With the economic situation remaining bleak, we return with some more tips from Restaurant magazine`s Thrifty 50.†
The climate may be tough, but implementing these Business tips from industry experts could help your restaurant weather the storm.
- Missed calls = loss of business. Have a cordless phone that allows you to move around the restaurant so you’re not stuck at reception.
- Speak to the press. People still want to eat out but in making fewer visits to restaurants they want more of a reason to visit a place than just price. In troubled times the press can be a useful ally in getting your name out there and can help generate interest in your place with minimum effort on your behalf.
- Look at what is being unnecessarily wasted – sugar, coasters, napkin holders etc to ensure these do not go into the bins when not used because of bad practice or laziness.
Conduct a review of these items to see if there are cheaper alternatives.
- Check the weight and quality of deliveries regularly to ensure you are getting exactly what you ordered.
- Revisit your reservations policy. Now is not the time to be turning custom away so ensure your reservations policy works for the current climate. Multiple sittings might be a good idea to get more bums on seats but if people are prepared to eat out this year they won’t want to be rushed. If you keep space back for walk-ins you might want to reconsider as footfall slows.
- Keep an updated customer spreadsheet and keep regular contact with your customers. Not too often, but you need to keep reminding customers you’re still here. Collecting decent feedback is also essential.
- Take advantage of savings you may be entitled to as part of a trade association – insurance and legal fees are good examples.†
- Take deposits when taking bookings and confirm any bookings you have. Guests may have changed their minds which means you could re-book the table with another customer.
- Reassess your opening hours. If your place is like a morgue on a Monday do you really need to open? Conversely, if you are very busy on the weekends look to extend your opening hours if it means serving extra covers.
- If tables are of good quality remove table cloths. Laundry bills account for around three to four per cent of a restaurant’s turnover so this small change could save you more money than you think.
- Invest in durable glasses to ensure they don’t easily chip or break when they are knocked over.
- Think like Oxfam. Second hand equipment is a lot cheaper and can be great value for money. Equipment bought at auction from a failed business goes for a song, but you have to be quick so ensure you keep tabs on what auctions are being held near you.
For tips on Energy Saving log on to the site on Wednesday
Contributors: Sara Stewart, partner at Jeffreys Henry, Chris Galvin, Ashley de Safrin, client services manager for tourism and hospitality at Business Link in London, Ken Hogg of Davis Coffer Lyons, Peter Backman, managing director at Horizons, Richard Corrigan, Daren Bale, head chef, The Elms Hotel, Worcestershire, Rob Lucy, restaurant negotiator at Christie & Co, Mitch Tonks, David Gibson, chief executive Gibson Business Infrastructures, Martin Austin, director at Tenon Recovery, Iqbal Wahhab, Roast founder, Ben Hood, managing director Fourth Hospitality.