"We believe there is an oversupply of restaurants out there," Victor Fernandez told Business Insider in a recent interview. Fernandez, the executive director of insights for the restaurant-industry tracker TDn2K, came to this conclusion after seeing the stagnation of sales industry wide.
Since the Great Recession, the restaurant industry has managed to fare quite well despite the economic turmoil, with annual sales reaching a staggering $783 billion. But now, as the recession seems to be alleviating, if not quite lifting entirely, the restaurant industry has started to strain under the weight of the culinary explosion happening in cities across America. The rise of foodie culture might seem like a positive for the restaurant industry, but it's actually led to a sudden increase in supply, putting pressure on new and old restaurants alike.
And, of course, starting a restaurant is a risky business venture even in the best of times. The difference now is that it isn't simply poorly managed restaurants that are failing. Many industry stalwarts are also struggling to attract customers in an oversaturated market.
So what can you do as a restaurant owner to make your business stand out against the deluge of new and existing restaurants saturating the market place? We've put together a few helpful tips for restaurant owners.
- Hire Professionals
The worst thing you can do as a restaurant owner is try and do everything yourself. Whether you are a lifelong chef or a real estate agent looking to fulfill a lifelong dream, running a successful restaurant requires more work in a variety of disparate specialties than one person can manage.
Hire people who know more than you do and employ them in areas where they can complement your own knowledge and experience. If you've been tending bar a decade but never worked in a kitchen, trying to create an exciting and practical menu on your own is a great way to put yourself at a disadvantage from the get go.
- Maximize Efficiency
It’s no secret that the most expensive and recurring cost of restaurant ownership is the people you employ. While it is important that your business have enough well qualified staff in order to function well, you should work hard to make sure your restaurant has the infrastructure to work as efficiently and with as few people as possible.
This is most feasible in the kitchen, where you can cut down on long prep times. Using a professional grade electric meat cutter, commercial meat tenderizer machine, or dough sheeter machine can greatly reduce the time spent prepping for service and speed up the cooking process.
- Market for the 21st Century
While many restaurants operate on a shoestring budget and most owners prefer to spend money on better quality ingredients than marketing, it is increasingly important that you have some way of sticking out in a saturated market.
Social media is one of the most popular ways for independent restaurants to market, not least of which because it’s free. If you live in a thriving foodie town like Los Angeles, New Orleans, Madison, Austin, or any number of cities, then try to forge connections with other local businesses -- even your competition.
However, remember that social media will only go so far, especially in a particularly booming town. Spending a little money on an SEO marketing campaign can help you break through the pack by helping your business to come up first during Google searches.
Opening a restaurant is tough, but only the very foolish ever go into it thinking it will be easy. For most people, the restaurant industry is where you go to realize your dreams and escape the tedium of the 9-5 life. The right people and the right tools (like a new electric meat cutter or active Instagram timeline) will help you fulfill your culinary dreams to the fullest.
For more information on industrial dough sheeters, electric meat cutters, or other restaurant tools to help maximize your efficiency in the kitchen, visit Pro Restaurant Equipment today.