5 Actions Restaurateurs Must Take Now to Stay Competitive


As several big name restaurants face bankruptcy and many more struggle with failing revenue, leading restaurant training developer Restaurant Rockstars cautions that restaurant owners and top management must now, more than ever, scrutinize operations and customer service.

This month, popular pizza-and-pasta group Sbarros and sandwich chain Quiznos both filed for bankruptcy protection.

To survive the increasingly competitive environment and uncertain economy, 20-year veteran restaurateur and industry service training developer Roger Beaudoin offers these tips to help independent and franchise restaurants alike stay relevant and maximize profits.

1. Train Staff to Educate, Inform, Suggest and Sell

According to Dictionary.com, the word server means to wait on a table.’ To wait is passive and implies inaction.

The word sell,’ on the other hand, means to persuade or induce (someone) to buy something.’

Restaurant staffs need to stop waiting’ and start selling.

“Too many servers operate as order takers instead of taking the opportunity to sell. Guests rely on servers-who know a restaurant’s menu the best-to make the right suggestions and provide an experience.’ And when your staff are trained to upsell, everyone makes more money,” Beaudoin said. “Satisfied guests become repeat diners. When they share their experience in positive online reviews and social media, the benefits are amplified.”

2. Create Strategic Alliances

In today’s marketing reality, restaurants should make it a priority to reach as many people online as possible with positive messages about their business. This is possible, but not if you go it alone, Beaudoin said.

Partnering with complementary businesses, including tourist attractions, hotels, retail shops, local events and festivals, is a highly effective means to get your brand in front of target audiences and generate buzz.

3. Routinely Analyze

Ever-changing consumer preference and the increased use of technology to make dining decisions mean operators must constantly review their own operation, menu, marketing and pricing-and that of competitors.

Operators should compare vendors and pricing at least bi-yearly, especially food suppliers, credit card processors and payroll vendors.

4. Perfect the Method

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” ~Mike Murdock

Consistent kitchen procedures, portion control and food presentation each, in their own way, directly impact restaurants’ bottom line. Monitor them to avoid setbacks.

5. Control Costs

There’s often discussion of all the ways there are to lose money in the business-but there are several things restaurant operators can do to cut potential losses by changing how they do business.

Know your prime operating costs, including food, beverage and labor, and be relentless about these numbers and percentages. Conduct weekly cost comparisons of your top 10-20 inventory items (highest volume and/or most expensive) and then price shop them with at least 2 of the top 3 vendors in your area. Finally, ensure maximum use of all products by using them across the menu. These are just a few ways to reign in your costs.

For more information on the Restaurant Rockstars Sales Stars hospitality and sales training programs, visit http://www.restaurantrockstars.com or email us at support(at)restaurantrockstars(dot)com.

About Restaurant Rockstars

Restaurant Rock Stars is a proven hospitality and sales training solution for busy full-service restaurants. Our mission is to transform restaurant Order Takers’ into SALES STARS’ to increase restaurant sales and server gratuities while providing superior service and entertaining dining experiences to guests. Our SALES STARS training is an online turn-key training program that systemizes the training function and builds competitive and team spirit. Our website is membership based with the option to renew each year, to capitalize on high restaurant industry turnover.

Restaurants across the United States (and other gratuity-based countries) are missing hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in lost sales and opportunity due to guests receiving ordinary dining experiences.

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