This is a first post in a series demonstrating what Harvest America Ventures does to help restaurants reach their goals.
The restaurant business is quite simple on paper, the challenge is transitioning some simple rules into effective processes and great results. The first rule of thumb is that “sales rule”! All the cost controls in the world cannot compensate for a lack of business and customers who are not given the opportunity to spend more than they had anticipated.
How to reach and eventually exceed your sales goals is a complex mix of contemporary marketing, understanding and tracking customer expectations, producing consistently exceptional products, providing breakthrough service, and setting the stage for return guests. Simple isn’t it?
Let’s look first at the production of a consistently great product. There are a handful of restaurateurs and chefs today who have ruined it for everyone else. They are creating that WOW factor with their product every time a guest arrives. They are obsessed with a constant state of improvement. They are, without a doubt, their own worst critics and act not too dissimilar to obsessive artists.
I remember reading that in his later years Picasso was not allowed to walk, unaccompanied, through a museum that carried his work. His obsession with constantly critiquing his own work would lead him to try and correct his paintings on display. I know chefs and restaurateurs with a similar outlook. The customer is head over heals in love with the food and the experience, but the chef and owner are already trying to figure out how to fix it.
Steve Jobs was an obsessive character that drove his staff crazy with getting everything beyond right. He wanted perfection and realized that he would likely never get there. Even so, the best always strive for that goal.
There is little question that the pursuit of excellence in restaurant product development, production and service will always be a door for those few operations to be successful.
Good restaurants are able to develop menu items and produce them at a level of consistency that makes people comfortable. Great restaurants are constantly looking at pushing customer expectations higher each time they choose to spend money.
How good is your product? Do you obsess over it? Are you familiar with what the spoilers are doing to make your life more difficult and challenging every day? Do you follow David Chang, Daniel Boulud, Gavin Kaysen, Rick Bayless, Marcus Samuelsson, Danny Meyer, Drew Nieporent, and Grant Achatz to see what they are doing next? If not, you had better start.
Is your staff fully versed on what your food is, how it’s prepared, how it tastes and which wines form the perfect complement? Do they know how to up sell and build that check average?
Filling restaurant seats is critical, but developing a product that is fresh and always new and designed to draw people back in time and again is the key.
The top line drives the bottom line.
Stay tuned for more quick tips. Harvest America Ventures is a consulting and training company focused on the restaurant business. We are here to help you reach your goals.
COMING SOON: Deep Dive Seminars in an area near you!