safety is on everyone’s mind right now and will stay that way for a very long time. Keep your venue sparkling clean, failing to do so can cost you greatly. Create confidence for your customers and gain their trust.
Advertise, advertise, advertise!
You have a great venue and delicious food? Let the world know!
Now is the time to be aggressive in your marketing strategy, be present where your customers are, implement or improve your digital and social media strategy, make sure that your customers can find you online. Also, encourage your patrons to recommend you to friends and family if they have enjoyed their meal, a simple “Please help us out” can make a great difference but if you want to take it to the next level, you can offer small incentives like discounts or a free drink if they share a post on their profile about your venue. Get creative!
Handle complaints effectively.
Admitting a mistake is not always easy, but it can be the only way to transform a bad experience into a good one. Remember that people are 7 times more likely to share a bad experience than a positive one, you don’t need that, therefore aim to amend the mistake while your patrons are still in your premises, that opens the opportunity for them to visit your venue again.
We hope you find the information highlighted in this easy to read guide for making your hospitality business successful useful. Have you implemented any of these measures for your business? How’s that working out?
Feel free to contact us for further advice on how to take your hospitality business to the next level, our team is here to help you succeed!